December 10, 2014 – Ottawa, Ontario – The Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, issued the following statement today:
"I welcome the results of the Assembly of First Nations election for National Chief and I wish Chief-elect Perry Bellegarde well as he takes on his new role.
Our Government believes that Aboriginal Peoples should have the same quality of life, the same opportunities and the same choices as all other Canadians; that's why we continue to take concrete action on priorities we share with First Nations such as economic development, good governance, skills training and advancing treaty negotiations and reconciliation.
To advance these priorities, since 2006 our Government has secured the passage of key legislation such as:
- The First Nations Financial Transparency Act which helps to provide First Nations, like all Canadians, with transparency and accountability from the elected officials and helps to empower them to ensure band revenues are being used for their benefit.
- The First Nations Elections Act which will provide a robust election framework, improve the capacity of First Nations to select leadership, build prosperous communities and improve economic development in their communities.
- The Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act so that women living on reserves have access to the same basic matrimonial rights every other Canadian woman, including access to emergency protection orders in the event of a relationship breakdown.
- The Safe Drinking Water For First Nations Act which was closely developed with First Nations will make it possible for us to work together to develop regulations comparable to those that safeguard drinking water elsewhere in Canada.
- As well as key pieces of legislation that provide Northerners with province-like decision making powers and modernize and improve the regulatory process so that Northerners can enjoy a predictable and robust regulatory regimes like the rest of Canada.
We have also introduced skills training supports through a job readiness program that helps to provide First Nation youth with job readiness skills so that they can secure and enjoy the benefits of a good job.
We have taken action to help address some of the key impediments to treaty negotiations and are engaging Aboriginal People on broader reforms to advance reconciliation and encourage economic development across the country.
These are just some examples of the concrete action we are taking on our shared priorities, and we are steadfastly committed to continue this important progress for the benefit of Aboriginal People and all Canadians."
Office of the Honourable Bernard Valcourt
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
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