Trudeau commits to renewed relationship and reconciliation support
- EFN Staff | December 15, 2016
On the anniversary of the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde met today with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and federal cabinet ministers to establish an approach for First Nations and the federal government to work together to advance reconciliation and implement the TRC’s Calls to Action that fall under federal responsibility, including implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
“Reconciliation is key to building stronger First Nations and a stronger country for all Canadians,” said AFN National Chief Bellegarde. “Reconciliation requires that we work together as partners because that is the foundation of our nation-to-nation relationship. The era of colonialism is ending. We all are committing ourselves to the hard work of reconciliation in honour of the former students and for our future generations.”
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Today, the Prime Minister announced a new, permanent process to work in partnership on shared priorities and monitor progress on those priorities. “Last year, I committed to a renewed relationship with Indigenous Peoples, one based on the recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership. Today, we take further steps on the journey of reconciliation,” said Truddeau in a statement. “First, we will create permanent bilateral mechanisms with the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and First Nations, the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and the four Inuit Nunangat Regions, and the Métis National Council and its governing members. In this Kelowna-like process, every year, we will meet to develop policy on shared priorities, and monitor our progress going forward. Similar meetings with key Cabinet Ministers will take place at least twice each year.
“Second, we will establish an Interim Board of Directors to make recommendations on the creation of a National Council for Reconciliation. The Interim Board will begin an engagement process to develop recommendations on the scope and mandate of the National Council.
“Third, we will provide $10 million to support the important work of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation located at the University of Manitoba, as recommended in Call to Action 78. This contribution will help to ensure that the history and legacy of Canada’s residential school system is remembered.
“These announcements build on progress we have made together over the past year. Work is underway on 41 of the Calls to Action outlined in the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that fall under federal or shared purview.
“While much more remains to be done, I believe that we are making real progress towards renewing our relationship with Indigenous Peoples.”
The National Chief has called for high level approaches to give life to the TRC Calls to Action, stating that a top priority is entrenching the UN Declaration as the framework and guide for reconciliation. Today's announcement reflects that approach.
“This is essential work and it is important that First Nations drive this process across all our priorities,” said National Chief Bellegarde. “This approach needs to be based on recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership with the ultimate goal of closing the gap in the quality of life between First Nations and Canada.”