OTTAWA, Sept. 24, 2014 /CNW/ - Today, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Minister Bernard Valcourt announced a collaboration with the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nations Chiefs on a regulatory development process to ensure a sound, modern and accountable electoral system for First Nations.
In collaboration with the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nations Chiefs, the federal government released a discussion guide that will further inform discussions on the regulations.
The Act will help First Nations create the political stability necessary for solid business investments, long term planning and relationship building that will lead to increased economic development and job creation for First Nations communities.
First Nations who opt in will have access to modern electoral provisions including:
- longer terms of office;
- more robust nomination processes;
- defined offences and penalties;
- a common election day for interested First Nations; and
- no role for the Minister in election appeals.
Following this collaborative development process, the regulations will be finalized and made public at which point the new First Nations Elections Act electoral system will be available to interested First Nations who can choose to opt in.
- The Act was drafted based on recommendations provided by First Nations organizations for a strong legislated alternative for First Nations elections.
- Currently, of the 617 First Nations in Canada, 238 hold elections under the Indian Act and the Indian Band Election Regulations. This opt-in legislation will be primarily of interest to these First Nations.
- Regulatory development is the final step in the implementation of the opt-in First Nations Elections Act.
- Chiefs, Elders and First Nation members are encouraged to submit comments on the discussion guide to the federal government and/or the Atlantic Policy Congress to further influence the regulations.
"A sound, modern and accountable election process lays the foundation for strong, stable and effective First Nation governments. With this phase now underway, First Nations will soon have the choice of opting into the new system and getting out from under the Indian Act electoral system. Those that do will benefit from political stability, which is required for long-term planning to attract business investments that lead to increased economic development and job growth. This is a step forward for First Nations and all of Canada."
Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development
"We are pleased to be working with the federal government and First Nations on this final phase of the electoral reform initiative, an initiative that we have been supporting for several years. It will yield a solid alternative election system that will give First Nations governments the stability they need to build partnerships and make important long term plans for the benefit of their communities."
Executive Director, Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nations Chiefs
Frequently Asked Questions – First Nations Elections Act
Backgrounder – First Nations Elections Act
Fact Sheet: – First Nations Elections
Comparison– Elections under the Indian Act vs. First Nations Elections Act
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SOURCE: Government of Canada
For further information: Contacts: Erica Meekes, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, 819-997-0002 ; Media Relations: Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, 819-953-1160