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The Kelowna Accord
is a series of agreements between the Canadian government under former Prime Minister Paul Martin and key national leaders of First Nations/Aboriginal peoples in Canada.

This accord, signed on November 25, 2005 in Kelowna, British Columbia, seeks to improve the education, employment, and living conditions for Aboriginal peoples through governmental funding and other programs. 

The initiatives proposed in the Kelowna Accord have yet to be put into effect.
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January 6, 2009 - Honour the Kelowna Accord! That is one of the key messages delivered to the Harper Government by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA). It released the Alternative Federal Budget fiscal stimulus plan, a one-year package that would create 407,000 jobs, boost the economy by 3%, and help protect Canadians from the worst of a recession. The plan injects $32.9 billion into Canada's economy to protect Canadians "who experience loss of income, as well as strengthen and build hard and soft infrastructure to address the challenges of climate change, income inequality, and aging populations". Included in the set of initiatives proposed in the stimulus plan - Aboriginal/First Nations: Hard Infrastructure - Water Upgrades $100 Million - Housing on-off reserve $400 Million - Health Infrastructure First Nation/Inuit $110 Million. Aboriginal/First Nations: Soft Infrastructure - Education On/Off Reserve and Post Secondary Education $200 Million - Economic Development $50 Million - Transformation of health services $80 Million. These dollar figures come from the Kelowna Accord that was negotiated in 2005 by the former Liberal government but ignored by the Conservatives.

November 26, 2008 - Todd Russell reminded us that today is the third anniversary of the signing of the Kelowna Accord, a multi-billion dollar agreement that promised to bring real change to the lives of Aboriginal Canadians. Russell, an Aboriginal Member of Parliament from Newfoundland-Labrador, is the federal Liberal Aboriginal Affairs Critic. He said the Conservatives' failure to fill the vacuum created by their decision to scrap the Kelowna Accord has left First Nations, Metis and Inuit still lagging behind non-aboriginal Canadians. "The Kelowna Accord represented increased access to health care, improved housing, better education and economic development for First Nations, Metis and Inuit . . .The Conservatives have failed to fulfill the promise they made when they tore up the agreement to meet the targets and objectives of the Accord." The Accord was supported by major Aboriginal organizations and provincial and territorial leaders - and the Liberal government at the time it was signed in November of 2005. "In this economic slowdown the Conservatives should be working on a plan to ensure Aboriginal Peoples that the gap between them and non-aboriginal Canadians does not widen. For instance, the Conservatives have talked about accelerating infrastructure dollars but there has been little discussion of infrastructure for Aboriginal Peoples," said Mr. Russell. In a news release he explained, though the United Nations consistently ranks Canada as one of the world's best countries in which to live, the same ranking places Canada's Aboriginal Peoples 60th or below for living standards. Aboriginal tuberculosis rates, for example, are 29 times higher than for the non-aboriginal population. Tuberculosis is one condition linked to poverty and a lack of infrastructure and housing. "As times are getting tougher, the disparities between Aboriginal Peoples and non-aboriginals cannot continue to grow. The throne speech referred to a review of programs to concentrate on essential goods and services. What services currently delivered to First Nations, Metis and Inuit are inessential? . . . The economic and fiscal update that is being released tomorrow is an opportunity for the Conservatives to ensure aboriginal communities are not left behind, but based on their record I am deeply concerned the Conservatives will not deliver," said Mr. Russell.

March 22, 2007 - Liberal Paul Martin who sponsored C-292 the Kelowna Accord Implementation Act, (his Private Members Bill) said, "The bill that passed last night I think is very significant. The House of Commons has spoken and they've added their voices to all the premiers, the territorial leaders and all the aboriginal leaders. This is a great coming-together, and I just wish the government understood that."

March 21, 2007 - ADOPTED! Former Prime Minister Paul Martin's Kelowna Accord Implementation Act received Third and Final Reading in the House of Commons. The vote was Yeas 176 and the Nays 126 . Of course the Conservatives voted against it, and even though it was approved by a majority of Members of Parliament, the minority government's Minister of Indian Affairs is on record as saying it will make no difference to his Aboriginal agenda. Recently, former Conservative Prime Minister Brian Mulroney said publicly he supported the Kelowna Accord. But that carries no weight with Prime Minister Harper and his government, who are philosophically to the far right of even Mr. Mulroney.

National Aboriginal Organizations Applaud Passage of Private Members Bill to Honour Crown's Commitments on 2005 Kelowna Accord

OTTAWA, March 22, 2007

The leaders of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, Assembly of First Nations and Métis National Council - today welcomed the vote by the House of Commons to adopt a law signifying the Government of Canada's dedication to honour its commitments in the 2005 Kelowna Accord to tackle acute housing, health and education hardships among Aboriginal peoples. The law would also require the Government of Canada to report back to parliament on the implementation of the Accord.

The passage of Bill C-292 does not compel the government to fund the commitments of the Kelowna Accord. However, the ITK, AFN and MNC strongly urge all Canadians to show solidarity with Aboriginal peoples and press the government to implement the commitments of the Kelowna Accord.

Mary Simon, President of ITK said, "It is encouraging to all Inuit that the majority of Canada's elected representatives at the federal level have stood up clearly for two things: overcoming shaming gaps in Aboriginal living standards, and honouring commitments made by the Government of Canada once they have been made. In doing so, we believe that MP's are behaving in the way that the Canadian public wants and expects. We are also pleased that former Prime Minister Mulroney has lent his timely and much appreciated support to the Kelowna Accord."

"I am deeply proud of this bill's passing in the House of Commons, as the Kelowna Accord represents the greatest commitment ever shown to the Métis Nation," President Clement Chartier added.

"First Nations want to express their appreciation to the opposition parties who showed their unwavering support for Bill C-292. It is clear to us and to all Canadians that the majority of elected representatives support the targets and objectives which will help improve the quality of life for First Nations," said National Chief Fontaine.

The 2006 Conservative Party election platform clearly states that a Conservative government will accept the targets agreed upon at the recent Meeting of First Ministers and National Aboriginal leaders, and work with First Ministers and National Aboriginal leaders on achieving these targets.

"Today, I remind Prime Minister Harper of this commitment to work together with us to meet the achievable and affordable non-partisan plan agreed to by all in Kelowna to make First Nations even stronger," concluded National Chief Fontaine.
http://www.afn.ca
http://www.itk.ca
http://www.metisnation.ca

NAN sees Kelowna Accord as best base for closing gap
THUNDER BAY, ON, March 22, 2007

Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Stan Beardy agrees with Indian and Northern Affairs Minister Jim Prentice that self-sufficiency is the key to First Nation progress, however the two leaders disagree that the 2005 Kelowna Accord passed by Parliament yesterday is the way to reach what Prentice calls "financial independence".

"I agree that First Nations people need to become financially independent, however it's the regulatory framework of both the provincial and federal governments that prevents the people of Nishnawbe Aski from participating in the country's economy," said NAN Grand Chief Stan Beardy. "With billions of dollars worth of natural resources being extracted from our territory annually, assisting in sustaining the prosperity of all Canadians, you'd think First Nations wouldn't have to be perceived as asking for hand-outs."

Beardy also agrees with Minister Prentice that the Kelowna Accord needs further work to iron out details in terms of addressing the many underlying issues, however says it's a comprehensive package that could improve the on-reserve quality of life across the board.

"I was hopeful coming out of the 2005 First Ministers Meeting that the agreement would lead to meaningful discussion and implementation processes that would prove to lessen the gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians across the board," said Beardy of the Kelowna Accord which is the basis of former Prime Minister Paul Martin's Private Member's Bill C-292 passed yesterday in the House of Commons. "The passing of Bill C-292 provides a renewed hope, but without acceptance by the Conservative Government of Canada we'll continue to see the gap grow and continued and increasing frustration among First Nations, particularly the young people, who are seeking quality education and sustainable careers."

The Kelowna Accord, reached by the Government of Canada, provincial Premiers, and Aboriginal leaders in Kelowna, B.C. November 2005, outlined more than $5 billion over the next five years to close the gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians in the areas of education, health, housing, and economic opportunities.

"The Harper government had its chance to present Minister Prentice's theory two days ago when they announced their 2007 budget," said Beardy. "If the Government of Canada isn't going to accept a decision by Parliament, what alternative will they present?"

NAN is a political territorial organization representing 49 First Nation communities across two-thirds of Ontario, including Kashechewan and Pikangikum First Nations, which have made recent national headlines exposing Third World conditions in the areas of housing, water, and sewer.

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The Metis Nation welcomes the passing of Bill C-292:
An Act to implement the Kelowna Accord

OTTAWA, March 22, 2007

The Metis National Council is pleased to see that Bill C-292, which is of highest significance to the Metis Nation, passed third reading last night in the House of Commons. Bill C-292: An Act to implement the Kelowna Accord will now head to the Senate for royal ascent.

In November 2005, the historic First Ministers' Meeting on Aboriginal Issues was held in Kelowna, B.C., representing the culmination of almost two years of hard work by federal, provincial, territorial and Aboriginal leadership.

All parties vowed to bridge the gap between Aboriginal peoples and other Canadians within a decade, by committing substantial investments to health, education, housing, and economic opportunities. The commitments made at this meeting became known as the Kelowna Accord.

If passed by the Senate, the legislated Bill C-292 will become the Kelowna Accord Implementation Act, signifying support by all opposition parties towards the commitments made to Aboriginal Canadians.

"The Kelowna Accord will mean the difference between continuing the cycle of poverty and desperation to one of real hope. The agreement will help to bring our people out of poverty by creating jobs, securing health care and education opportunities," President of the Metis National Council Clement Chartier says.

"I am deeply proud of this bill's passing in the House of Commons, as the Kelowna Accord represents the greatest commitment ever shown to the Metis Nation," President Chartier adds.

The MNC would like to thank the Right Honourable Paul Martin for sponsoring this Private Member's bill, and firmly standing behind it, thus showing his dedicated support for the specific challenges facing the Metis Nation.

Regardless of Bill C-292's passing, being a Private Members' bill it does not compel the government to fund the commitments of the Kelowna Accord. The Metis National Council urges all Canadians to show solidarity with Aboriginal peoples and press the government to implement the commitments of the Kelowna Accord.

The MNC represents the Metis Nation in Canada at the national and international level. The Metis Nation's homeland includes the three Prairie provinces and extends into Ontario, British Columbia, the Northwest Territories and the northern United States. There are approximately 350,000 - 400,000 Metis Nation citizens in Canada.

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House Passes Liberal Bill Enforcing Kelowna
March 21, 2007

Ottawa - The Liberal Opposition called on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to respect the will of the House, after today's passage of a Liberal bill to ensure the government of Canada meets the commitments made to Aboriginal Canadians in the historic Kelowna Accord.

"When the Kelowna Accord was agreed to in 2005, governments and people of all political stripes came together because it was the right thing to do," said the Right Honourable Paul Martin (LaSalle-Émard), whose private member's bill, C-292, was passed with a majority of support coming from three opposition parties in the House.

"Kelowna was an historic opportunity to do the right thing. Seeing the Conservative government ignore the needs of Aboriginal people saddens me a great deal," he said.

"This bill breathes life into an agreement that is the one great hope Canada's Aboriginal peoples have of building a future on par with the rest of Canadians."

The bill calls on the federal government to immediately implement the terms of the Accord and demands annual reporting on its progress for the next four years. Only the Conservative Members of Parliament opposed the bill.

"Conservative opposition to Kelowna clearly still exists and is still troubling," said Indian Affairs Critic Anita Neville (Winnipeg South Centre). "One need only look at the paltry funding provided for Aboriginal issues in government's budget this week to see how the Conservatives are failing to respond to the plight of Aboriginal Canadians."

Mr. Martin added that, "through the Kelowna Accord, the Liberal government acted to redress the prosperity gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians.

"Attacking the Accord, Conservative MPs have gone as far as questioning its legal validity, even its very existence. Today, the House of Commons made a lie of those attacks. It's now up to the Government of Canada to do the right thing - to do the will of the House - and honour the Kelowna Accord," he said.

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Bill C-292, An Act to implement the Kelowna Accord
Third and Final Reading - House of Commons
March 20, 2007
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www.turtleisland.org Google

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An Act to implement the Kelowna Accord

Preamble

WHEREAS Parliament recognizes that narrowing and ultimately eliminating the troubling gaps between aboriginal and non-aboriginal Canadians that exist in the areas of education, skills development, health care, housing, access to clean water and employment, as provided for in the Kelowna Accord, are essential to improving the socio-economic conditions of aboriginal people in Canada.

AND WHEREAS the Government of Canada entered into the Kelowna Accord with the governments of Canada’s provinces and territories and with Canada’s aboriginal leadership, and it is incumbent upon the Government of Canada to honour its word and its commitments;

NOW, THEREFORE, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:

Short title

1. This Act may be cited as the Kelowna Accord Implementation Act.

Implementation of Kelowna Accord

2. The Government of Canada shall immediately take all measures necessary to implement the terms of the accord, known as the “Kelowna Accord”, that was concluded on November 25, 2005 at Kelowna, British Columbia, by the Prime Minister of Canada, the first ministers of each of the provinces and territories of Canada and the leaders of the Assembly of First Nations, the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the Metis National Council, the Native Womens’ Association of Canada and the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples.

Annual report to Parliament

3. At the end of the fiscal year beginning on April 1, 2007, and at the end of each of the next four fiscal years, the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development shall prepare a report reviewing the progress made by the Government of Canada in fulfilling its obligations under the Kelowna Accord during that fiscal year, and shall cause the report to be laid before each House of Parliament within sixty days after the end of the fiscal year or, if that House is not then sitting, on any of the first fifteen days next thereafter that the House is sitting.

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PERSPECTIVE:

"There is much good that our government can do to improve the lives of Aboriginal Canadians. Sadly, very little of it found its way into the Kelowna Accord nor Paul Martin's latest attempt to scrub the barnacles off the shipwreck of his Prime Ministership."
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BACKGROUND:


********* Kelowna Accord ***********
November 2005 (.doc file)

ABORIGINAL ROUNDTABLE TO KELOWNA ACCORD
ABORIGINAL POLICY NEGOTIATIONS, 2004-2005

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Health Council of Canada calls for clarification of the federal government's position on Kelowna Accord

February 2007

http://www.turtleisland.org/discussion/viewtopic.php?p=7966#7966


House of Commons Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs
Recommends Without Amendment Bill C-292
An Act to implement the Kelowna Accord

December 5th, 2006

http://cmte.parl.gc.ca/cmte/CommitteePublication.aspx?SourceId=185688


Perspective

Just another empty white man's promise

http://www.thestar.com/article/154309

November 25th, 2006


AFN and the Kelowna Accord

November 2006

http://www.turtleisland.org/discussion/viewtopic.php?p=7747#7747


Metis Nation of Canada and the Kelowna Accord

November 2006

http://www.turtleisland.org/discussion/viewtopic.php?p=7759#7759


Congress of Aboriginal Peoples Perspective on the Kelowna Accord

November 2006

http://www.turtleisland.org/discussion/viewtopic.php?t=5049


Liberals and the Kelowna Accord

http://www.liberal.ca/news_e.aspx?q=kelowna+accord


Kelowna Accord Re-Birth?

