THUNDER BAY, ON, Sept. 18 /CNW/ - Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief
Stan Beardy was shocked and disappointed to learn that Aboriginal Affairs
Minister Michael Bryant has been moved from his portfolio as news leaked of
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty's cabinet shuffle Thursday.
"I was shocked to hear about the cabinet shuffle this morning, especially
since we had a meeting with Minister Bryant Wednesday and were given no
indication that a change was coming," said Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand
Chief Stan Beardy. "This will require a strenuous rebuilding of our
relationship with the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs and the Government of
Michael Bryant was appointed minister of the revamped Ministry of
Aboriginal Affairs on October 30, 2007. He will be replaced by current Labour
Minister Brad Duguid.
"I attended Minister Bryant's swearing-in ceremony at Queen's Park, and
since then we have worked hard to build a new relationship with the Government
of Ontario," said Beardy. "By shuffling his cabinet, the Premier is forcing
First Nations across Ontario to start all over again to build relationships
with a new minister. This could potentially stall all of the good work that
has gone into bilateral discussions."
NAN Chiefs have set priorities on creating resource revenue sharing
legislation, First Nation-led land use planning, revising the Ontario Mining
Act to include Supreme Court decisions based on consultation and
accommodation, building a First Nation approach to parks, and overhauling the
approach to licensing and permits in NAN territory.
"Minister Duguid is touted as having been an advocate for affordable
housing, emergency services and crime prevention, and I sincerely hope that he
is willing to bring this experience to help us solve the problems faced by
First Nations communities in Nishnawbe Aski and across the province," said
Nishnawbe Aski Nation is a political territorial organization
representing 49 First Nation communities within James Bay Treaty 9 and Treaty
5 territory - an area covering two-thirds of the province of Ontario.
For further information:
For further information: Michael Heintzman, Media Relations Officer -
Nishnawbe Aski Nation, (807) 625-4906