Ontario First Nations applaud Throne Speech

    TORONTO, Nov. 29 /CNW/ - Grand Council Chief John Beaucage attended the
Speech from the Throne today at the invitation of Premier Dalton McGuinty.
That invitation and the content of the speech didn't disappoint.
    Grand Council Chief Beaucage applauded the initiative of the new Liberal
government as something the Anishinabek Nation could support and work with.
    The willingness of Ontario to implement the Ipperwash Inquiry Report
recommendations and "forge a stronger, more positive relationship" is welcomed
by the Anishinabek Nation.
    "This is the first time in years that a provincial government in Ontario
has given First Nations issues some priority," said Grand Council Chief
Beaucage. "That in itself is worth commending."
    "With these words in the Throne Speech, the direction of this government
give us hope, as well as high hopes for the new stand-alone Ministry of
Aboriginal Affairs," said Beaucage. "Now the Premier and Minister Bryant need
to work closely with us to make those words reality."
    Despite his encouraging remarks, Grand Council Chief Beaucage made
reference to Tuesday's meeting with The Hon. Michael Bryant. The new Minister
of Aboriginal Affairs was greeted coolly by a cautious group of 42 Chiefs at
the Anishinabek Nation's Fall Assembly.
    "Our Chiefs continue to be cautious. For far too long, we've been let
down by politicians and excluded from the system," said Beaucage. "This is the
opportunity for the Government of Ontario to prove themselves and work with us
to improve the lives of Ontario's First Nations people."
    The Anishinabek Nation shares the same priorities with the McGuinty
Government with regard to building relationships and enhancing First Nation
    Beaucage hopes to be working closely with Minister Bryant and his Cabinet
colleagues to develop a self-government negotiating policy to engage the
Province of Ontario in the many areas of self-government, including justice,
health care, natural resource management, education and economic development.
    Other highlights from the Throne Speech include the expansion of economic
opportunities for First Nations people on and off-reserve.
    "We are calling on the Province to come to the table to discuss equitable
agreements for gaming and resource revenue sharing, and a new approach to
supporting economic development," said Beaucage. "With the involvement of
Ontario, our goal of developing self-sufficient regional and local economies
is just one step closer."

    The Anishinabek Nation incorporated the Union of Ontario Indians as its
secretariat in 1949. The UOI is the political advocate for 42 member First
Nations in Ontario, and is the oldest political organization in Ontario,
tracing its origins to the Confederacy of Three Fires, which existed long
before European contact.

For further information:

For further information: Bob Goulais, Executive Assistant to the Grand
Council Chief, E-mail: goubob@anishinabek.ca, Cell: (705) 498-5250

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Anishinabek Nation

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Union of Ontario Indians

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