October 2006

http://www.turtleisland.org/discussion/viewtopic.php?t=4940


BC Government moves on its own with First Nations to Honour Kelowna Accord

August 2006

http://www.turtleisland.org/discussion/viewtopic.php?p=7353#7353


Right wing group opposes Kelowna Accord

July 2006

http://www.taxpayer.com/main/news.php?news_id=2340


Harper Government Ignores Kelowna Accord

May 2006

http://www.turtleisland.org/discussion/viewtopic.php?p=6925#6925


Canadians for Kelowna

http://www.canadiansforkelowna.ca/


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House of Commons Aboriginal Affairs Committee

November 23, 2006

Bill C-292, an Act to implement the Kelowna Accord

http://cmte.parl.gc.ca/cmte/CommitteePublication.aspx?SourceId=186623&Lang=1&PARLSES=391&JNT=0&COM=10463


House of Commons Aboriginal Affairs Committee

November 21, 2006

Bill C-292, an Act to implement the Kelowna Accord

http://cmte.parl.gc.ca/cmte/CommitteePublication.aspx?SourceId=185715&Lang=1&PARLSES=391&JNT=0&COM=10463


House of Commons Aboriginal Affairs Committee

November 9th, 2006

Bill C-292, an Act to implement the Kelowna Accord

http://cmte.parl.gc.ca/cmte/CommitteePublication.aspx?SourceId=185381&Lang=1&PARLSES=391&JNT=0&COM=10463


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Conservative Party web site

Liberals and Kelowna

November 23, 2006


Today Liberal MPs like Tina Keeper and Gary Merasty are once again attacking the Conservative government over the issue of the Kelowna Accord.  It is shocking that Liberals could so hypocritically attack the government, given their record of failure, as the AFN made clear in its recent report card.  Perhaps these Liberal MPs could explain to Canadians why even their own leadership candidates have criticized the Liberal record on Aboriginal issues:


The facts:


    * Gerard Kennedy on Liberals’ “devastating record”: The Liberal leader contender has also recommended to the party it improve the lot of aboriginals who are entitled to the same health care, education and other services provided to all other Canadians. That's another area in which the government has failed. "We have a devastating record." (Lethbridge Herald, June 16, 2006)


    * Bob Rae on flaws of Kelowna Accord: Liberal leadership candidate Bob Rae has suggested that the Kelowna Accord didn’t deal with key issues, such as urban aboriginals (Winnipeg Free Press, August 12, 2006)


    * Michael Ignatieff on scrapping Department of Indian Affairs: Liberal leadership candidate Michael Ignatieff (Etobicoke-Lakeshore) has called for the Department of Indian Affairs to be scrapped entirely (Cowichan News Leader, August 23, 2006, )


    * For 13 years, the Liberals ignored the needs of Aboriginals


    * Paul Martin promised in September 2004 that money would flow for Aboriginal health care.  Yet not a single dollar had come from the federal government even as Martin was promising more money at Kelowna in November 2005, leaving frustrated provinces trying to pick up the pieces from another empty Martin promise (Edmonton Journal, November 25, 2005)


    * Aboriginal leaders expressed disappointment with the Liberals’ 2005 budget (Globe and Mail, February 24, 2005)


    * Unlike the 1995 budget exercise to claw back government spending, Indian and Northern Affairs was not spared in the Martin government’s 2005 budget's "expenditure review" plan. (Globe and Mail, February 24, 2005)


    * While Liberals have denied it, according to NDP MP Pat Martin, the Liberals funded their backroom deal with Jack Layton out of money that had been set aside to finally fulfill Paul Martin’s promises to First Nations.  Pat Martin said one minister told him the multibillion-dollar deal is being funded in part by money set aside for impending announcements for aboriginals, rather than surplus funds as explained publicly by the Prime Minister. "I've gotten a very clear message from first nations leadership and from Liberal cabinet ministers that the money that was intended to be announced May 31 has been redirected to form part of the NDP budget. The government intends to pay for its commitments to the NDP with money that they had already committed to first nations," Pat Martin said. "If that's the case, it's even sleazier than I had ever imagined." (Globe and Mail, May 4, 2005).


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Gary Merasty, M.P. 

Member of Parliament for Desnet hé­Missinippi­Churchill River 

Associate Critic for Indian Affairs 

News Release 

For Immediate Release November 24, 2006 

THE FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF KELOWNA ACCORD: TIME FOR 

ACTION 

OTTAWA – Gary Merasty, Associate Crit ic for Indian Affairs, slammed the minorit y 

Conservat ive government for their failure to implement the Kelowna Accord, on the first anniversary of the agreement reached in Kelowna. 


Mr. Merasty raised the issue in Question Period yesterday. 


“The Kelowna Accord was a high water mark, a signal that all leaders were committed to building a new relationship,” said Mr. Merast y.  “However, the Conservat ives refused to honour the Accord, chose to cut the funding for the Accord and have adopted a more adversarial approach with First Nations, Métis and Inuit. This hurts Canada.” 


“The premiers have remained resolute in their support of the Kelowna Accord.  In 

Saskatchewan, the provincial government and the official opposition joined together to announce their unwavering support for the Accord, as well as the majorit y Opposition in the House of Commons.  First Nations, Métis and Inuit leadership also remain determined to seeing that the Accord is honoured.” 


“The Conservat ive government needs to understand that the Accord is not a partisan issue, it is a plan to improve the quality of life for First Nations, Mét is and Inuit people. It is about ensuring that people are drinking clean water, that their homes are free of black mould, and that they can be freed from poverty and pursue educational and economical opportunities that do not otherwise exist. Improving the qualit y of life for Aboriginal Canadians benefits everyone, and leaders across Canada recognize this.” 


The Kelowna Accord, signed November 25, 2005 after 18 months of negotiations, aimed to improve the qualit y of life for Aboriginals by targeting $5.1 billion in new investments in educat ion, housing, water, health care and economic development, and was accounted for by the previous Liberal government in its budgets and planning.  The Accord also established a start point for continuing, long­term collaboration and established benchmarks for measuring success.


“The attitude t his government has toward the Accord is shameful,” said Mr. Merasty.  “ “It is shocking that they can vote against the Accord when the federal government coffers are bulging with a $13.2 billion surplus. The Kelowna Accord provides a real road map, and a consensus for all leaders to move away from a past of distrust and conflict and embrace the goals set out in the Royal Commission of Aboriginal Peoples.  We need to commit to those goals so real improvements can be made in the lives of all First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples.” 

­30­ 


Mr. Gary Merasty (Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River, Lib.): 

Mr. Speaker, the tradition of aboriginal Canadians is to value the promises made to 

them. It is in that tradition that aboriginal Canadians will remember one simple thing that a promise was made and that promise was broken. 


The minority Conservative government has betrayed aboriginal people. The 

Conservative government budget cancelled the $5 billion agreement and replaced it with chump change, $450 million over two years, about nine Conservative cents to every Liberal dollar that was promised. Not only that, the Conservatives cut funding to aboriginal languages, women, health and the list goes on. 


Will the minister stand up to his bosses and demand that the fiscal update include 

Kelowna­­


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Assembly of First Nations pleased by the passage on Second Reading of Bill C-292: An Act to Implement the Kelowna Accord


OTTAWA, Oct. 19, 2006


Assembly of First Nations National Chief Phil Fontaine said First Nations across Canada are pleased by the outcome of yesterday's vote in the House of Commons on Bill C-292, An Act to Implement the Kelowna Accord. The Bill passed at second reading and was referred to the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs.

    

"All First Nations were eagerly anticipating the passage of Bill C-292 at

second reading and we are very pleased that the Bill was unanimously supported

by all of the opposition parties in the House of Commons. It is now clear to

us and to all Canadians that the majority of their elected representatives

support the outcomes of the First Ministers Meeting on Aboriginal issues that

was held in Kelowna last November," said National Chief Fontaine. "First

Nations were disappointed to see the current minority government vote against

Bill C-292, despite its earlier public statements that it supports the targets

and objectives agreed to in Kelowna that are designed to close the gap in

quality of life between our people and the rest of Canadians within ten

years," added National Chief Fontaine.


The First Nations plan that was agreed to at the First Ministers Meeting

in Kelowna is achievable and affordable. It sets out realistic goals with

measurable targets. All governments and Aboriginal organizations spent

eighteen months prior to the meeting developing the plan and working together

in order to achieve a consensus. The final product was a comprehensive ten

year plan to close the gap between Aboriginal people and other Canadians that

was unanimously endorsed by every province and territory, the federal

government, and all Aboriginal leaders.

    

National Chief Fontaine elaborated further, saying, "Yesterday, again, we

saw the majority of elected representatives in the House of Commons vote in

favour of the Kelowna agreement. First Nations need and deserve it to be fully

implemented. We cannot afford to lose another generation. This is a national

crisis that all governments agreed must be addressed immediately."

    

"First Nations peoples wish to thank all of the Members of the House of

Commons who voted in support of the First Nations plan. We believe that there

is now an opportunity for all Members of all parties to join with us in

tackling the number one social injustice in Canada- First Nations poverty. We

encourage all Governments of Canada to continue to work with us to implement

the solutions needed to solve the poverty crisis," concluded National Chief

Fontaine.


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Statement by Bob Rae on the Vote on the Rt. Hon. Paul Martin's

Bill to Implement the Kelowna Accord

Ottawa - October 18, 2006 - "I congratulate Members of Parliament for voting in favour tonight on second reading of the Right Honourable Paul Martin's private members' bill, An Act to Implement the Kelowna Accord. I also congratulate the former Prime Minister for his ongoing leadership on behalf of this cause and his partnership with First Nations, Inuit and Métis. The bill calls on the government to fulfill the objectives of the agreement, which sought to reduce over the next decade gaps between aboriginal and non-aboriginal Canadians in education, skills development, health care, housing, access to clean water and employment."


"Kelowna" is not just a word, or a "scrap of paper", as Mr. Harper would have us believe. It is a foundation for reconciliation, a true partnership of equals, and a basis for the improvement of opportunity and living conditions for First Nations, Inuit and Métis. The spirit, intent and funding commitments must be honoured. Kelowna was an important step, and governments must complement it with among other measures including, adequate resources to expedite existing land-claim and self-government processes; addressing the challenges facing Canada's urban aboriginal constituency, particularly those faced by Aboriginal women; and an agreement that recognizes the Métis people and supports Métis-specific programming. Again I congratulate those MPs who supported C-292 for their commitment to this cause. This legislation also speaks to the Right Honourable Paul Martin's unswerving dedication to Canada and to his outstanding legacy as both Minister of Finance and Prime Minister of Canada. I am both honoured and proud to support his ongoing efforts on behalf of Canadians."


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ITK Supports Bill to Implement Kelowna Accord


Wednesday October 18, 2006 - Ottawa, Ontario - Speaking on behalf of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), the national Inuit Organization, President Mary Simon today welcomed the possibility of Bill C-292, An Act to implement the Kelowna Accord, being referred by the House of Commons to a Parliamentary Committee for further consideration.


Bill C-292, a private member's Bill introduced by Liberal Member of Parliament and former Prime Minister Paul Martin, would require that the Government of Canada, "immediately take all measures necessary to implement the terms of the 'Kelowna Accord'". It would also require periodic progress reports to Parliament on Kelowna Accord implementation.


Ms. Simon indicated that, in the event that the Bill proceeds to Committee, ITK would be happy to appear before the Committee to give evidence on behalf of the Inuit of Canada. ITK was one of the architects of the Kelowna Accord in the run-up to its adoption by consensus by federal, provincial and territorial governments and by national aboriginal organizations on November 25, 2005.


"Inuit support the purpose and substance of Bill C-292, and ITK is ready to offer more detailed comments at the Committee stage", said Ms. Simon. "We believe that through constructive consideration of this Bill all Parliamentarians have an opportunity to demonstrate to aboriginal and other Canadians that Parliament takes the honour of the Crown very much to heart." 


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Motion on Kelowna (June 19-06)


Ms. Jean Crowder (Nanaimo—Cowichan, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I am speaking today on behalf of the New Democratic Party in support of the motion.    However, it is with some frustration that I speak to this matter. We are having this debate today because the former Liberal government did nothing for 13 years to address some of the crises facing the first nations, Inuit and Métis peoples across the country. It is sad to say that what galvanized the Liberals to action was a previous minority government.    


 Unfortunately, the current minority government has not yet been galvanized to the same kind of action. In fact, the current minority government has turned its back on a very important agreement that had support from the federal government, provincial governments and first nations, Inuit and Métis leaderships across the country.     I want to set a bit of context for this. I will go back to a press release put out after the first ministers and national aboriginal leaders met in Kelowna back in November 2005. In a document called, “Strengthening Relationships and Closing the Gap”, it talks about some of the important issues around housing, education and economic development that were critical for first nations, Métis and Inuit peoples to join the rest of Canadians in a quality of life that many of us take for granted.    


Much has been said about the fact that there was no signed agreement. People have talked about it being written on the back of a napkin. None of that is true. The agreement came about after extensive meetings and discussions were held over a number of months. In our country people's verbal commitment to things is considered binding. This agreement, in many people's minds, when we talk about the honour of the Crown, reflects the honour of the Crown.     


The previous federal government said that it was committed to improving the quality of life for first nations, Métis and Inuit peoples, that it was committed to putting money on the table and that it was committed to having discussions with leaderships across Canada. People understood this agreement to be a meaningful commitment and that it was directly tied to the honour of the Crown.    I want to talk about the conclusion in the document, “Strengthening Relationships and Closing the Gap”, because it sets out some of the principles and the agreement that people understood. It states:  This document represents a shared commitment to action by all parties. The initiatives set out in this document are the first step in a 10-year dedicated effort to improve the quality of life of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada. Based on their shared commitment, First Ministers and National Aboriginal Leaders agree to take immediate action, to build on their commitments over time, wherever possible, and to move forward in a manner that will achieve the maximum results for the Aboriginal peoples of Canada which include the Indian, Inuit and Métis peoples of Canada.    


Two of the important words in this document are “shared commitment”. It is that shared commitment that people are quite disappointed with in the current government's approach.    In case anyone thinks there is no reality around some of the conditions on first nations reserves and for Inuit and Métis people, I have a copy of the Economic and Social Council's report from May 2006. Canada is being cited on an international stage for its handling of indigenous issues. I will not read the whole report because I am sure most members of the House have paid attention to this report with a great deal of interest, but the committee noted, with particular concern, that poverty rates remained very high among disadvantaged and marginalized individuals and groups, such as aboriginal peoples. Also in the report the committee talks about disparities. It states:        


The disparities that still persist between Aboriginal peoples and the rest of the Canadian population in the enjoyment of Covenant rights, as well as the discrimination still experienced by Aboriginal women in matters of matrimonial property.    The report goes on to deal with things such as water, health and housing, which are the fundamental elements in the agreement that was struck back in the fall in Kelowna around closing the poverty gap. The report states:        


The Committee is also concerned by the significant disparities still remaining between Aboriginal people and the rest of the population in areas of employment, access to water, health, housing and education,        The Committee, while noting that the State party has withdrawn, since 1998, the requirement for an express reference to extinguishment of Aboriginal rights and titles either in a comprehensive claim agreement or in the settlement legislation ratifying the agreement, remains concerned that the new approaches, namely the “modified rights model” and the “non-assertion model”, do not differ much from the extinguishment and surrender approach.        It further regrets not having received detailed information on other approaches based on recognition and coexistence of rights, which are currently under study.    


A little later on I will link the treaty rights back to closing the poverty gap because it is a fundamental principle. Not only is it not in the motion before the House today, it also was not part of the Kelowna agreement.    The report goes on to actually talk about a variety of programs. Again, culture, language and education are fundamental in terms of having people move forward with education and with economic development. The United Nations committee states:        


The Committee, while noting the numerous programmes adopted to preserve Aboriginal languages in the State party, as well as the studies conducted in the area of the protection of traditional knowledge, regrets that no time frame has been set up for the consideration and implementation of the recommendations of the Task Force on Aboriginal Languages and Cultures, and that no concrete measures have been adopted in the area of intellectual property for the protection and promotion of ancestral rights and traditional knowledge of Aboriginal peoples.    


Those are serious problems that have been identified in the international community and are directly related to self-sufficiency and to addressing the poverty gap.    


