Premier, new Cabinet must 'step-up' when dealing with First Nations issues

    NIPISSING FIRST NATION, Oct. 30 /CNW/ - Grand Council Chief John Beaucage
says that he is looking forward to working with a new Cabinet and the new
Minister of Aboriginal Affairs but stressed that the McGuinty government, and
Premier Dalton McGuinty in particular, needs to "step up" to advance their
relationship with First Nations in Ontario.
    "This Government needs to move beyond dealing with First Nations through
a single Cabinet portfolio," said Grand Council Chief Beaucage speaking from
the southwest region of the Anishinabek Nation. "Premier McGuinty, as a leader
must step-up and show a government-wide commitment to addressing First Nations
issues and moving forward on a government-to-government basis."
    "The stand-alone Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs is a positive and
important first step forward in building a stronger relationship," said
Beaucage. "I look forward to working closely with Minister Michael Bryant in
bringing the issues and needs of Ontario's First Peoples to Premier McGuinty
and his new Cabinet."
    The Hon. Michael Bryant is not new to the Aboriginal Affairs portfolio,
having served as the Minister Responsible for Aboriginal Affairs from 2003 to
    "I have a great deal of respect for Minister Bryant and have maintained a
good working relationship with him. He brings a lot of energy, integrity and
leadership to this new Ministry," said Beaucage.
    Beaucage also notes that former Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and
Natural Resources, David Ramsay, will be missed as a Cabinet member.
    "I am disappointed that David was not returned to Cabinet," said Grand
Council Chief Beaucage. "It's unfortunate that we are losing such a strong
advocate and a friend to First Nations."
    Grand Council Chief Beaucage said that he was pleased with Premier
McGuinty's June 21st announcement that will see the new Ministry of Aboriginal
Affairs work with the federal government on a new process that would expedite
land claims here in Ontario. He hopes this will be at the top of the agenda
for Minister Bryant.
    "I am hopeful that Minister Bryant would expedite the implementation of
the Ipperwash Inquiry's key recommendation to establish a Treaty Commission of
Ontario," said Grand Council Chief Beaucage. "The province needs to recognize
that they have an important role to play in land-claim resolution."
    Beaucage also looks forward to working with Minister Bryant on the New
Relationship Fund, which will help First Nations communities strengthen their
skills and resources to work more seamlessly with governments.

    The Anishinabek Nation incorporated the Union of Ontario Indians as its
secretariat in 1949. The UOI is a political advocate for 42 member First
Nations across Ontario. The Union of Ontario Indians is the oldest political
organization in Ontario and can trace its roots back 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, Anishinabek Nation - Union of Ontario Indians, Head Office:
Nipissing First Nation, P.O. Box 711, North Bay, ON, P1B 8J8, Ph. (705)
497-9127, Fx. (705) 497-9135, CELL: (705) 498-5250, E-mail:, Internet:

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Anishinabek Nation

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Union of Ontario Indians

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