OTTAWA, ONTARIO (May 12, 2014) - The Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, today issued the following statement in response to the report of UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples:
“The report published by the Special Rapporteur today acknowledges that, while many challenges remain, many positive steps have been taken by the Government of Canada to improve the overall well-being and prosperity of Aboriginal people in Canada.
Canada’s diverse and multicultural society has been a leader on the world stage in the protection of human rights and, as acknowledged in the report, is one of the first countries in the modern era to extend constitutional protection to the rights of Aboriginal people.
Our numerous laws, policies and programs aimed at addressing Aboriginal peoples’ concerns allow for a positive collaboration with Canada’s Aboriginal and Northern communities as we work together on shared priorities and towards a renewed relationship built on reconciliation and trust.
As pointed out in the report, Canada’s policies and processes to address historical grievances are an example to the world, and many of Canada’s efforts provide important examples of reconciliation and accommodation.
While more work needs to be done, the report notes the important steps that have been taken to ensure progress in providing equal access to First Nations, as all other Canadians, to safe housing, education and matrimonial rights.
Our Government is proud of the effective and incremental steps taken in partnership with Aboriginal communities. We are committed to continuing to work with our partners to make significant progress in improving the lives of Aboriginal people in Canada.
We will review the report carefully to determine how we can best address the recommendations. I want to thank the UN Special Rapporteur for his important work, and I look forward to our continued positive and valuable collaboration.”
Office of the Honourable Bernard Valcourt
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
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