The last piece that I just talked about was around culture and language. Part of what was in the original Kelowna agreement around closing the poverty gap was a very substantial commitment to education and that education needs to be culturally relevant. It needs to include access to language. That important commitment has been lost by not having the Conservative government agree to proceed with those matters.   


 I mentioned earlier that much has been said about not having a signed agreement and the honour of the Crown. The premier in my province of British Columbia took it at face value that the federal government was committed to moving forward with this. The provincial government and the first nations leadership in British Columbia signed something called the transformative change accord. When people move forward by signing other documents they feel that it will happen. They thought this was a deal.    


In a letter dated May 4, 2006 and addressed to the current Prime Minister, the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, the B.C. Assembly of First Nations, the First Nations Summit and the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said that they had thought that the current minister had made public commitments to put wheels on the Kelowna accord.     


However, the government has chosen not to uphold the honour of the Crown. The government has reneged on this historic, multi-government agreement and has proceeded to unilaterally implement its own plan to address our issues without any consultations.     


The consultation that led to that agreement in Kelowna was an integral part of what happened. The verbal agreement was destroyed without any consultation with aboriginal people. The leadership goes on to say:        The funds announced in your budget will do very little to remedy chronic under-fundincrushing poverty and appg or the alling socio-economic conditions of First Nations communities. True recognition, reconciliation and social justice with respect to lands, territories and resources, as well as social and economic programs, are becoming even more distant goals. Part of closing that poverty gap was a commitment to four key areas. It was also a commitment to funding, so I am going to turn my attention to funding.   


 In the letter that the first nations leadership in British Columbia wrote to the Prime Minister and the Ministers of Finance and Indian and Northern Affairs, they talked about the funding. They said:         


Your government has abandoned this Accord and your budget reflects only a fraction of the financial commitments already committed by the Government of Canada to help improve the quality of life for First Nations and Aboriginal Canadians.        


Your government has committed to addressing the fiscal imbalance with the provinces, yet this budget does nothing to address the fiscal imbalance faced by First Nations governments. Spending on First Nations programs has been kept at 2% for the past 10 years and is far outpaced by rapid population growth and rising costs.    When we are talking about money, I think it is really important that we talk about how much money is actually available and about some of the realities in first nations, Métis and Inuit communities. In a recent report by the Auditor General, she herself talks about the fact that funding has not kept pace with population growth. In the Auditor General's report, she says that between 1999 and 2004 funding increased by only 1.6% and yet population growth in first nations communities was at 11.2%. That is quite a significant difference.    


As well, when we are talking about funding we have to actually talk about where money is spent and how it is allocated. In the department's own facts, it says that between 2005 and 2006 the government is forecasted to spend $9.1 billion directly on aboriginal programs, policies and initiatives. It is important to note that 80% of this spending is directed toward basic province-like services such as infrastructure, housing and education.    


I want to turn briefly to a report put out by the Assembly of First Nations in 2004, “Federal Government Funding to First Nations: The Facts, the Myths and the Way Forward”. The reason I specifically wanted to reference that report is that, using the department's own figures, it talks about the fact that funding has actually decreased and says that funding for core services such as education, economic and social development, capital facilities and maintenance has decreased by almost 13% since 1999-2000.    


We have a crisis happening with first nations, Métis and Inuit peoples. We have a population that is growing and we have an infrastructure deficit. Many first nations communities do not have access to clean drinking water. They do not have access to sewer systems. They do not have access to adequate housing. We talk about the fact that the federal government actually has an obligation to provide “comparable services”. Comparable services means services that are similar to those that people who live in provinces and municipalities have access to. I would argue that many first nations, Métis and Inuit communities not only do not have comparable services, but their services are so substandard that most Canadians would not even dream of living there.    


This Kelowna agreement, this closing of the poverty gap, was a step, a significant step. It would not be the answer to all of the problems, but it was a significant step in moving forward and addressing some of those issues.    In addition, in her report the Auditor General talked about the fact that the failures she was outlining were mostly to do with quality of life issues, well-being issues, and much of what she addressed actually falls squarely in the laps of the previous Liberal government. Her report was a condemnation of past policies and programs that are still failing to meet some of those very critical issues around housing, education and land claims.    


Earlier I mentioned that I was going to touch briefly on land claims. This is not mentioned in the current motion and was not part of the agreement in Kelowna. Specifically, I am bringing up land claims in this context because treaties, comprehensive land claims and specific land claims are all part of paving the way for first nations communities to move forward, paving the way for first nations communities to have meaningful economic development, and paving the way for first nations communities to actually be able to take charge of some of the infrastructure programs and the educational aspects that are very important in that economic survival and the community.I am going to come back to the United Nations report that I was quoting from earlier because it made a couple of recommendations that tie directly to this. Recommendation 37 states:        


The Committee urges the State party to re-examine its policies and practices towards the inherent rights and titles of Aboriginal peoples to ensure that policies and practices do not result in extinguishment of those rights and titles.    Recommendation 38 states:        


The Committee strongly recommends that the State party resume negotiations with the Lubicon Lake Band, with a view to finding a solution to the claims of the Band that ensures the enjoyment of their rights under the Covenant. The Committee also strongly recommends the State party to conduct effective consultation with the Band prior to the grant of licences for economic purposes in the disputed land, and to ensure that such activities do not jeopardize the rights recognized under the Covenant.    


I specifically quoted the recommendation on the Lubicon Lake Band because I think it is a microcosm of a fact that many first nations communities are faced with. Because they cannot get adequate treaties or comprehensive land claims or specific land claims, they are unable to move forward with the economic development that is so critical to their survival and well-being.    I want to turn just for a moment to my home riding of Nanaimo--Cowichan. For a number of years, the Hul'qumi'num Treaty Group has been in negotiations with the government. Part of the reason for their lack of community well-being they attribute to the lack of movement on the treaty.    


Again, tying it back to the Kelowna accord and the Auditor General's comments around economic well-being, there is an index called the community well-being index. This was used to examine the well-being of Canadian communities. In my riding, six Hul'qumi'num communities scored between 448 and 482 out of 486 communities surveyed in B.C. Those are grim numbers. We are talking about poverty, unemployment, poor health, lack of access to education, and the list goes on. In the province of British Columbia, when six of these Hul'qumi'num communities score at the very bottom, that is of grave concern.    


Part of what the Hul'qumi'num Treaty Group is calling for is for the government to move forward on treaty and land claims so that people can take control of their lives, so that they can move forward and stand shoulder to shoulder with the rest of Canadians.     


In an article in the Cultural Survival Quarterly of March 27, 2006, Robert Morales talks about Canada's own royal commission. He states:         


Canada's own Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples recognized that “Aboriginal peoples need much more territory to become economically, culturally and politically self-sufficient. If they cannot obtain a greater share of the land and resources in this country, their institutions of self-government will fail”. This is, they said, “the most pressing human rights issue facing Canadians, and failure to obtain a more global solution can only continue to tarnish Canada's reputation and accomplishments”.    What we know is that without meaningful movement on land claims, on specific comprehensive land claims and treaties, it is going to be very difficult for first nations communities to take charge of their economic self-sufficiency, as Robert Morales points out in his article.    It has been a long haul. I was speaking to one of the chiefs on Vancouver Island. He told me that at the age of nine, at his grandfather's knee, he listened to his grandfather talk to him about land claims and treaties. He talked about the fact that “soon it would be settled”. This chief is now 63 and his band still does not have a treaty.    


In conclusion, I would like to urge each and every member of the House to support this very important initiative brought forward by the official opposition. We would like to be in a situation in 10 years' time where the United Nations is talking about the great progress Canada has made in terms of closing this poverty gap, in terms of enshrining the cultural and language rights, and in terms of economic self-sufficiency for first nations, Métis and Inuit peoples.    I urge all members of the House to support the motion and I urge the government to then actually allocate the funds to make sure that we can truly close the poverty gap in this country in this day and age.


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June 19, 2006 - Debate in the House of Commons


Scott urges Conservatives to honour Kelowna Agreement


Hon. Andy Scott (Fredericton, Lib.):


Mr. Speaker, thank you very much and happy birthday. I would like to take the time that is available to me in this debate to talk more about the Kelowna accord.


The Kelowna accord only came about at the time of the health ministers meeting in September 2004 when provincial and territorial governments agreed to a first ministers meeting on aboriginal issues. This process started in April 2004 when the aboriginal people round table was called.


Seventy-five aboriginal organizations in Canada, about 500 people, spent an entire day discussing the challenges facing first nations, Métis and Inuit Canadians. The difference in that instance, I believe, was the fact that the Prime Minister realized perhaps for the first time that the solutions would have to be collaborative. In the past, well intentioned

people made decisions on behalf of first nations, Métis and Inuit Canadians and generally speaking, those initiatives were unsuccessful by their very nature because they were imposed rather than collaborative solutions.


I was at that meeting as the minister of infrastructure and housing. We met all day and came up with six areas that needed further study in terms of real solutions to the problems. It was a collective decision by all assembled. Those areas were health, education, housing, economic

development, accountability and negotiations. At the time the Prime Minister said that this was the first step and from then on, first nations, Métis and Inuit Canadians would have a place at the table.


Not long after that, in September 2004, a first ministers meeting on health was scheduled and the aboriginal community stepped up understandably and asked about its seat at the table. This meeting on the question of health included federal, provincial and territorial governments as well as aboriginal leaders. It was at that time that the decision was taken to have a first ministers meeting in the following year which ended up being Kelowna. That was really the first time the aboriginal community and the federal, provincial and territorial governments met altogether.


Over the course of the winter, following the health meeting in

September, workshops took place and meetings were held in terms of the community working together with the federal government. At this point it was still bilateral. I was quite encouraged by these meetings. Critics were there from other parties. We were seriously engaged in dialogue.


I remember in Calgary that spring the present Minister of Indian Affairs participating in the negotiations as part of the process that brought us to these reports. There are a large number of reports as a result of all the exercise on these six subject areas. However, it became apparent that notwithstanding the fiduciary responsibility of the federal government, if it was going to deal with those six issues, it would have to engage the provinces and territories in a meaningful way.


In March a meeting of aboriginal affairs ministers was held in advance of the final policy retreat that was part of the original process. This was bilateral between the federal government and aboriginal organizations.


I remember clearly the provincial aboriginal affairs ministers saying they would like to have their governments involved, but a serious financial investment would have to be made. Even if the ministers wanted to do something, their premiers, their finance ministers, and their intergovernmental affairs ministers would not buy it because they would believe the federal government was trying to off-load. That is when I began, as the minister responsible, to seek from my government both the policy agreements that were necessary to make this work and the funding arrangements that I will speak of in a minute.


On May 31 the process that started with the round table reached the first phase of completion and that was the policy retreat that was originally intended.


Five agreements were signed between the Government of Canada and the five national aboriginal organizations. That was intended to be bilateral. The provinces were aware because of the meeting we had in March and we

scheduled a second aboriginal affairs meeting for Ottawa on June 21 to discuss the policy retreat that we had just completed in preparation for Kelowna.


At that meeting on January 21 we added a couple of items to the agenda. Everyone was encouraged, but once again the Government of Canada received a loud and clear message that this was not going to work unless the federal government made the kind of investments that were necessary and if it did, the provincial and territorial governments would in fact be involved in areas where they would have to be like education, health, housing, economic development and so on.


That process caused me and four of my colleagues to go forward to cabinet seeking policy decisions from the government and funding decisions that supported those policy decisions, and that happened all through the summer and fall leading to Kelowna. By the time we actually got to Kelowna

the funding had been secured against the means and uses ledger that was available to the government as we accounted on a monthly basis.


The funding was secure. The Minister of Finance had said that, the Prime Minister had said that, and the finance officials appearing before the aboriginal affairs committee said the same thing. That was done. The policy framework was established and agreed to and signed off by the five national

organizations twice; once on policy in May earlier that year and once in Kelowna, we signed five agreements over again.


The only trilateral agreement that was signed that day was signed with British Columbia. That was intentional and deliberate. We were then going forward with an agreement that everyone understood. I have the quotes of all of the premiers, territorial leaders and the aboriginal organizations

themselves.


There can be no question what happened over a period of 18 months in this instance. I am sure there will be members who will get up and speak of the fact that we were the government for 13 years. No one in Canada really believes that this problem was one that was created even in our lifetime. The problems we are talking about here are hundreds of years old and repeated governments are responsible for the conditions that we all recognize exist.


I really believe that the difference in this instance was simply an honest desire to come up with a shared collaborative solution. It takes time. It takes more time than people wish to give, given the terrible situation, but the community wanted to be in on the solution and they were.


As a result that is the reason why there is such investment in the arrangement. People like my colleague from Nunavut talk about the fact that this is as much about the relationship as anything. That is why to turn our back on it at this point, as a country, would be a major mistake by virtue of the fact that what it would say to the community is that nothing has changed. The reality is, it is a wonderful opportunity. The community has an overwhelming consensus.


We will be able to identify individual people who do not like the

arrangement, that is for sure, but there is an enormous consensus within the community. The people who were in Kelowna could see that. The statements that were made by the leaders that day and the statements that were made by

the premiers that day all suggested that this was an important moment in the relationship and in terms of improving the living conditions of Métis, first nations and Inuit Canadians.


They stepped up. The Government of Canada stepped up by making the policy changes it requested and made the investments that were necessary to support those changes. The provinces and territorial governments stepped up for the first time to say, yes, they will work with the aboriginal people on education, they will work with them on housing, and they will collaborate in a way that is perhaps very new in terms of the relationship on this file in Canada. All of those things converged.


I think we have an opportunity to do the right thing by first nations, Métis and Inuit Canadians and I call upon the Government of Canada to consider the motion that was put by my colleague and do the right thing.


Mr. Rod Bruinooge (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I have been here just a few months, but one thing I have noticed about this hon. colleague is that he tends to

speak in a very non-partisan way that seeks to move the debate forward in a fashion that is constructive, and that is appreciated.


I would also like to say that both myself, the government and the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development have often spoken of how we agree with the objectives and targets that were laid out at that first ministers meeting. There were a lot of them.


If I were to ask a question, though, of this hon. member who has served in many capacities in the previous government, it would be to ask him these questions: Why is it that it took until the last moment of the previous government's life to move forward? Why did it take so long and what stopped him previously from moving forward with these types of discussions?


Hon. Andy Scott: Mr. Speaker, as I said in my comments, this started at the round table in April 2004. Kelowna took place in November 2005, 18 months later. When I was involved in the round table, I was the minister for infrastructure and housing. I can tell the House that at the time I wasexcited by the possibilities because housing would be a big part of it and I

remember wanting to be part of something that I thought, done right, could make a big difference.


Little did I know at the time that I would become the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development eventually and have the opportunity to facilitate this dialogue between a number of federal government departments. The Department of Justice was involved. I will not even begin to describe the number of departments involved to help facilitate that.


The Prime Minister had struck an aboriginal affairs committee of cabinet to make every policy change that was necessary. Over 20 times I had to go to cabinet to seek a policy change and to get the funding in order to support that policy change. This preoccupied the government for a year and a half, always respectfully, always recognizing that this would not work if it was imposed on the community, regardless of good intention.


This would only work if it was a respectful collaboration between the first nation of our country and the government of the day. That was what it set out to be and that is why so many people were invested in this agreement, because it meant so much to the people who contributed and participated.


At the end of the day one cannot build houses without investment or educate people without investment. There are all kinds of details that would explain how it was that we wished to go forward and the processes that would be involved because process is a big part of collaboration, but it is not all of it.


We would plan education with the provinces and we would structure educational systems because at the end of the day the consensus was that most of the education delivered, particularly in first nation communities, was delivered not by educational systems but simply in schools. My own children going to school in Fredericton would recognize that education is now a system and that is not the case in first nations communities generally.


