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OTTAWA, Ontario (November 28, 2005) - At the historic First Ministers Meeting (FMM) on Aboriginal Issues held in Kelowna B.C. on November 24-25, 2005, the Government of Canada announced several commitments to First Nations in the areas of relationships, health, education, housing and economic opportunities. To further solidify federal commitments that will benefit First Nations across Canada, Assembly of First Nations National Chief Phil Fontaine and Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada Andy Scott agreed to a specific First Nations Implementation Plan.
"This Implementation Plan outlines commitments to First Nations as presented in the First Ministers Meeting Communiqué released on November 25, 2005," states National Chief Fontaine, "These commitments are consistent with the principles and objectives of the First Nations-Federal Crown Political Accord on the Recognition and Implementation of First Nations Governments. These new federal commitments will strengthen our special relationship with the federal Crown, as well as our Aboriginal and Treaty Rights. The Implementation Plan recognizes the importance to First Nations of self-government in achieving political, social economic and cultural development and improved quality of life."
"The First Ministers Meeting underlined key bread-and-butter issues of better access to health care, rich educational environments for First Nations learners and safe homes and communities," says Minister Scott. "The First Nations Implementation Plan includes commitments that will improve conditions for First Nations living away from their communities."
To monitor progress and to undertake work associated with these commitments, an annual meeting of a specific First Nations Multilateral Forum will take place between First Nations leaders, Ministers of Aboriginal Affairs and other sectoral Ministers. Perhaps most critical is the commitment outlined in the First Ministers Meeting Communique to follow up on the FMM with leaders in the next two to three years.
"This will allow us to maintain our momentum and continue the unprecedented collaboration and progress achieved at the First Ministers Meeting," says National Chief Fontaine. "In the past week alone we reached a historic agreement in principle on residential schools and now we have made tremendous progress for the future at the First Ministers Meeting. Imagine what we can achieve in ten years."
For more information, please contact :
Assembly of First Nations
(613) 241-6789, ext. 320
Minister Andy Scott’s Office
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada