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– A summary of recent Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada announcements, opportunities and initiatives –
On December 6, Minister Duncan announced the introduction of Bill S-6, the First Nations Elections Act, in the Senate. This proposed legislation addresses longstanding issues with the current election system under the Indian Act. It was created using the recommendations provided by the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nation Chiefs and the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs following a national engagement process with First Nations on the development of a better electoral system for First Nations. Read the News Release.
On November 23, Minister Duncan and Kelly Block, MP for Saskatoon–Rosetown–Biggar, announced the introduction of Bill C-27, the First Nations Financial Transparency Act in Parliament. This proposed legislation is part of the Government commitment in the 2011 Speech from the Throne to support democratic, transparent and accountable First Nation governments by requiring that chiefs and councillors publish their salaries and expenses. Read the News Release.
On November 4, Minister Duncan introduced Bill C-22, the Eeyou Marine Region Land Claims Agreement Act, in the House of Commons. On November 29th, the bill received Royal Assent. This legislation will bring into effect the Eeyou Marine Region Land Claims Agreement signed on July 7, 2010, by the Government of Canada, the Government of Nunavut and the Grand Council of the Crees. With the passing of this legislation, the Agreement will provide clarity and certainty over rights to ownership and the use of lands and resources that will foster a stable environment for future development and investment.
On November 18, the Honourable Peter Penashue, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, President of the Queen's Privy Council and MP for Labrador, attended a signing ceremony for a trio of agreements between Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Innu of Labrador. The three documents signed included the Land Claim and Self-Government Agreement-in-Principle, the Upper Churchill Redress Agreement and the Lower Churchill Innu Impact and Benefits Agreement which, collectively, have become known as Tshash Petapen or the New Dawn Agreements. Read the News Release.
On November 7, Minister Duncan; the Grand Chief of the Cree Nation of Eeyou Istchee, Dr. Matthew Coon Come; the Chief of the community of Oujé-Bougoumou, Reggie Neeposh; and Geoffrey Kelley, the provincial Minister responsible for Native Affairs, all signed Complementary Agreement No. 22. This Agreement, an amendment to the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement, will formally incorporate the Cree community of Oujé‑Bougoumou. Read the News Release.
On October 21, Minister Duncan visited the Sliammon First Nation, where Chief negotiators for Canada, British Columbia and the Tla'amin Nation initialled a Final Agreement. This initialling marks an important step toward a treaty that would bring economic and social benefits to the First Nation and the Powell River region. Read the News Release.
On October 25, Minister Duncan participated in the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business' Aboriginal Entrepreneurs Conference and Tradeshow held in Ottawa. The Government of Canada and its partners announced investments towards three projects and one investment fund that will help Aboriginal entrepreneurs to expand and grow their businesses and create jobs across the country. Read the News Release. Listen to a Podcast about the conference.
On October 19, Minister Duncan along with Chief Robert Louie, Chair of the First Nations Lands Advisory Board, and Chief Austin Bear, Chair of the First Nations Land Management Resource Centre Inc., signed a Memorandum of Understanding regarding a new funding formula that paves the way for a successful reopening of the First Nations Land Management Regime. Read the News Release.
November 12 marked the first anniversary of Canada's endorsement of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Since 2006, the government has worked towards a renewed relationship with Aboriginal peoples of Canada, exemplified by the Prime Minister's historic apology to former students of Indian Residential Schools, the apology for the relocation of Inuit families to the High Arctic, and the honouring of Métis veterans at Juno Beach. Read the News Release.
On October 29, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Minister Duncan participated in the third Truth and Reconciliation Commission national event. The Government of Canada's gesture of reconciliation for this event includes a contribution of $200,000 to support travel and accommodations for former students to participate in this event. Read the News Release.
On October 27, Minister Duncan announced that the Government of Canada will commemorate the legacy of Indian Residential Schools through a permanent installation of stained glass artwork in Centre Block on Parliament Hill. Parliamentarians and visitors for generations to come will have the opportunity to learn about the history of Indian Residential Schools and Canada's reconciliation efforts. Read the News Release.
On October 18, Minister Duncan announced the 23 projects selected for Advocacy and Public Information Program (APIP) funding for 2011/2012. AANDC has committed $4 million for APIP for 2011/2012. These projects will help promote reconciliation through the development of educational resources and curriculum, cultural arts projects, installation of museum exhibitions, and development of strategies that focus on youth and reconciliation. Read the News Release.
On November 17, Minister Duncan announced the list of items to be subsidized under Nutrition North Canada effective October 1, 2012. The list is available on the Nutrition North Canada website . Read the News Release.
On November 3, Minister Duncan announced adjustments to Nutrition North Canada subsidy rates. The subsidy applies to items covered under the program, when they are shipped by air to Northern communities. These latest adjustments became effective October 1, 2011. Read the News Release.
On October 12, the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health and Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, attended the Grand Opening of the Nunavut Research Institute on behalf of Minister Duncan. The Government of Canada invested $10.4 million to build a larger, more modern and more energy efficient facility that will enable the institute to expand its current research activities in the areas of health, and the natural and social sciences. Read the News Release.
On October 13, Rob Clarke, Member of Parliament for Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River, congratulated the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation on the opening of a new elementary school at Deschambault Lake. The $20 million project included design and construction of the new school, roadways, parking lots, playing fields and landscaping. Read the News Release.
On October 12, Greg Rickford, Member of Parliament for Kenora and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, congratulated the Wabaseemoong First Nation on the grand opening of the Mizhakiiwetung Memorial School, a 16 classroom facility for kindergarten to grade 12 students. This project was made possible thanks to a $25 million investment under Canada's Economic Action Plan . Read the News Release.
The Penticton Indian Band's Outma Sqilx'w Cultural School is an architecturally stunning building with state-of-the-art technology that balances the past with the present. Outma Sqilx'w Cultural School will ensure a cultural legacy for the community's children for generations to come. Watch a video about this success story.
On November 17, Minister Duncan announced an investment of $5.5 million toward improving water and waste water services in the four Island Lake First Nations. Specific priorities will be determined in collaboration with First Nation leadership and are anticipated to include the procurement of building materials for retrofitting of homes and provision of additional equipment such as water and septic trucks. Read the News Release.
In 2012, federal funding for National Aboriginal Day events is only available through Canadian Heritage's Celebrate Canada! program. Submit your application for funding no later than January 16, 2012. Visit the Canadian Heritage website (Funding Opportunities section) for application information and forms .
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