Therefore, all of that content was a part of this exercise and there was a great deal of content, such as private ownership of homes. There is a long list and I will not get into enumerating it. More important perhaps than all the content, even perhaps more than the revenues or resources that were

secured, is the relationship, the idea that finally the government was sitting down with the community and we were going to solve these tragic problems that have haunted our country for hundreds of years. We were going to solve them together, respectfully.


That was the nature of the new relationship and that is probably what is most at risk if the government does not see fit to support my hon. colleague's motion today. 


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June 2, 2006


AFN National Chief: Kelowna Implementation Bill C-292 the Right Thing for Canada


Assembly of First Nations National Chief Phil Fontaine today commended MP Paul Martin for his proposed legislation Bill C-292, An Act to implement the Kelowna Accord.   The Bill would ensure that the agreements made at the First Ministers Meeting on Aboriginal issues held in Kelowna last November would be honoured and implemented.


“I applaud Mr. Martin’s consistent and ongoing support for the goals and commitments achieved at the First Ministers Meeting on Aboriginal Issues,” stated National Chief Fontaine. “These were agreements between our people and all of Canada. They were supported by the leaders of all Aboriginal peoples as well as all Premiers and territorial leaders and the federal government. The approaches developed in those agreements will close the gap in quality of life between First Nations and other Canadians within a decade and will ultimately benefit all Canadians by strengthening the economic and social conditions in this country as a whole.”


The commitments resulting from the First Ministers Meeting were agreed upon by leaders from 19 jurisdictions, including the Government of Canada and the Assembly of First Nations. Support for the Kelowna Accord and for improving quality of life for First Nations, Métis and Inuit people was reiterated earlier this week at the Western Premiers Conference in Gimli, Manitoba. Manitoba Premier Gary Doer stated that it would be “morally wrong” to back out of the commitments, while the premiers as a group committed to summits on Aboriginal economic issues and violence against Aboriginal women.  BC Premier Gordon Campbell has stated that nothing less than the “honour of Crown” is at stake in acting on the First Ministers Meeting commitments.


“Both the United Nations Economic and Social Council and the Auditor General have recently stated that Canada is not meeting its commitments to First Nation peoples,” stated the National Chief. “Honouring the Kelowna Accord will provide Canada with a real opportunity to honour those commitments and move our people from poverty to prosperity. This is not only about First Nations; this is about the future of the country. The Prime Minister has stated that he wants to revisit the Kelowna agreements. If that is the case, then I say, Prime Minister, let’s work to make the commitment to First Nations even stronger.”


The National Chief noted that BC signed its own regional agreement involving First Nations, the provincial government and the federal government based on the commitments made at Kelowna.


The National Chief also addressed comments by the Conservative government that there is no “Kelowna Accord” because there is no signed document and that funds were not set aside to address the commitments of the accord.


“The agreements in Kelowna were publicly and transparently endorsed by all Provincial and territorial leaders, the Prime Minister and all Aboriginal leaders during the public, closing comments at the First Ministers Meeting,” said the National Chief. “There was not a single dissenting voice. As well, the previous Finance Minister issued a clear statement that the $5.1 Billion was ‘booked’ within the budgetary processes of the Government of Canada. What could be more transparent and accountable than that kind of public endorsement and funding commitment? First Ministers Meetings rarely conclude with any kind of signed agreement, but commitments are made and honoured. We take the word of the First Ministers as honourable.  The Premiers, the First Nation, Inuit and Métis  leadership have provided Prime Minister Harper with an historic opportunity. We can work together break the cycle of poverty too many of our people live everyday and create a better country for all of us.”


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 Aboriginal Affairs - Kelowna

June 2, 2006

   

Ms. Tina Keeper (Churchill, Lib.):

    Mr. Speaker, when the Minister of Indian Affairs was in opposition he pretended to care about the quality of life for aboriginal people in Canada. However, this year, when he had the opportunity to act on this issue and when there was more than enough money in the federal books, he failed to provide the leadership he was calling for just one year ago.

 

    Will the minister stop insulting aboriginal people by denying the Kelowna accord exists and stand up and implement the Kelowna accord with all of its funding today?


Hon. Jim Prentice (Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians, CPC):

    Mr. Speaker, we should try to get beyond the sort of partisanship that we are seeing in the House. I want to be clear that I was at Kelowna but I do not believe the hon. member was.


    There were two specific problems at Kelowna that the hon. member will not be able to address. The first is that there was no budgeted money flowing from the Kelowna process. The second is that there was no Kelowna accord that was signed. An agreement was never signed.


    I invited the members opposite to table that agreement and they tabled a press release. This government does not govern with press releases.


Ms. Tina Keeper (Churchill, Lib.):

    Mr. Speaker, the residents of the Garden Hill First Nation in my community are dealing with a tuberculosis epidemic which has never been seen before in Canada. We are talking about a disease that has been eradicated in most of Canada. Kashechewan has also been abandoned.


    The accord was about immediate action to improve the lives of aboriginal people in Canada. The spirit of the accord was one of cooperation, consultation and partnership.


    How can the Minister of Indian Affairs continue to justify not funding the accord when it is clear the money was booked and all that is needed is leadership?


Hon. Jim Prentice (Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians, CPC):

    Mr. Speaker, it seems clear that the House will reverberate again this morning with more Liberal empty promises to aboriginal Canadians.


    The truth of the matter is that there was no Kelowna money in any of the Liberal budgets. No Kelowna money was ever submitted to the House of Commons. In fact, there was no Kelowna money at Kelowna.

 

    Now the House faces the spectre of a private member's bill offering a continuation of the same thing, no money. The truth is that the former Liberal government never delivered to aboriginal Canadians.



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May 29, 2006


MKO Chiefs Optimistic as Premier Gary Doer Takes Message to Western Premiers Meeting to "Uphold the Honour of the Crown" On Kelowna Accord


Winnipeg, MB - MKO Grand Chief Dr. Sydney Garrioch congratulates Manitoba Premier Gary Doer for his commitment to honour the Kelowna Accord (November 2005) that will address improving the social and economic conditions of MKO First Nations in the area of health, education, housing, and economic development. Recently, the Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper tossed aside the Kelowna Accord stating he would consult with the First Nations leaders and develop a new approach to meet the Kelowna targets.


Grand Chief Garrioch said, "The First Nations leadership requested Premier Doer and his collegues to demand that Prime Minister Steven Harper uphold the Honour of the Crown and implement the Kelowna Accord as agreed to in November 2005. As the Kelowna Accord was unanimously endorsed by the First Ministers and National Aboriginal leaders during a meeting specifically convened to discuss and address aboriginal issues of national significance, the honour of the Crown is at stake in ensuring full implementation of the priorities and expenditure plan."


Prior to the Western Premiers Meeting this week in Gimli, Manitoba, Premier Doer committed to persuade the other Premiers to ensure the Kelowna Accord is on the agenda of the Council of Federation meeting scheduled for July 28th to the 31st 2006 in St.John's Newfoundland. Premier Doer was briefed by the First Nations leadership on what the loss of the Kelowna Accord means to MKO First Nations.


Grand Chief Garrioch said, "A major setback of the Kelowna Accord came when the Federal Budget 2006 failed to recognize the Accord. The Federal Budget sets out expenditures on "Aboriginal Investments" of $450 million over two years. These proposed expenditures do not reflect the initiatives and expenditure plan set out in the Kelowna Accord and falls considerably short of the two-year expenditure plan of $1.64 billion that is set out in the Accord."


Grand Chief Garrioch concluded, "The loss is significant. The loss in education means increased backlogs for new schools and more temporary classrooms; and in health it means the loss of health autonomy as outlined in the Aboriginal Health Blue Print. In housing it means a loss of critical housing needs while the backlog stands at 4500 housing units in the MKO First Nations, and not to mention the missed economic development parnerships."


MKO represents the 30 northern-most Manitoba First Nations and 56000 Treaty First Nation Citizens. 


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 BC First Nations Leadership Council Welcomes Private Members Bill to Implement Kelowna Accord


News Release

For Immediate Release

May 19, 2006


Coast Salish Traditional Territory/Vancouver, BC – The BC First Nations Leadership Council applauds the introduction of a Private Member’s bill to implement the historic Kelowna Accord. The enactment of Bill C-292 requires that the Government of Canada fulfill its obligations and commitments reached under the Kelowna Accord and recognizes that the Accord was the result of a collaborative process among the Government of Canada, provincial and territorial governments, and Aboriginal leadership across Canada.


The First Nations Leadership Council urges all Members of Parliament to embark on a non-partisan approach to Aboriginal issues, as demonstrated by the BC legislature, in supporting the proposed bill. The Bill supports previous calls made by the First Nations Leadership Council, Premier Gordon Campbell, and the BC Government for the federal government to uphold the financial commitments set out in the Kelowna Accord in order to address critical socio-economic gaps. This includes a dedicated ten-year plan to improve the quality of life for Aboriginal peoples. The Act, cited as the Kelowna Accord Implementation Act¸ enacts that the Government of Canada take all measures necessary to implement the terms of the Kelowna Accord.


The First Nations Leadership Council reiterates their demand for the federal government to amend the 2006 federal budget to include the financial resources required to close the gaps in health, education, housing and economic opportunity as set forth in the Accord. This Bill provides an opportunity for the Crown to restore its honour and to acknowledge that a “new approach” for addressing Aboriginal issues was demonstrated in the jointly developed Kelowna Accord and notable tri-partite agreement, the Transformative Change Accord.


The First Nations Leadership Council strongly recommends that the federal government cooperates with the Leadership Council and the Province of British Columbia in providing timely investments to ensure that the mutually agreed upon goals of the Transformative Change Accord are achieved. The Kelowna Accord and the Transformative Change Accord are the result of a collaborative process between all parties leaving the Government of Canada accountable to more than just themselves.


-30-


The First Nations Leadership Council is comprised of the political executives of the First Nations Summit, Union of BC Indian Chiefs and the BC Assembly of First Nations. The Council works together to politically represent the interests of First Nations in British Columbia and develop strategies and actions to bring about significant and substantive changes to government policy that will benefit all First Nations in British Columbia.


For more information:


Chief Stewart Phillip, Union of BC Indian Chiefs (250) 490-5314

Colin Braker, First Nations Summit (604) 926-9903

Heather Gillies, BC Assembly of First Nations (604) 922-7733


For Immediate Release: May 4, 2006


(Coast Salish Territory) — The BC First Nations Leadership Council joined with Premier Gordon Campbell and the BC Government today in calling on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to live up to the financial commitments contained in the Kelowna Accord in order to address the critical socio-economic and infrastructure gaps suffered by First Nations.


The First Nations Leadership Council members were present in the BC Legislature today when a Special Statement on the New Relationship with Aboriginal People was tabled by Premier Campbell. The statement reaffirmed the BC Government’s commitment to the implementation of the Kelowna Accord and BC Transformative Change Accord. The statement also calls on the federal government to make available the long term financial resources necessary to uphold the honour of the Crown in addressing the disparate socio-economic conditions faced by First Nations.


The BC First Nations Leadership Council released the attached open letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, The Hon. Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance and The Hon. Jim Prentice, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. The letter is in direct response to this week’s Federal Budget announcement which has provided a clear indication that the federal government is not willing to address the third world living conditions in Aboriginal communities by funding the commitments contained in the Kelowna Accord.


The First Nations Leadership Council’s open letter to Prime Minister Harper makes the following recommendations:


    * Your government uphold the honour of the Crown and fulfill the commitments made by Canada, provinces, territories and Aboriginal organizations made in the Kelowna Accord.

    * Your government amend the 2006 federal budget to include, at a minimum, the financial commitments set out in the Kelowna Accord (see enclosure);

    * A First Ministers’ Meeting on Aboriginal Issues be convened to address First Nations-Crown relations, fiscal imbalances faced by First Nations governments, Aboriginal and treaty rights in Canada, and federal government responsibilities and legal obligations to provide services to First Nations peoples;

    * First Nations/Aboriginal peoples be fully represented in the federal/provincial/territorial Finance Ministers’ meeting to be held in the spring to consult on the federal government’s discussion paper, Restoring Fiscal Balance in Canada,

    * The full involvement and representation of Aboriginal peoples at the First Ministers’ Meeting to be held in the fall. 


-30-


The First Nations Leadership Council is comprised of the political executives of the First Nations Summit, Union of BC Indian Chiefs and the BC Assembly of First Nations. The Council works together to politically represent the interests of First Nations in British Columbia and develop strategies and actions to bring about significant and substantive changes to government policy that will benefit all First Nations in British Columbia.


For more information:

Chief Stewart Phillip, UBCIC (250) 490-5314

Grand Chief Edward John, FNS (604) 219-1705

Heather Gillies, BC AFN (604)837-6908



May 4, 2006


Right Honourable Stephen Harper

Prime Minister of Canada

House of Commons

Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6


Hon. Jim Flaherty

Minister of Finance

House of Commons

Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6


Hon. Jim Prentice

Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

House of Commons

Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6


Dear Honourable Ministers,


The BC Assembly of First Nations, First Nations Summit, and Union of BC Indian Chiefs – together representing 203 First Nations in British Columbia and approximately 1/3 of the First Nations in Canada – are extremely disappointed with your government’s commitments to Aboriginal peoples in the 2006 federal budget. Honourable Jim Prentice, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development made many public commitments to “put wheels on the Kelowna Accord,” and yet, your government has chosen not to uphold the honour of the Crown. Your government has reneged on this historic multi-government agreement, and has proceeded to unilaterally implement its own plan to address our issues without any consultations with us.


For the past two years, Aboriginal issues have finally been an important priority on the national agenda, including a First Ministers’ Meeting on Aboriginal Issues, which resulted in a significant ten-year plan to address the third world conditions in our communities. In this budget and recent Throne Speech, it is clear that Aboriginal issues are not a priority for your government.


The funds announced in your budget will do very little to remedy chronic under-funding or the crushing poverty and appalling socio-economic conditions of First Nations communities. True recognition, reconciliation and social justice with respect to lands, territories and resources, as well as and social and economic programs, are becoming even more distant goals.


Contrary to what your government has publicly indicated, the previous federal government confirmed that it had “booked” the Kelowna financial commitments in its fiscal framework. These were targeted to address critical socio-economic and infrastructure gaps as identified in the Kelowna Accord. The Kelowna Accord was the result of a collaborative process among the Government of Canada, provincial and territorial governments, and Aboriginal organizations across Canada, over the course of many months, to set out a long-term action plan to close the gap in standards of living of Aboriginal peoples. Your government has abandoned this Accord and your budget reflects only a fraction of the financial commitments already committed by the Government of Canada to help improve the quality of life for First Nations and Aboriginal Canadians.


Your government has committed to addressing the fiscal imbalance with the provinces, yet this budget does nothing to address the fiscal imbalance faced by First Nations governments. Spending on First Nations programs has been capped at 2% for the past ten years, and is far outpaced by rapid population growth and rising costs. Furthermore, the federal government has continued to offload both services and service delivery responsibilities to First Nations governments without requisite financial supports. We note also the commitment to offload services to provincial governments without consultation with, or the consent of, those governments or First Nations.


The federal government stated its intent to consult with provinces, territories and Aboriginal leaders to “develop a new approach”. The BC Assembly of First Nations, First Nations Summit, and Union of BC Indian Chiefs support the “new approach” that was jointly developed over many months with provincial and federal governments, which culminated in the Kelowna Accord. In fact, in British Columbia, we have already created this new approach through the signing of the Transformative Change Accord by the Government of Canada, the Province of British Columbia and BC First Nations (represented by the BC Assembly of First Nations, the First Nations Summit, and the Union of BC Indian Chiefs).


