Federal Ministers and National Aboriginal leaders participate in joint...
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Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
Transmitted by CNW Group on : May 31, 2005 20:38
Federal Ministers and National Aboriginal leaders participate in joint policy retreat
OTTAWA, May 31 /CNW Telbec/ - The Prime Minister, members of the Cabinet
Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and the leaders of five National Aboriginal
Organizations met today for a Policy Retreat in a new spirit of cooperation
and to address long-term challenges.
The leaders of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), the Inuit Tapiriit
Kanatami (ITK), the Métis National Council (MNC), the Congress of Aboriginal
Peoples (CAP) and the Native Women's Association of Canada (NWAC) also signed
joint accords with the Government of Canada that will ensure their direct
involvement in Aboriginal policy development.
"Today marks an important step in building a stronger and more positive
relationship between the Government of Canada and Aboriginal Canadians," said
the Prime Minister. "The Canada-Aboriginal Roundtable Process that we launched
a year ago, and the work we have done today, moves us closer to our goal of
closing the gap in the quality of life for Aboriginal peoples."
Agreement was reached on directions for change in health,
education/lifelong learning, housing, economic opportunities,
negotiations/relationships and accountability for results.
"The Roundtable process and this Policy Retreat demonstrate new
collaboration and partnership," said the Honourable Andy Scott, Minister of
Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and
Non-Status Indians and Vice-Chair of the Cabinet Committee of Aboriginal
Affairs. "While there is still much work to be done and the issues will not be
resolved overnight, this inclusive process will help ensure First Nations,
Métis and Inuit people can take their place in the federation and exercise
greater control over their social and economic aspirations. The accords signed
today underline our shared commitment to continue working together.
The Prime Minister recognized the involvement and commitment of Ministers
Dosanjh, Fontana, Emerson, Scott and Alcock, who were each responsible for
leading one of the Policy Roundtables, as well as AFN National Chief Phil
Fontaine, ITK President Jose Kusugak, MNC President Clément Chartier, CAP
Chief Dwight Dorey and NWAC President Beverly Jacobs.
Accords on Relationships/Negotiations
Canada is committed to renewing its policies and processes for the
implementation of self-government, the resolution of Aboriginal land rights
and the implementation of treaties. This policy renewal is based on the
principles of recognition and reconciliation and reflects the constitutional
objective of Section 35 of the Constitution Act 1982.
The joint accords reflect the Government's commitment to renewing its
relationships with Aboriginal peoples in a manner that respects Aboriginal and
treaty rights and the unique place of Aboriginal peoples in the Canadian
federation. The accords also reflect the Government's commitment to
strengthening the policy capacity of Aboriginal organizations to contribute
more effectively to public policy making.
Accountability for Results
The Government of Canada is committed to strengthening accountability,
both by the government and Aboriginal organizations. During the first phase of
the Roundtable process, the Government of Canada developed with Aboriginal
groups common objectives on accountability for results. An important part of
this will be the development with Aboriginal partners and provinces and
territories the ability to assess through a "Progress Report" the results
The Government of Canada recognizes the importance of strong health
systems, including the role of provinces and territories and Aboriginal groups
in closing the gap in health status. The Government also acknowledges the need
for a long-term federal commitment to Aboriginal health needs.
The substantive policy discussions reviewed progress on the Blueprint on
Aboriginal Health. This emphasizes the importance of a new partnership model
that recognizes the distinct and unique needs and perspectives of diverse
populations, regions and communities. It re-affirms the Government's
commitment to include Aboriginal peoples in the health policy development
The Government of Canada recognizes that culturally relevant curriculum
and learning programs that reflect Aboriginal values, traditions and languages
are essential to achieving positive education outcomes for Aboriginal
Agreement was reached during the Roundtable process on moving forward
with transforming First Nations elementary and secondary education. New
initiatives will be developed with Aboriginal, provincial and territorial
partners to encourage school innovation at the community level both on and off
reserve; support First Nations education systems; and create new reporting
tools to ensure greater accountability in Aboriginal education outcomes.
Agreement was also reached on the integration of Aboriginal children's
Early Learning and Child Care programs through the creation of a "single
window" approach. This will provide access to programming more effectively for
children and families and reduce administrative burden.
The Government of Canada is committed to promoting the empowerment and
autonomy of Aboriginal peoples by creating Aboriginal institutions and
capacity to meet housing needs, while developing skills in land, housing and
The Government is prepared to support new and sustainable approaches to
Aboriginal housing systems and to improve housing conditions. This could
include fostering housing markets on-reserve and affordable housing off-
Economic opportunities are critical to improving the quality of life and
in achieving self-reliance in Aboriginal communities.
The Government of Canada has committed to developing an Aboriginal
Economic Development Framework in consultation with Aboriginal organizations,
provincial and territorial governments, and the private sector to meet the
needs of First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities. Efforts will be
undertaken to remove legislative and regulatory barriers to economic
development and to ensure that federal programs and Aboriginal institutions
work more effectively together.
/For further information: of the Canada-Aboriginal Peoples Roundtable
please visit www.aboriginalroundtable.ca , or contact: Campbell Morrison,
Press Secretary, Minister Andy Scott's Office, INAC, (819) 997-0002,
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