OTTAWA (Dec. 10, 2015) – The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, issued the following statement today following her participation in this week’s Assembly of First Nations Special Chiefs Assembly:
“This week I had the privilege of participating in the Assembly of First Nations Special Chiefs Assembly. We have many important issues to consider together, so I was pleased to see the numerous innovative ideas put forward to address the challenges that confront First Nations. Among the topics we discussed were: how to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; how to close the gap in the quality of life between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples; how to address the two per cent escalator on funding for First Nations programs; and how to work together to ensure every First Nations child receives a quality education.
“Of course, top of mind for all concerned was the long-awaited inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, which was announced earlier this week; as well as how to implement the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. These are also priorities for the Government of Canada and were important commitments in last week’s Speech from the Throne.
“During the Special Chiefs Assembly I had the opportunity to meet with Chiefs from across the country. I left these meetings believing that the Government of Canada and the Assembly of First Nations share the same passion and commitment to a renewed relationship built on recognition of rights, respect, co-operation and partnership. This was also a commitment in the Speech from the Throne and I am looking forward to working with all members of the Assembly of First Nations to implement it. I am excited to meet many more Chiefs as I continue to travel the country in the weeks and months to come.
“It has been an honour to spend the last few days discussing new ways to move forward together. As the Prime Minister has said, ‘the partnership cannot be taken lightly: It is a sacred responsibility inherited from past generations and entrusted to us by future ones’.”