Your government has stated that its new Aboriginal policy is to be based on “accountability and taking responsibility”. We strongly suggest that your government do the same, and uphold the honour of the Crown by fulfilling its commitments in the Kelowna Accord, and work with us in British Columbia to implement these commitments through the Transformative Change Accord.


The BC Assembly of First Nations, First Nations Summit and Union of BC Indian Chiefs recommend the following:


    * Your government uphold the honour of the Crown and fulfill the commitments made by Canada, provinces, territories and Aboriginal organizations made in the Kelowna Accord.

    * Your government amend the 2006 federal budget to include, at a minimum, the financial commitments set out in the Kelowna Accord (see enclosure);

    * A First Ministers’ Meeting on Aboriginal Issues be convened to address First Nations-Crown relations, fiscal imbalances faced by First Nations governments, Aboriginal and treaty rights in Canada, and federal government responsibilities and legal obligations to provide services to First Nations peoples;

    * First Nations/Aboriginal peoples be fully represented in the federal/provincial/territorial Finance Ministers’ meeting to be held in the spring to consult on the federal government’s discussion paper, Restoring Fiscal Balance in Canada,

    * The full involvement and representation of Aboriginal peoples at the First Ministers’ Meeting to be held in the fall. 


We await your positive response to this letter.


Yours truly,


FIRST NATIONS LEADERSHIP COUNCIL


On behalf of the FIRST NATIONS SUMMIT:

Grand Chief Edward John

Grand Chief Doug Kelly

Dave Porter


On behalf of the UNION OF BC INDIAN CHIEFS

Chief Stewart Phillip

Chief Robert Shintah

Chief Mike Retasket


On behalf of the BC ASSEMBLY OF FIRST NATIONS:

Regional Chief A-in-chut (Shawn Atleo)


Encl.

cc. Hon. Gordon Campbell, Premier of British Columbia

Hon. Carole Taylor, Minister of Finance

Hon. Tom Christensen, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation

Carole James, Leader of the Opposition

Bill Graham, Leader of the Opposition

Jack Layton, New Democratic Party Leader

Gilles Duceppe, Bloc Quebecois Party Leader

Anita Neville, Liberal Critic – Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Dick Harris, BC Conservative Party Caucus Chair

Jean Crowder, NDP Critic – Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Marc Lemay, BQ Critic – Indian Affairs and Northern Development

National Chief Phil Fontaine, Assembly of First Nations

Jose Kusugak, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami

Clément Chartier, Métis National Council

Patrick Brazeau, Congress of Aboriginal Peoples

Beverly Jacobs, President, Native Women’s Association of Canada

Hon. Ralph Klein, Premier of Alberta

Hon. Lorne Calvert, Premier of Saskatchewan

Hon. Gary Doer, Premier of Manitoba

Hon. Dalton McGuinty, Premier of Ontario

Hon. Jean Charest, Premier of Quebec

Hon. Danny Williams, Premier of Newfoundland/Labrador

Hon. Patrick Binns, Premier of Prince Edward Island

Hon. Rodney MacDonald, Premier of Nova Scotia

Hon. Bernard Lord, Premier of New Brunswick

Hon. Dennis Fentie, Premier of Yukon Territory

Hon. Joe Handley, Premier of the Northwest Territories 


- - - - - - -

May 2, 2006


Conservative government shows true colors; "displays wooden heart to match wooden smile


Ottawa - ILiberal Indian Affairs Critic Anita Neville expressed shock that Prime Minister Stephen Harper has broken his election commitment to Canada's Aboriginal People by not including full funding for the Kelowna Accord in his first budget.


"This Prime Minister, through the comments of the current Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs, made a promise to the First Nations of Canada during the election campaign. By not living up to that promise he has made a mockery of the honour of the crown," said Ms. Neville.


Ms. Neville is referring to the comment made by then Indian Affairs critic Jim Prentice on the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network that outlined his party's support for Kelowna. During the campaign the then critic said, "I am the party's spokesman on the Kelowna Accord, and let's be perfectly clear. We are supportive of Kelowna; we are supportive of the targets and objectives that were set at Kelowna."


"There is absolutely no reason for Prime Minister Harper and the Conservative government to renege on this agreement. The landmark accord has the support of all 13 of the First Ministers, the Aboriginal leadership, and the Government of Canada. Thanks to 13 years of sound Liberal fiscal policies, he and his government have inherited the healthiest fiscal situation of any incoming government since Confederation. This government has enough money to honour its commitments."


In the weeks leading up to the budget, Aboriginal leaders had made it clear that they wanted a commitment from the government to honour the $5.1 billion Kelowna Accord., said Neville.


"Instead they got a mere 20 per cent of the funding promised through the Kelowna Accord."


The Kelowna Accord called for $600 million in housing, $1.3 billion in health funding and $400 million committed for safe drinking water. By not honouring the Accord - and by withholding these funds, the Prime Minister is ignoring Aboriginal Canadians, and confirming the worst fears that Aboriginal people had about him.


"Mr. Harper likes to portray himself and his party as the champion of government accountability. What he fails to understand is that accountability is a two-way street. It does not just exist to serve at the convenience of the Conservative party. By not fully funding the Kelowna Accord, Mr. Harper is showing that his accountability measures are really only selective accountability measures. He has shamefully decided to adopt an adversarial, if not outright hostile relationship between the federal government and First Nations Governments."

- - - - - - -

Open Letter to Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs Jim Prentice

March 22, 2006
The Honourable Jim Prentice, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and
Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians
Room 407, Confederation Building
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON
K1A 0A6

Dear Minister:

A series of recent media reports leave the impression that you may doubt whether the previous Liberal government actually committed the money that would be necessary - just over $5 billion over five years - to implement the "Kelowna Accords" with respect to Canada's Aboriginal peoples.

This commitment is so fundamental, it is vital to dispel any such doubt.

As the federal Minister of Finance at the time of the Kelowna First Ministers' Meeting involving the Prime Minister, all provincial/territorial Premiers and the leaders of five national Aboriginal organizations, I can confirm that as of that meeting (November 24th, 2005) the fiscal framework of the Government of Canada included a total of $5.096 billion to address obligations arising from what came to be known as the "Kelowna Accords".

The Kelowna meeting was the culmination of more than 18 months of hard work - led by former Prime Minister Martin in collaboration with Aboriginal organizations and all provincial and territorial governments - to put together a serious plan to bridge unacceptable socio-economic gaps between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians. The resulting Accords focused on issues related to health, education, housing and water, economic development and governance.

In the government's 2005 Economic and Fiscal Update, issued on November 14th, the importance of the then-upcoming Kelowna meeting was specifically mentioned, together with an undertaking to provide the needed financing. There was more than enough unused fiscal room in our framework to accommodate the expected sum. When the Kelowna meeting actually took place (10 days later), the money was booked - $5.096 billion.

The fiscal treatment of the Kelowna Accords was quite similar to how we handled special federal funding of $755 million to help grain and oilseed producers in the farm sector. In both cases, formal announcements were not ready to be made at the time of the November 14th Fiscal Update, but both were signalled in that Update and flexibility was built into our framework to cover the anticipated expenses. By November 24th, both initiatives had become ready to go, announcements were made, and the money for both was booked.

I am pleased that your government has proceeded with our $755 million commitment to help farmers. In that same spirit, it is important that you also follow through on our parallel commitment to Aboriginal peoples - delivering the funding that was most certainly set aside for this compelling purpose on November 24th.

Thank you for your attention.

Yours sincerely,
Ralph Goodale


January 11, 2006


Assembly of First Nations National Chief Responds to Conflicting Statements by Conservative MPs Regarding First Ministers Meeting Agreements: Calls on Leader to Clarify Party Position


Assembly of First Nations National Chief Phil Fontaine responded today to conflicting and confusing statements by Conservative Party MPs as to whether they will honour agreements made to First Nations at last November’s First Ministers Meeting on Aboriginal Issues. Conservative MP Monte Solberg said on January 9th that the party would not honour any of the agreements, then on January 10th Conservative MP Jim Prentice said the party would honour the Kelowna agreements. At a news conference this morning, MP Solberg stated again that the Conservative Party would not honour the agreements but that he also was not contradicting MP Prentice.


“It appears that the Conservative Party cannot agree on who is calling the shots, let alone on their plan for the future,” said National Chief Phil Fontaine.  “This is a serious concern for First Nations and all Canadians because there is no indication of a strategic approach to the First Nations agenda. First Nations put forward a comprehensive plan at the First Ministers Meeting, which is now in place. We are prepared to work together with the next federal government, including the provinces and territories to review this plan and continue developing a shared vision that is backed by solid commitments that meet or exceed the $5.1 billion dollar targets over the next five years.”


Conservative MP Solberg stated in a radio interview with CJWW in Saskatchewan that: “(The) Kelowna (First Ministers Meeting) Agreement is something that they crafted at the last moment on the back of a napkin on the eve of an election. We're not going to honour that.  We will have our own plan that will help natives a lot more than the Liberals.”  Conservative MP Jim Prentice stated the next day on APTN that:  “…I am the party spokesman on the Kelowna accord and let’s be perfectly clear for the viewers of your network. We are supportive of Kelowna. We are supportive of the targets and objectives that were set at Kelowna.”


The National Chief called on Conservative Party Leader Stephen Harper to clarify the matter.


“All parties came out of the First Ministers Meeting with a plan to close the gap in the quality of life between First Nations and Canadians within ten years,” stated the National Chief, “We must begin now and we must not renege on this historic agreement. If the Conservative Party has a plan of their own, then clearly it was not developed with any input from First Nations and we are concerned that there will be yet another attempt to impose solutions on us.  This colonial approach has failed repeatedly with disastrous impacts on our communities.  We call on the Conservative leader to clarify the party position, and to make a clear commitment to the agreements reached in Kelowna and to the resources required to start a new path to progress and prosperity.”


“We view our agreements from the First Ministers Meeting as agreements with the Government of Canada, not any one party. Why would the Conservatives want to walk away from a historic agreement that has been endorsed by First Nations, Aboriginal leaders and Premiers and Territorial Leaders? The lives of our people, the well-being of our children and the future of this country must be above partisan politics.”


The National Chief also took offense to MP Solberg’s characterization of the agreements as being hastily written “on the back of a napkin”.


“That statement is an insult to all First Nations who worked diligently for more than a year and a half to craft a comprehensive plan for a new agenda and a new approach,” said the National Chief. “It is also a slight to all First Ministers that worked with us to build consensus and support across party lines to get real movement on our agenda.”



- - - - - - -



"More than $5 billion over the next five years to close the gap"


The First Ministers and First Nations, Métis and Inuit leaders committed

over five billion dollars to plans in education, health, housing and economic

opportunities, as well as offering a commitment to developing increased

opportunity for self-government . . .


Now what?


- - - - - - -


NEWS RELEASE


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

NAN SUPPORTIVE OF ANNOUNCEMENTS OF FIRST MINISTERS MEETING


November 28, 2005


Thunder Bay, ON: Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Stan Beardy today announced he welcomes initiatives set out by Prime Minister Paul Martin, provincial Premiers, and National Aboriginal leaders at the First Ministers Meeting in Kelowna last week while looking forward to pursuing future initiatives based on treaty rights and entitlement.


“Our greatest accomplishment at the First Ministers Meeting was getting issues specific and imperative to Nishnawbe Aski territory on the agenda,” said NAN Grand Chief Stan Beardy who met with Assembly of First Nations National Chief Phil Fontaine prior to his opening statements last Thursday.


“The statistics of successful youth suicides among our 49 First Nation communities is unfortunately reaching a record for the past five years, as NAN is dealing with its 23rd suicide of 2005 – almost one suicide a week for the past five weeks. More resources for a long-term prevention strategy are required.”


As announced Friday afternoon, First Ministers and National Aboriginal leaders agreed to take immediate action to improve the quality of life for Aboriginal Canadians in the areas of health, education, housing, and relationships.


The progress of a 10 year commitment to closing the gap in the quality of life between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians will be measured by broad indicators in education, housing, and health.


“We support the principles outlined at the meeting and look forward to working with both levels of government to begin to close the gap,” said Beardy of the following guide to how the parties will work together.


· recognizing and respecting the diverse and unique history, traditions, cultures and rights of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada including the Indian, Inuit, and Metis peoples of Canada, by adopting a distinctions-based approach


· Addressing the differing circumstances of Aboriginal peoples in all regions and communities regardless of place of residence (on reserves or settlements, in rural or urban areas, or northern Arctic regions) or legal status under the Indian Act


· Working collaboratively with First Nations, Inuit, and Metis women to address their needs through their participation in the development of culturally – relevant policies and programs that affect Aboriginal peoples


· Working collaboratively with First Nations, Inuit, and Metis in an inclusive manner on policy and program development to ensure that their interests are appropriately reflected in


· programs and services that affect all Aboriginal peoples, as well as, where appropriate, engaging Aboriginal service delivery organizations


· Respecting existing bilateral, tripartite and multilateral agreements and processes


· Respecting regional differences


· Being accountable and reporting regularly to their respective constituencies on achieving progress through agreed-upon culturally relevant indicators and targets, at regional and national levels, as appropriate


Enhancing economic opportunities was also declared a key priority for multilateral action.


“The people of Nishnawbe Aski will benefit from the continuation of meaningful discussions with the province and Canada regarding a Northern Strategy whereby our First Nation communities will participate in local, regional, and national economies,” said Beardy.


- - - - - - -


The Assembly of First Nations and the Government of Canada agree to move forward with FMM commitments by endorsing a First Nations implementation plan


OTTAWA, Nov. 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 Communiqué 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."


-30-


For further information: Don Kelly, Assembly of First Nations,

(613) 241-6789, ext. 320; Campbell Morrison, Press Secretary, Minister Andy Scott's Office, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, (819) 997-0002; This release is also available at www.ainc-inac.gc.ca and www.afn.ca./


- - - - - - -


The First Nations Leadership Council is pleased to announce that at the conclusion of the First Ministers meeting in Kelowna they were able to secure a made in BC tripartite Transformative Change Accord. The attached accord was signed by Prime Minister Martin, Premier Campbell and the members of the Leader Council at the conclusion of the First Ministers Meeting.


The Leadership Council will review the document with First Nations in the coming weeks.


Transformative Change Accord


-between-


Government of British Columbia


-and-


Government of Canada


-and-


The Leadership Council


Representing the First Nations of British Columbia


The Government of British Columbia, First Nations and the Government of Canada agree that new approaches for addressing the rights and title interests of First Nations are required if First Nations are to be full partners in the success and opportunity of the province.


At the First Ministers' Meeting on Aboriginal issues on November 24th/25th, 2005, First Ministers and Aboriginal Leaders committed to strengthening relationships on a government-to-government basis, and on focussing efforts to close the gap in the areas of education, health, housing and economic opportunities.


This accord respects the agreement reached on November 25th and sets out how the parties intend to implement it in British Columbia.


Two important documents preceded the First Ministers' Meeting:


First Nations - Federal Crown Political Accord - on the Recognition and Implementation of First Nations Governments signed in May 2005

The New Relationship - A vision document setting out an initial work plan to move toward reconciliation of Aboriginal and Crown Titles and Jurisdictions within British Columbia

The goals in each document continue to be pursued and the understandings reached in both serve as the foundation for this tripartite accord.


The purpose of this Accord is to bring together the Government of British Columbia, First Nations and the Government of Canada to achieve the goals of closing the social and economic gap between First Nations and other British Columbians over the next 10 years, of reconciling aboriginal rights and title with those of the Crown, and of establishing a new relationship based upon mutual respect and recognition.


The Accord acknowledges and respects established and evolving jurisdictional and fiduciary relationships and responsibilities, and will be implemented in a manner that seeks to remove impediments to progress by establishing effective working relationships.


The actions and processes set out herein are guided by the following principles.


Recognition that aboriginal and treaty rights exist in British Columbia.

