OTTAWA, Jan. 10, 2014 /CNW/ - As we approach the two-year anniversary of
the historic Crown-First Nation Gathering held in January 2012, the Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and
Northern Development, issued the following statement:
"Two years ago our Government committed to renew its efforts to work
with First Nations towards our shared priorities and to reach our
ultimate goal of reconciliation. I am proud to say that since then, we
have made significant progress and taken concrete steps towards
fulfilling our commitments.
Since that historic meeting, our Government has worked with the Assembly
of First Nations and First Nations partners in creating an improved and
more transparent financial relationship.
Our Government has taken strong action that will allow for better
services on reserve and less administrative red tape for those
directing crucial funding where it is needed most. These steps include
streamlining contribution agreements and reporting requirements, and
consolidating spending authorities for transfer payment programs.
We have made advancements in working with First Nations to deliver more
effective, transparent and accountable governments through legislation
such as with the passage of the First Nations Financial Transparency Act on March 2013, a critical part of our shared mission to build stronger,
more prosperous First Nations communities. We are also proud to have
passed the Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act, ensuring women and families on reserve enjoy the same rights as those
that live off-reserve.
In April 2013, we announced the establishment of a Senior Oversight Committee for Comprehensive Claims with the goal of renewing the Comprehensive Claims Policy to advance
certainty, expeditious resolution, and self-sufficiency, as committed
to in the Crown-First Nations Gathering Outcome Statement. To that end,
the oversight committee members worked together to develop options to
renew, update or reform Canada's comprehensive claims policy in a
spirit of reconciliation.
We have also been working to increase the dialogue on treaty
relationships and we will continue doing so with all treaty First
During 2013, progress was also made in the area of self-government. This
included signing the Yale First Nation Final Agreement in BC, legislation to give effect to Sioux Valley Dakota self-government agreement in Manitoba and Agreements-in-Principle with Miawpukek First Nation in Newfoundland and Labrador and the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne located near Cornwall, Ontario.
Our Government believes that improving on-reserve education is a key
priority to ensure a better and brighter future for First Nations youth
and on-reserve communities. In October 2013, we shared a draft legislative proposal on First Nations Education with First Nations leadership, stakeholders and interested parties
across this country. We believe that high quality education for First
Nations students will empower them to reach their full potential. We
will continue working with First Nation partners to create a better
on-reserve education system for First Nation students.
Another step on our path towards reconciliation is the recent announcement that we will work with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to
extend their operating period for one year (until June 30, 2015). This
would allow the Commission time to complete its important mandate and
deliver a final report. Our Government looks forward to continuing to
assist the Commission with this important work in order to achieve a
fair and lasting resolution to the sad legacy of Indian Residential
We must remember that there are no quick fixes, and much work remains
ahead. Our Government will continue to work with the Assembly of First
Nations and First Nations partners in delivering on these commitments
to provide real, concrete results by creating the conditions for
healthier, more self-sufficient First Nation communities."
You may also be interested in:
Crown-First Nations Gathering 2014 Progress Report
This statement is also available on the Internet at www.aandc.gc.ca.
SOURCE: Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
For further information:
Office of the Honourable Bernard Valcourt
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern
You can subscribe to receive our news releases and speeches via RSS feeds or e-mail. For more information or to subscribe, visit www.aandc.gc.ca/subscriptions.