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    For your information ... From: CNW Portfolio System To: Portfolio E-Mail Sent: Tuesday, May 31, 2005 5:38 PM Subject: Federal Ministers and National Aboriginal
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      ----- Original Message -----
      From: CNW Portfolio System
      To: Portfolio E-Mail
      Sent: Tuesday, May 31, 2005 5:38 PM
      Subject: Federal Ministers and National Aboriginal leaders participate in joint...



      CNW Group Portfolio E-Mail


      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.


      BACKGROUNDER

      STRENGTHENING RELATIONSHIPS

      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
      achieved.

      ACHIEVING RESULTS

      Health
      ------

      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
      process.

      Education/Life-Long Learning
      ----------------------------

      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
      students.
      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.

      Housing
      -------

      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
      financial management.
      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-
      reserve.

      Economic Opportunities
      ----------------------

      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.



      -30-

      /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,
      morrisonc@.../

      INDIAN AND NORTHERN AFFAIRS CANADA - More on this organization



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