Belief that negotiations are the chosen means for reconciling rights.

Requirement that consultation and accommodation obligations are met and fulfilled.

Ensure that First Nations engage in consultation and accommodation, and provide consent when required, freely and with full information.

Acknowledgement and celebration of the diverse histories and traditions of First Nations.

Understanding that a new relationship must be based on mutual respect and responsibility.

Recognition that this agreement is intended to support social and economic well-being of First Nations.

Recognition that accountability for results is critical.

Respect for existing bilateral and tripartite agreements.

The parties to this Accord acknowledge the importance of First Nations' governance in supporting healthy communities. Actions set out in this Accord and in subsequent action plans will reflect this reality.


The parties understand that new resources will be required to close the gaps and federal and provincial investments on and off reserve will be made available pursuant to the decisions taken at the November 2005 First Ministers' Meeting. The parties also recognize the need to examine how existing resources are expended with the view that transformative change will require different funding approaches.


The Province of British Columbia, the Government of Canada and the First Nations of British Columbia agree to establish a 10 year plan to bridge the differences in socio-economic standards between First Nation citizens and other British Columbians. It is understood that a 10 ten year plan must by necessity evolve over time, and that concrete actions are required at its outset to build the relationships and momentum to achieve the desired outcome.


Accordingly, the parties to this Accord agree to undertake immediate actions in the following areas:


To improve relationships by:


Supporting a tripartite negotiation forum to address issues having to do with the reconciliation of Aboriginal rights and title;

Engaging in the review and renewal of claims, treaty implementation and self-government policies;

Holding an annual meeting of political leaders intended to jointly discuss issues of mutual concern, report on progress and plan ongoing action; and,

Developing and implementing a communications plan to increase public awareness of the diversity and value of First Nations cultures, including support for the 2008 North American Indigenous Games

Possible Indicators include:


Concluded Treaties and other agreements

Increased awareness by the public of diversity and value of First Nation cultures



To close the gap in education by:


Concluding a tripartite agreement on First Nation jurisdiction over K-12 education;

Supporting First Nation learners;

Focusing resources on early childhood learning and post-secondary training, including skills, training and apprenticeships; and,

Creating a high quality learning environment for First Nation students through curriculum development, teacher certification and the early detection of, and response to, learning disabilities.

Possible Indicators include:


First Nations children exhibiting readiness for Kindergarten.

Aboriginal students meeting expectations in reading, writing and numeracy (Foundation Skills Assessment).

K-12 (or Dogwood equivalent) completion rates .

Aboriginal students enrolled in post-secondary education (alternatively "highest level of education attained").

Number of First Nation teachers.

K - 12 curriculum modules.

To close the gap in housing and infrastructure by:


Building on-reserve housing units.

Developing a partnering agreement to address off-reserve housing.

Exploring the devolution and development of Aboriginal off-reserve housing units to an aboriginal housing authority.

Supporting capacity development in the area of housing, including building maintenance and standards, and training and employment having to do with housing construction;

Undertaking measures to ensure the safety of water supply;

Improving other basic infrastructure such as wastewater systems, roads and fire protection;

Undertaking comprehensive community planning; and,

Providing broadband connectivity to First Nation communities.

Possible Indicators include:


First Nation households in core housing.

First Nations people trained in construction and maintenance of housing and related infrastructure.

Number of Aboriginal subsidized housing units .

Number of on-reserve and off-reserve housing units built.

On-reserve boil water advisories.

First Nation communities with broadband access.

To close the gap in health by[1]:


Establishing mental health programs to address substance abuse and youth suicide;

Integrating the ActNow strategy with First Nations health programs to reduce incidence of preventable diseases like diabetes;

Establishing tripartite pilot programs in the Northern Health Authority and the Lytton Health Centre to improve acute care and community health services utilizing an integrated approach to health and community programs as directed by the needs of First Nations; and,

Increasing the number of trained First Nation health care professionals.

Possible Indicators include:


Increased life expectancy.

Age standardized mortality rates.

Youth suicides.

Infant (up to one year) and neonatal (up to 28 days) mortality rates.

Level of incidence of diabetes.

Level of childhood obesity.

Practising, certified First Nation health care professionals.

To close the gap in economic opportunities by:


Providing increased access to lands and resources through interim measures;

Considering the implementation of revenue sharing arrangements;

Holding a provincial summit on economic development; and,

Supporting First Nations business and entrepreneurial development by increasing access to business training, and skills development and considering ways to facilitate greater access to capital funding sources.

Possible Indicators include:


Employment rates.

Average weekly and hourly wage levels (LFS data).

Business start ups.

Number of entrepreneurs in BC.

First Nation registered apprentices.


The Parties agree that by December, 2006 a detailed tripartite implementation strategy will be developed laying out specific actions and building upon a shared commitment to undertake as many initiatives as possible in year one of the 10 year plan (2006 - 2016). The Parties understand the collective responsibility for reporting on the progress of closing the socio-economic gaps that exist between First Nations people and other British Columbians. Accordingly, resources will be focussed towards developing the data and information necessary to appropriately monitor and report on agreed upon action plans. Canada, British Columbia and the First Nations of British Columbia agree that regular public reports are necessary. Data collection will respect the privacy of individuals.


For greater certainty, nothing in this agreement shall be construed so as to abrogate or derogate from the protection of any existing or future Aboriginal or treaty rights of the First Nations peoples of British Columbia.


Signed this 25th day of November, 2005.



[ORIGINAL SIGNED]


Canada


Rt. Honourable Paul Martin



Province of British Columbia


Honourable Gordon Campbell



First Nations Leadership Council


Representing the BC Assembly of First Nations:


Regional Chief Shawn Atleo



Representing the First Nations Summit:


Grand Chief Edward John


Grand Chief Doug Kelly


Dave Porter


Representing the Union of BC Indian Chiefs:


Chief Stewart Phillip


Chief Robert Shintah


Chief Mike Retasket


[1] BC First Nations will be supported in the health actions by the direction and contribution from the Assembly of First Nations.


- - - - - - -

November 26, 2005

"We must now focus on implementing our plan as put forward by First Nations. Government will not be implementing this plan, ultimately, that responsibility will fall on our shoulders and we are ready for the challenge."

Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief John Beaucage.


"This must lead to greater priority being placed on distinct economic development measures as discussions continue in the weeks and months to come. We may not get another chance like this for a long time to come."

Marty L. Klyne, Chairperson, National Aboriginal Economic Development Board.

- - - - - - -


Assembly of First Nations Applauds Commitment to the Future of First Nations at First Ministers Meeting in Kelowna, British Columbia


OTTAWA, Nov. 26, 2005


Assembly of First Nations National Chief Phil Fontaine today saluted federal, provincial and Aboriginal leaders for their overwhelming support and embrace of First Nations, Inuit and Métis initiatives at the First Ministers Meeting on Aboriginal Issues, held this week in Kelowna, British Columbia.


The National Chief highlighted the support for the AFN's ten-year plan to "close the gap" in quality of life between First Nations and the Canadian average by improving First Nations health, housing, access to education and economic opportunity, and opportunity for self-government.


"The fact that the Prime Minister and the First Ministers sat with the

First Peoples of this land to engage in a real discussion on our issues and

our agenda, our inherent Aboriginal and Treaty rights, is in itself historic,"

stated National Chief Fontaine. "But, more importantly, we are making history by taking the first steps towards creating a new Canada and forging a new Federation; a Federation where the First Peoples of this land enjoy the same quality of life as other Canadians; where we control the decisions that affect our lives; where we give life to the spirit and intent of the Treaties and full expression to our inherent rights."


The First Ministers and First Nations, Métis and Inuit leaders committed

over five billion dollars to plans in education, health, housing and economic

opportunities, as well as offering a commitment to developing increased

opportunity for self-government. The Assembly of First Nations will be

presenting specific First Nations implementation plans at upcoming meetings.


"This is not about more money and more spending, but about investing,"

stated the National Chief. "This is about creating a solid and stable

foundation for future growth and productivity. We will turn poverty into

prosperity, and turn Canada into a country where First Nations peoples and

cultures survive and thrive as First Nations citizens in the modern age. Today is about turning Canada into the kind of country that Canadians want it to be."


First Nations have called for a series of First Ministers Meetings to

develop and implement action plans to help eliminate First Nations poverty and to improve quality of life for Canada's First Peoples.


The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing

First Nations citizens in Canada.


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/For further information: Don Kelly, AFN Communications Director,

(613) 241-6789 ext. 320 or cell (613) 292-2787; Ian McLeod, AFN Bilingual

Communications Officer, (613) 241-6789 ext. 336 or cell (613) 859-4335; Nancy Pine, Communications Advisor, Office of the National Chief, (613) 241-6789 ext. 243 or cell (613) 298-6382/


MORE BACKGROUND FROM THE AFN

http://afn.ca/article.asp?id=1826


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NOVEMBER 26, 2005


Leaders now focus on implementing the First Ministers' agenda


Disappointment with Government of Ontario's approach


KELOWNA, BC

Nov. 26, 2005


Now that the First Ministers' Meeting is over and speculation of a New Year election looms, First Nations across Canada are moving their thoughts towards implementing the agenda agreed upon by Canada's First Ministers.


Grand Council Chief John Beaucage was the lead First Nations representative for Housing at the First Ministers' Meeting and has co-chaired both First Ministers' Working Group on Housing and Relationships.


"I am very pleased with the result of the First Ministers' meeting and in particular with the genuine resolve of Canada's First Ministers to work with First Nations towards a solutions-based approach to improving key social indicators in our communities," said Grand Council Chief John Beaucage, speaking from Kelowna, BC.


"We must now focus on implementing our plan as put forward by First Nations. Government will not be implementing this plan, ultimately, that responsibility will fall on our shoulders and we are ready for the challenge."


Specifically, Beaucage stated that the "new investment and agreement at the First Ministers' meeting was a significant beginning to improving living conditions in Canada's First Nations." Over $5 billion in new investments was announced as part of a national consensus to move forward in five areas: housing, health, life long learning, relationships and economic opportunity.


"This will certainly do a lot to improving the socio-economic situation of First Nations people across the country," said Beaucage. "However, that effort will have to be ongoing with continual vigilance to reviewing, assessing and monitoring key indicators in these areas. I applaud the commitment to an additional First Ministers' Meeting on aboriginal issues and the First Ministers' resolve to reviewing the progress for the duration of the strategy."


As the senior First Nations representative for Housing, Grand Council Chief Beaucage sat at the main table with the Prime Minister and the Premiers during that specific discussion in which $1.2 billion was agreed upon specifically for aboriginal housing. A new investment of $400 million was specifically committed to infrastructure in First Nations communities.


"Housing is one of the best examples of how First Nations have taken the lead in proposing a comprehensive 10-year strategy to improve First Nations housing in Canada, both on and off-reserve," said Grand Council Chief Beaucage. "These improvements include over 60,000 new housing starts in the next ten years."


The housing strategy also includes the development of a capital fund, a market-based housing approach, addressing the continued need for social housing, but also maintaining the status quo for those First Nations who cannot support or take advantage of these significant developments. First Nations will also made a significant 10-year proposal to administer these housing programs themselves.


"For decades, our leaders have called for solutions to address our housing crisis, to see fundamental change in programs and to lobby for a substantial increase in investment. These achievements are just on the horizon," he said.


When asked about the response from the Premiers, Grand Council Chief Beaucage commented that certain Premiers were stronger and more supportive of the plan than others, mentioning specifically Premier Gordon Campbell of British Columbia and Premier Gary Doer of Manitoba. He expressed disappointment in the remarks and participation of his own Premier Dalton McGuinty of Ontario.


"Some of our Chiefs were disappointed in the remarks of Mr. McGuinty, who could have shown a lot more strength and leadership with regards to the recognition of First Nations governance and position of implementing our aboriginal and treaty rights," said Grand Council Chief Beaucage.


More specifically, Beaucage was critical of the Government of Ontario's

"new relationship" which appears to lump First Nations, Métis, service providers and even certain illegitimate aboriginal interests into the decision-making process.


"The pan-aboriginal approach Ontario is taking does not respect the Nation-to-Nation relationship that is expected between the government and First Nations. This homogenous approach to implementing the First Ministers' agenda is not going to fly," added Beaucage.


First Nations and Métis leader have unanimously condemned this approach. Métis Nation of Ontario Tony Belcourt has also reinforced the same message to Premier McGuinty and Ontario Aboriginal Affairs Minister David Ramsay.


The Anishinabek Nation incorporated the Union of Ontario Indians as its secretariat in 1949. The UOI is a political advocate for 42 member First Nations across Ontario. The Union of Ontario Indians is the oldest political organization in Ontario and can trace its roots back to the Confederacy of Three Fires, which existed long before European contact.


CONTACT INFORMATION

Bob Goulais,

Executive Assistant to the Grand Council Chief,

Union of Ontario Indians

Primary Phone: 705-498-5250

Secondary Phone: 705-497-9128 ext. 2249

Toll-Free: 877-702-5200

E-mail: goubob@anishinabek.ca


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November 25, 2005


GOVERNMENT OF CANADA INVESTS IN IMMEDIATE ACTION TO IMPROVE LIVES OF ABORIGINAL PEOPLES IN CANADA


KELOWNA, B.C. - Prime Minister Paul Martin today announced more than $5 billion over the next five years to close the gap between Aboriginal peoples and other Canadians in education, health, housing and economic opportunities. The announcement was made at an historic meeting of First Ministers and Aboriginal Leaders that set out an ambitious plan of action.


"Our plan is built on a foundation of respect, accountability, and shared

responsibility," said the Prime Minister. "With this plan, we have made

an important step forward in honouring our commitment to close the gap in the quality of life that now exists between Aboriginal peoples and other

Canadians."


The Prime Minister outlined 5-year targets, within the 10-year plan to

ensure actions remain focused and accountable. First Ministers and

national Aboriginal leaders agreed that broad indicators will be used to

assess the progress of the Plan. In addition, more specific measures and

targets will be developed at regional and subregional levels.


The Prime Minister acknowledged the Assembly of First Nations for taking

the important step of proposing the establishment of a First Nations

Auditor General and an Ombudsman.


"We all need to make an on-going commitment to openness, transparency and good governance," added Prime Minister Martin. "The targets we set today must be tracked and measured constantly so that everyone involved in this process is accountable."


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PMO Press Office: (613) 957-5555

This document is also available at the following address: http://pm.gc.ca


Federal Investments


Education


K-12


Currently, 44 per cent of Aboriginal people aged 20 through 24 have less

than high school education. The comparative figure for Canada as a whole is 19 per cent.



The Government of Canada is committed to closing this gap, so that by

2016, the graduation rate for Aboriginal students will be on par with other Canadians. This means 22,000 more Aboriginal high school graduates

over the next 5 years and 110,000 more in 10 years.


To achieve this goal, the Government of Canada will invest:


- $1.05 billion over the next 5 years to promote education

innovation on-reserve, including assistance to establish a network of

First Nations school systems, with regional school authorities administered under First Nations jurisdictions and enhancements for First Nations basic education services; and,


- $150 million over the next 5 years for off-reserve initiatives within the public school system, including $50 million to improve education in the North.


Post-Secondary Education


In 2001, 23 per cent of Aboriginal peoples aged 18 to 29 reported having

completed their postsecondary education, compared to 43 per cent in the

rest of Canada.


The Government of Canada is committed to closing the gap by 50 per cent

in 10 years, meaning an increase of 14,800 post-secondary graduates over

the next 5 years and 37,000 more in 10 years.


To reach this goal, a $500 million investment over the next five years

will be made, including postsecondary education bursaries, scholarships

and apprenticeships. The Government of Canada will engage with

Aboriginal organizations and provinces and territories to determine how

best to target funding.


