Ontario Regional Chief RoseAnne Archibald Cautiously Optimistic in Advancing First Nations Priorities in Speech from the Throne

December 5, 2019 6:39 pm
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(Ottawa, December 5, 2019)  Early this afternoon, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada, delivered the Speech from the Throne opening the first Session of the 43nd Parliament of Canada.

“We are pleased that Canada intends to continue “walking the road of reconciliation”, and we remain cautiously optimistic that we will have a real opportunity to work in true partnership and through First Nation led processes on priorities laid out in the Throne Speech, as we’re seeing many of our priorities closely aligned within the Throne Speech.

Prior to the federal election the Chiefs of Ontario released “Towards a New Relationship: A Discussion Paper on First Nations Priorities”, which is now proving prescient, as many of our previously identified priorities such as: Treaty Implementation, Infrastructure, Health and Well-Being, Uplifting First Nations Women, and implementing the MMIWG National Inquiry’s Calls to Justice, are also seen as priorities in the government’s agenda. It will be through identifying what is of shared importance and working in true partnership that we’ll make real progress on many of the these shared priorities.

While somewhat optimistic with the agenda as set out in the Throne Speech, there was mention of working to “co-develop” legislation with First Nations. I must caution that we have been down that road previously, and I suggest that another path we may take is through a First Nation lead process, as a means to develop legislation, that will be “by” us, for “us”. Being open to new ideas and approaches will be needed to advance this new relationship. By focusing our collective efforts to define and apply new approaches where needed, we can work together to build a healthy future for our youth and communities that we all desire.

Finally, with this newly elected government we have a real opportunity to embrace change at this moment and build a strong and respectful relationship. I look forward to formally meeting with the new Prime Minister, Cabinet Ministers and Members of Parliament from across the parties in the New Year. We await the ministerial mandate letters, and the undertakings they provide, and while doing so, we will continue to work collaboratively to ensure that the opportunities to create a safe and prosperous quality of life for First Nations remains a priority.

Ontario Regional Chief RoseAnne Archibald

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The Chiefs of Ontario is a political forum and a secretariat for collective decision-making, action, and advocacy for the 133 First Nation communities located within the boundaries of the province of Ontario, Canada. Follow Chiefs of Ontario on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter @ChiefsOfOntario.

Media Contact: Scott Cavan, Scott.Cavan@coo.org or cell: 416-522-0706

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