The Government of Canada will also undertake a review to identify more

initiatives that will help to close the overall post-secondary education gap.


Children


In order to prepare children for their school-age experience, the

Government of Canada will invest an additional $100 million over the next

five years in existing initiatives for urban, Métis and Northern Aboriginal children.


In total, the Government of Canada will invest a total of $1.8 billion

over the next five years in education initiatives at the early childhood,

kindergarten to grade 12 and post-secondary level.


Health


The incidence of infant mortality is almost 20 per cent higher than in the rest of Canada. Aboriginal people are three times more likely to have Type 2 diabetes. Suicide rates can be anywhere from 3 to 11 times more frequent- particularly among Inuit.


Targets have been established with Aboriginal leaders to reduce infant

mortality, youth suicide, childhood obesity and diabetes by 20 per cent

in five years, and 50 per cent in 10 years. The Government of Canada

committed to doubling the number of health professionals in 10 years from

the present level of 150 physicians and 1,200 nurses.



The Government of Canada will be guided by the historic Aboriginal Health

Blueprint as a national framework for investment and collaborative action.


The Government of Canada will invest $1.315 billion over the next five years:


- $870 million to stabilize the First Nation and Inuit Health

System; and,

- $445 million to promote transformation and to build capacity.


Housing and Infrastructure


On-reserve, the estimated housing shortage is 20,000 to 35-000 units, and

is growing by 2,200 units per year. Off-reserve, the core housing need is 76 per cent higher among Aboriginal households as compared to

non-Aboriginal households. In the North, housing needs are 130 per cent

higher among Aboriginal households compared to non-Aboriginal households.


On-reserve, the Government of Canada has set targets to reduce the

housing shortage by 40 per cent over the next five years and by 80 per

cent within 10 years.


Off-reserve, the Government of Canada will work with provinces and

territories to provide access to housing to approximately 17,000

households and close the gap by 50 per cent in five years and close the

gap entirely in 10 years.


In the North, the Government of Canada will help reduce the housing gap

by 35 per cent over the next five years and by 70 per cent in the next 10

years.


The Government of Canada will invest $1.6 billion over the next five years to support transformative change in housing:


- $600 million to support market-based approaches and the

transformation of social housing on-reserve;

- $300 million to support new federal/provincial/territorial

partnership agreements for Aboriginal housing off-reserve;

- $300 million for Northern housing partnerships; and,

- $400 million for water and other infrastructure as well as an

acceleration of the First Nations Water Management Strategy to regulate

water quality on reserves and work with First Nations communities to

ensure training for operators.


Special attention will go toward involving Aboriginal people in the

development of a strong and effective Aboriginal housing system that will

build Aboriginal capacity in areas such as land administration and housing and financial management.


Aboriginal housing assistance must focus on those in greatest housing need and on ensuring more Aboriginal women in need have access to safe

and suitable housing, while at the same time removing barriers, building

capacity and providing incentives for the development of market-based

housing approaches.


Economic Opportunities


The unemployment rate among Aboriginal peoples is 19.1 per cent, while

the national rate is 7.4 per cent. On reserves, the unemployment rate is

about 29 per cent, four times the Canadian unemployment rate. The median employment income for Aboriginal Canadians is $16,000, while the average for non-Aboriginal Canadians is $25,000.


The Government of Canada will work to increase Aboriginal employment

levels by 30 per cent over the next five years and by 50 per cent within

10 years. The Government of Canada has also set a target to narrow the

gap in median employment income by half within 5 years. The Government of Canada will also bring broadband access to an additional 250 communities within 10 years.


As part of its strategy to achieve these goals, the Government of Canada

will invest $200 million over the next five years in the following:


- $12 million toward accelerating the regulatory regime under the

First Nations Commercial and Industrial Development Act for commercial

and industrial activities; and,

- $188 million for Economic Development Framework initiatives.


Relationships and Accountability


The Government of Canada recognized the importance of respecting the

differences among First Nations, Inuit and Métis and of including each

group as appropriate in policy development going forward. The inclusion

of Aboriginal women was also underlined.


Participants also agreed that the expertise of Aboriginal service delivery organizations should be used wherever possible as they are oftenthe first and primary contact for Aboriginal people seeking to access public services.


In recognition of this, the Government of Canada will invest $170 million

over the next five years:


- $90 million to national and regional Aboriginal organizations to

assist them in enhancing their core capacity to work with governments in

policy development and other initiatives;

- $60 million for the development of indicators and accountability; and,

- $20 million for engagement on renewal of Land Claim and

Self-Government policies.


Recognizing the unique circumstances in the North, the Government of

Canada will ensure that First Nations, Inuit and Métis people living in

Yukon, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories benefit from the new

investments announced today.


Today's new funding, builds on previous investments by the Government of Canada in areas of urgent need for Aboriginal Canadians, including more than $1.4 billion confirmed in Budget 2005 and more than $2 billion from recent announcements including:


- $700 million for healthcare;


- $345 million for Aboriginal Children and Youth (First Nations

Child and Family Services, Special Education and Early Learning and

Childcare);

- $340 million to strengthen Aboriginal social foundations

(Aboriginal Healing Foundation, Aboriginal Languages and Culture and

Aboriginal Housing);

- $50 million for relationships (Powley Strategy; PSE Scholarships

and the Inuit Secretariat);

- $62.5 million as the First Nations share of the gas tax;

- $100 million investment for Broadband for Rural and Northern

Development; and,

- $2.2 billion including compensation for the direct benefit of

former students and funding for healing and commemoration in an Agreement in Principle toward a fair and lasting resolution of the legacy of Indian Residential schools.


- - - - - - -


The Government of Canada announces $1.2B in Aboriginal Housing


KELOWNA, BC, Nov. 25, 2005


The Honourable Joe Fontana, Minister of Labour and Housing, stated today that he was honoured to be part of the meeting of First Ministers and National Aboriginal Leaders. Today's announcement of $1.2 billion will ensure that essential housing will continue to be made available to the most vulnerable in society, and $300 million of these funds is for the North.


The Government of Canada (GOC) is committed to strengthening its

relationship with First Nations, Métis and Inuit people, by working with them

towards transforming the Aboriginal housing system.


"This is a historic milestone for Aboriginal peoples and an important step for Aboriginal housing. The Government of Canada is committed to working with Aboriginal leaders, provinces, territories, and housing providers in order to improve the living conditions of Aboriginal peoples. This investment will support and develop capacity in Aboriginal groups to help them achieve sustainable housing," said Minister Fontana.


"Safe, adequate and suitable housing will help Aboriginal peoples

including Aboriginal women in their transitions to self-sufficiency. That is

why we are providing funding for on-and off-reserve housing, including funding especially targeted to the North," said Minister Ethel Blondin Andrew, Minister of State (Northern Development).


For more information about the Government of Canada's National

Homelessness Initiative and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, visit our Web sites at www.homelessness.gc.ca or www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca



BACKGROUNDER ON ABORIGINAL HOUSING


The federal government provides a range of assistance to support the

development of Aboriginal housing in Canada. Through Indian and Northern Affairs Canada and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, the Government of Canada spends an estimated $261 million per year on meeting on-reserve housing needs. The 2005 federal budget committed an additional $295 million over five years for housing on-reserve, while longer-term solutions are developed together with Aboriginal peoples.


In addition, the Government of Canada invests about $163 million per year

to support the housing needs of Aboriginal households in urban, rural and

remote areas.


The Government of Canada is committed to working with Aboriginal leaders, the provinces and territories, and housing providers to improve the living conditions of Aboriginal people. Housing is the foundation for strong and healthy communities. Together with health, education and a strong economy, housing is a key element in Canadians' quality of life.


Aboriginal people face special challenges in finding adequate, suitable

and affordable housing. In addition, there is an increasing need for more

housing: Aboriginal people are the fastest-growing segment of Canada's

population, with more than half the population under the age of 25.


On-Reserve Housing


Overcrowding and inadequate housing are of particular concern on-reserve, where there is a current housing shortage of between 20,000 and 35,000 units. The shortfall is growing by an estimated 2,200 units a year. The limited supply of housing not only leads to unhealthy, overcrowded conditions but it also accelerates the depreciation of the housing stock. It affects the health and well-being of Aboriginal people living on-reserve.


The 2005 federal Budget includes an additional $295 million over five

years. The funding will address current on-reserve housing shortages through the servicing of 5,400 building lots and the construction of about

6,400 additional new units. It will also improve housing conditions on-reserve through renovating another 1,500 units of the existing housing stock.


Ongoing funding of $123 million a year through Canada Mortgage and

Housing Corporation (CMHC) and $138 million a year through Indian and Northern Affairs Canada helps to build about 2,300 new housing units on-reserve, repair about 3,300 housing units on-reserve and support other activities such as maintenance, insurance and administration. CMHC provides subsidies for about 25,000 existing units of assisted housing on-reserve. CMHC also invests in Aboriginal capacity development in housing, by providing funding for activities related to training and knowledge transfer, as well as research and information sharing. CMHC's On-Reserve Non-Profit Housing Program assists First Nations in the construction, purchase and rehabilitation, and administration of quality housing for Aboriginal people on-reserve.


CMHC is encouraging more home ownership on-reserve through mortgage loan insurance, using alternative financing mechanisms to promote access to private financing for home ownership on-reserve.


Off-Reserve Housing


For Aboriginal people living off-reserve, low incomes continue to affect

their ability to find adequate, suitable and affordable housing. In 2001,

nearly 24 percent of non-reserve First Nations, Métis and Inuit households

were in core housing need (households that fall below one or more of the

adequacy, suitability or affordability standards and cannot find local rental

housing to meet all three standards), compared with 13.5 percent of non-

Aboriginal households. The shortage of housing means many Aboriginal people with low incomes live in temporary housing with family or friends, often experiencing frequent moves from one housing situation to another. This transient lifestyle often puts Aboriginal people at higher risk of

homelessness.


Aboriginal homelessness continues to be a serious issue in many Canadian

cities. The rate of homelessness among Aboriginal people is alarmingly high compared with that for other Canadians. With an investment of $45 million over three years, the National Homelessness Initiative (NHI) continues to address the unique needs of the Aboriginal population through its Urban Aboriginal Homelessness (UAH) component.


The UAH program is designed to meet the needs of homeless Aboriginal

people through culturally sensitive services and community-driven strategies. It works in partnership with the Urban Aboriginal Strategy (UAS) to provide services to improve the well-being of urban Aboriginal people.


Both the UAH and UAS programs work with Aboriginal organizations and

other partners to find local solutions to the complex issues facing Aboriginal

people. UAH and the UAS together support integrated community planning and support projects in twelve Canadian cities. Aboriginal people living off-reserve can also access funding through the Affordable Housing Initiative,

as well as housing renovation programs delivered through CMHC or its

provincial and territorial partners.


Housing in the North


In the North, there is a critical need for more affordable housing. Due

to high unemployment rates and high construction and operating costs, a large portion of the northern population relies on assisted housing. In 2001,

16.8 percent of Inuit households were overcrowded and in core housing need compared with 1.9 percent of non-Aboriginal households. The Inuit population's young average age and high birth rate mean numbers of families and households are growing rapidly, putting increasing pressure on the current housing stock.


The Government of Canada is providing $120 million over three years to

help achieve the objectives of the Northern Strategy, which include creating housing that is suitable, adequate and affordable.


The Government of Canada also provides $10 million a year (estimated

provincial amount equivalent to the federal contribution) for housing

construction in Nunavik, with Quebec subsidizing the difference between rent and operating costs for a period of 20 years.


Nunavut will receive a one-time contribution of $20 million through the

Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund for the construction of social housing.


Aboriginal people in the North can also access funding through the

Affordable Housing Initiative, as well as housing renovation programs offered through CMHC and/or its provincial and territorial partners.


For more information on the Government of Canada's NHI, visit

http://www.homelessness.gc.ca


For more information on RRAP and other CMHC initiatives, visit

www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca


For more information on UAS, visit www.inac.gc.ca


November 2005


For further information: Public inquiries: Sylvie Landry, Labour and

Homelessness Communications, (819) 994-1197; CMHC, 1-800-668-2642; Christine Choury, Media Relations, CMHC, (613) 742-5344; Media inquiries: Peter Graham, Director of Communications, Office of the Minister of Labour and Housing, (819) 953-5646


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Statement by Marty L. Klyne - Chairperson, National Aboriginal Economic Development Board


First Ministers' meeting with aboriginal leaders


KELOWNA, BC, Nov. 25, 2005


The issues discussed over the past two days are critical to the wealth and well being of Aboriginal peoples, and to the fabric and future of Canada. I was particularly pleased by the inclusion of Economic Opportunities as an area of discussion at this forum, and although the time available was very limited, important matters were addressed.


I agree with Prime Minister Martin when he said that the fundamental

issues of education, housing, and other imperatives "will only be dealt with

by developing economic opportunities, as well as stable and well-paid jobs".


While programs that address societal needs have their place, they do not

lead to any kind of fundamental change on the scale that is needed. As long as Aboriginal people are impeded from participating fully in Canada's economy or competing for jobs in keeping with our potential, difficult social and economic circumstances, such as those reported widely, will remain and worsen.


Communities and regions that are economically strong have the healthiest

people, the best education rates, the most acceptable housing, and strong and sustainable cultures.


The Board calls for more to be done to ensure that Aboriginal people -

First Nations people on and off-reserve, Métis people, and Inuit - continue to contribute to, and participate in Canada's economy. We believe that the best social policy is a job, and jobs come from business creation and economic growth.


It was noteworthy that many provincial and territorial premiers around

the table echoed this view, along with some of the Aboriginal representatives.


We are all partners in this work, and we seem to be on the right track, if we already agree on this basic perspective.


The commitments made at Kelowna by the Government of Canada are very encouraging, notably the increased funding for broadband so that 250 more communities will have access to markets and on-line learning opportunities, and investment in skills development. Moreover, we see the announcement of $200 million over five years for a suite of new initiatives to promote economic opportunities as a clear demonstration of the will to take action and make progress.


However, while the National Aboriginal Economic Development Board sees

this as a very valuable start, it is just the beginning. These measures

represent a down-payment on so much more that needs to be done.


As plans are made to allocate that $200 million, and other resources, the

Board calls for a more balanced approach to spending. Economic development has traditionally been under-represented in Aboriginal programming when compared with social spending. Much greater investment by all stakeholders is needed to ensure that Canada's Aboriginal peoples are full partners in Canada's 21st Century economy. We believe that by increasing investment into the conditions that facilitate Aboriginal economic development, and into measures that have proven to be successful and stand the test of time, more return on this investment can be realized.


Canada can build on the momentum of the 30% increase in Aboriginal

entrepreneurship experienced during the last 10 years. We can build on

findings showing that Aboriginal self-employment grew at a rate nine times

that of other Canadians during the late 90's and early part of this century.

And we can build on the expansion of Aboriginal business and financial

institutions that now play an integral role in the economy.


Business opportunities exist in the developments that the Prime Minister

mentioned - from diamond mines, to oil and gas, to infrastructure development - as well as in land-based opportunities and every sector of the marketplace.


But we need to act quickly to see positive impacts for Aboriginal people in

the five and ten-year time frames talked about at Kelowna.


Finally, we must be inclusive. All Aboriginal heritage groups must benefit from the measures adopted, and this is possible if the approach is to have nationally and regionally appropriate structures that enable Aboriginal

entrepreneurs to respond to opportunities as they emerge in the marketplace.


These are arguments for the Government of Canada to give priority to

ensuring that new funds such as those announced at the First Ministers'

Meeting will go towards increasing access to capital for Aboriginal

entrepreneurs and business institutions, and towards business formation.


On behalf of the entire National Aboriginal Economic Development Board, I

am pleased and honoured to have been part of these historic proceedings, and to witness first-hand the efforts of the Prime Minister, the Provincial and Territorial Premiers, and our National Aboriginal Leadership in convening the First Ministers' Meeting with Aboriginal Leaders.


The hard work of each of the government and National Aboriginal

Organization partners that led to the progress announced at today's sessions are recognized and appreciated. But this must lead to greater priority being placed on distinct economic development measures as discussions continue in the weeks and months to come. We may not get another chance like this for a long time to come.


For further information: please visit www.naedb-cndea.ca

or contact: Marty L. Klyne, Chairperson, National Aboriginal Economic Development Board, Regina, Saskatchewan, (306) 537-2086


- - - - - - -

Indian Affairs web site

2005


First Nations Implementation Plan


At the First Ministers and National Aboriginal Leaders Meeting in Kelowna, B.C. on November 24 & 25, 2005, First Ministers and First Nation Leaders committed, through the document: First Ministers and National Aboriginal Leaders Strengthening Relationships and Closing the Gap, to strengthening relationships between First Nations and federal, provincial and territorial governments. In that spirit, First Ministers and National Aboriginal Leaders have launched a 10-year dedicated effort to closing the gap in the quality of life that now exists between Aboriginal peoples and other Canadians. The ultimate goal of this effort is to address the serious conditions that contribute to poverty among Aboriginal peoples and to ensure that they can benefit more fully from, and contribute to, Canada’s prosperity. In strengthening relationships, all parties are committed to move forward in ways that build on the principles enshrined in the Constitution including the recognition and affirmation of Aboriginal and treaty rights.


Aboriginal and treaty rights, including rights under modern land claim agreements, play an important role in improving the quality of life of the First Nations peoples of Canada.


The purpose of the First Nations Implementation Plan is to reflect that federal commitments to promote the goals of the First Ministers Meeting (FMM) will be implemented in a manner consistent with the principles and objectives of the First Nations-Federal Crown Political Accord on the Recognition and Implementation of First Nations Governments.


The intent and purpose of the First Nations-Federal Crown Political Accord on the Recognition and Implementation of First Nations Governments is to commit the Parties to work jointly to promote meaningful processes for reconciliation and implementation of section 35 rights, with First Nation governments to achieve an improved quality of life, and to support policy transformation in other areas of common interest, affirming and having regard to the principles set out in the Accord.



Regional Implementation Approaches and National Process


    * Consistent with the agreement of First Ministers and First Nations’ Leaders, the commitments in this Implementation Plan must be implemented by working together at the regional level. Implementation will focus on developing practical approaches through existing tripartite or bilateral processes or through new processes where necessary. Regional circumstances will be taken into account.


    * Cooperation will be a cornerstone for partnership between Canada and First Nations. This requires honorable processes of negotiations and respect for requirements for consultation, accommodation, justification and First Nations’ consent as may be appropriate to the circumstances.


    * First Nations will be involved in the implementation processes related to the Government of Canada’s FMM commitments and investments.


    * First Ministers and First Nations Leaders have acknowledged the special relationship between First Nations and the Crown. The federal commitments made in the document: First Ministers and National Aboriginal Leaders Strengthening Relationships and Closing the Gap, must be developed and implemented in a manner consistent with the First Nations-Federal Crown Political Accord on the Recognition and Implementation of First Nations Governments.


    * First Nations and First Ministers recognize the importance to First Nations of self government in achieving political, social, economic and cultural development and improved quality of life.


    * At the national level, a First Nations Multilateral Forum will be established to facilitate discussions with the Government of Canada and all provincial and territorial governments except Nunavut on First Nations-specific issues.


    * The Forum will be convened annually at the Ministerial level to coordinate efforts and monitor progress:

          o The Forum will be composed of ministers of Aboriginal Affairs, First Nations leaders and sectoral ministers as appropriate and agreed to by First Nations and federal, provincial and territorial governments, with the exception of Nunavut.

          o The Forum will advise and support regional multilateral processes, create linkages across sectors and guide and monitor the implementation of national commitments, as appropriate.

          o The Forum will also report to future First Ministers Meetings.

          o Reporting will be based on a set of preliminary national indicators which could include:

                + Life expectancy, infant mortality, childhood obesity and premature mortality;

                + Educational attainment, linked to language acquisition, and employment;

                + Housing affordability, suitability and adequacy, and water quality.


    * The Government of Canada and First Nations governments will work collaboratively with First Nations women to address their needs through their full participation in the development of culturally-relevant policies and programs that affect First Nations peoples.


    * The Government of Canada and First Nations recognize, as reflected in the FMM Main Document, the role of provincial and territorial governments in supporting and complementing the joint efforts in this First Nations Implementation Plan.


    * In addition to the undertakings in the Implementation Plan, there will be further discussions on how to address the unique challenges of implementing FMM Commitments with First Nations in the NWT and the Yukon.


Health


The First Nations Framework in the Blueprint on Aboriginal Health identifies specific federal commitments to First Nations health.


The First Nations collective vision is to be served by their own distinct yet coordinated health system which ensures a full continuum of services, a holistic approach to health and the integrity of traditional healing practices.


In the context of the First Nations-Federal Crown Political Accord on the Recognition and Implementation of First Nations Governments, new approaches proposed in the Blueprint will be informed by any discussion of health within the treaty and fiduciary context.


The First Nations Blueprint Framework identifies several specific federal commitments including sustainability, strengthening the role and capacity of First Nations in public health, telehealth, and First Nations capacity in health research.


Further, the Government of Canada commits to invest to enhance First Nations health programs and services, and to ensure the long-term sustainability of the First Nations governments and organizations to deliver health services including through accreditation of facilities, streamlined reporting and patient supports.


First Nations, provinces and territories, and the Government of Canada agree on the need for improved coordination and collaboration in addressing gaps between and within federally-funded, provincially- funded and territorially-funded continuing care services and will initiate steps in the short term to ensure this happens. It is recognized that new service delivery mechanisms will be developed in a manner that addresses jurisdictional issues to the satisfaction of all parties.


Education


All stages of the life long learning continuum are critical to achieving better results, with the support of parents, families, elders and communities. In the future, this will mean linking and enhancing programs and services all along the continuum, in particular, early learning and child care and post-secondary education.


The Government of Canada, in partnership with First Nations governments/organizations, has committed to working to improve the educational outcomes of First Nations learners by:


    * Implementing First Nations jurisdiction and control over education on-reserve or in self-governing First Nations, with the collaboration, through negotiation, of provincial/territorial governments;


    * Developing First Nations regional and sub-regional K-12 education systems and supporting First Nations school governing bodies (outside public education systems);


    * Supporting high quality environments for First Nations learners on reserve, and those attending schools established pursuant to self-government and sectoral agreements, through investments in facilities and innovations in curricula and teachers/administrators;


    * Developing and supporting First Nations/provincial/territorial/federal protocols or arrangements to work together to improve educational outcomes for First Nations learners; and,


    * Supporting the development and implementation of First Nations school systems performance management, assessment and reporting mechanisms.


First Nations, working with Provinces and territories, and, when appropriate, the Government of Canada, will work together to better support all First Nations learners moving between First Nations schools and public education systems, including:


    * reciprocal tuition arrangements;

    * effective interface between First Nations and provincial/territorial teacher certification, and certification of teachers in First Nations language and cultures;

    * recognition of graduation requirements;

    * exchange of appropriate student information;

    * data sharing;

    * professional development; and,

    * reciprocal sharing of knowledge and expertise.


Housing


The Government of Canada and First Nations have committed to work together to address housing needs by:


    * Developing a series of new initiatives that focuses on enhancing and supporting First Nations control over housing on reserve and pursuant to self-government and sectoral agreements. These initiatives will develop new approaches in First Nations housing, including the development of new institutional arrangements.


    * Developing practical means and tools required to fundamentally change the delivery of housing over time on reserve and pursuant to self-government and sectoral agreements. Changes will include support for increased market based housing, including the ability to lever funds in financial markets, capacity development, increased investments in housing-related training (e.g., training and apprenticeships in construction and skilled trades) and infrastructure and ensuring housing investments are focused on areas of greatest need. The needs of First Nations women will be addressed, including housing issues arising from marital or relationship breakdown.


    * Exploring new options to support greater community access to land and improved land management capacity. Alternative financing instruments and new relationships with First Nation-controlled financial institutions will also be developed. Economic opportunities that flow from these initiatives (e.g., home construction and maintenance) must be managed in a manner that maximizes the direct benefits to First Nations communities.


    * Supporting social/subsidized housing requirements. Assistance to address immediate housing shortages and overcrowding will be provided on the basis of need.


Where there is agreement, First Nations and the Government of Canada and provincial and territorial governments will create new housing partnerships with regard to First Nations living off reserve.


The Government of Canada accepts responsibility for assisting First Nations with respect to necessary potable water infrastructure on reserve. Canada will jointly work with First Nations to develop the necessary infrastructure required for an effective housing strategy on reserve. This means accelerating activities to ensure the safety of water supplies within established water and wastewater standards, as well as continued improvements in other basic infrastructure including roads and fire protection. Particular attention will be given to developing and implementing, with First Nations, a regime for the testing and regulation of water in First Nations communities. Collaboration with provinces and relevant territories will be obtained through agreements. Indicators to measure progress on these critical elements related to improving housing conditions on reserve will be developed jointly by First Nations and the Government of Canada, in collaboration with provincial and relevant territorial governments.


Economic Opportunities


Economic opportunities encompass activities both within First Nations communities as well as First Nations involvement in broader regional, national and international economies. It includes opportunities for wealth creation among both individuals and communities, including opportunities arising from the implementation of Aboriginal and treaty rights and land claims agreements, which are priority subjects under the First Nations-Federal Crown Political Accord on the Recognition and Implementation of First Nations Governments.


First Ministers and First Nation Leaders have agreed that early opportunities for action must be seized, such as economic infrastructure, training and skills development, connectivity, improving the regulatory environment, resource development, and business investment and development. Further, the Government of Canada and First Nations have agreed that they will develop in collaboration with provincial and territorial governments, and the private sector, regional-based strategic frameworks to facilitate economic opportunities and partnerships, and report through the multilateral process.


- - - - - - -


 

 

 

FIRST MINISTERS AND NATIONAL ABORIGINAL LEADERS 

STRENGTHENING RELATIONSHIPS AND CLOSING THE GAP 

 

KELOWNA, BRITISH COLUMBIA 

 

NOVEMBER 24-25, 2005 

 

 

INTRODUCTION 

 

 

First Ministers and  National Aboriginal Leaders agree to take immediate action to 

improve the quality of life for the Aboriginal peoples of Canada in four important 

areas – health, education, housing and relationships.  They also agree that 

enhancing economic opportunities is a key priority area for multilateral action.  To 

ensure that tangible progress is made, First Ministers and National Aboriginal 

Leaders have set goals and agreed on the need for indicators to measure progress.  

 

Aboriginal and treaty rights, including rights under modern land claim agreements, 

play an important role in improving the quality of life of the Aboriginal peoples of 

Canada.  

 

The Aboriginal peoples of Canada includes the Indian, Inuit and Métis peoples of 

Canada.  This is inclusive of all Aboriginal peoples, who may reside on reserves or 

settlements, in rural or urban areas, or northern and Arctic regions. 

 

Indians (First Nations), Inuit and Métis have unique histories, cultures, traditions and 

relationships with federal-provincial-territorial governments.  Their social and cultural 

distinctions are a defining feature of Canada and form an important context for 

cooperative efforts to improve their well-being.  In addition, this document contains 

commitments that address the interests of Aboriginal peoples living in urban and 

rural areas. 

 

This meeting fulfills a commitment made at the September 2004 Special Meeting of 

First Ministers and Aboriginal Leaders to convene a meeting dedicated to Aboriginal 

issues, including the key determinants of health.   

 2 

 

 

 

A 10-YEAR COMMITMENT TO CLOSING THE GAP 

 

 

First Ministers and National Aboriginal Leaders are committed to strengthening 

relationships between Aboriginal peoples and federal, provincial and territorial 

governments.  These relationships will be based on enhanced collaboration, 

effective working partnerships and mutual respect.  In that spirit, First Ministers and 

National Aboriginal Leaders are launching a 10-year dedicated effort to closing the 

gap in the quality of life that now exists between Aboriginal peoples and other 

Canadians.  The ultimate goal of this effort is to address the serious conditions that 

contribute to poverty among Aboriginal peoples and to ensure that they can more 

fully benefit from and contribute to Canada’s prosperity.  In strengthening 

relationships, all parties are committed to move forward in ways that build on the 

principles enshrined in the Constitution including the recognition and affirmation of 

existing Aboriginal and treaty rights. 

 

 

 

MEASURING PROGRESS 

 

 

First Ministers and National Aboriginal Leaders agree that measuring progress is 

critical in the effort to close the gap.  The goal is to achieve progressively better 

results over the next 10 years.  Accordingly, they have agreed that broad indicators 

in education, housing and health will be used to assess progress.  In addition, more 

specific measures and targets will be developed at regional and sub-regional levels.  

Appropriate investments will be made to ensure that reliable data are available to 

support these efforts.  

 

 

 

PRINCIPLES 

 

 

The following principles will guide how the parties will work together: 

 

• Recognizing and respecting the diverse and unique history, traditions, 

cultures and rights of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada which include the 

Indian, Inuit and Métis peoples of Canada – by adopting a distinctions-based 

approach; 

 

 3 

• Addressing the differing circumstances of Aboriginal peoples in all regions 

and communities regardless of place of residence (on reserves or 

settlements, in rural or urban areas, or northern and Arctic regions) or legal 

status under the Indian Act; 

 

• Working collaboratively with First Nations, Inuit and Métis women to address 

their needs through their participation in the development of culturally- 

relevant policies and programs that affect Aboriginal peoples;  

 

• Working collaboratively with First Nations, Inuit and Métis in an inclusive 

manner on policy and program development to ensure that their interests are 

appropriately reflected in programs and services that affect all Aboriginal 

peoples, as well as, where appropriate, engaging Aboriginal service delivery 

organizations;   

 

• Respecting existing bilateral, tripartite and multilateral agreements and  

processes; 

 

• Respecting regional differences; and, 

 

• Being accountable and reporting regularly to their respective constituencies 

on achieving progress through agreed-upon culturally relevant indicators and 

targets, at regional and national levels, as appropriate. 

 

 

 

EDUCATION 

 

 

Improving the educational outcomes of all Aboriginal learners, which includes First 

Nations, Inuit and Métis, is essential to building a more prosperous and self-reliant 

future for all Aboriginal peoples, and to promoting personal well-being and positive 

social change.  At the same time, there are many factors that may affect educational 

success such as poor housing conditions and overcrowding, poverty and violence in 

the home. 

 

All stages of the life long learning continuum are critical to achieving better results, 

with the support of parents, families, elders and communities.  In the future, this will 

mean linking and enhancing programs and services all along the continuum, in 

particular, early learning and child care and post-secondary education. 

 

Although progress is being made, significantly more needs to be done to improve all 

Aboriginal learners’ educational experiences and to increase the number of 

secondary school graduates. 

 

 4 

First Ministers and National Aboriginal Leaders agree to the goal of closing the gap 

in K-12 educational attainment between Aboriginal learners and other Canadians by 

2016, while respecting and supporting their unique cultures, traditions, and 

languages. 

 

Achieving this goal will require a sustained effort by all parties.  It will involve 

enhancing the educational environment for learners through agreed to initiatives.  It 

will mean developing more effective working relationships between the public 

education systems and First Nations schools on reserve or pursuant to self- 

government and sectoral agreements, and flexible arrangements that respect 

different regional and local circumstances.  The needs of Aboriginal women will be 

addressed.   

First Ministers and National Aboriginal Leaders agree to measuring progress 

towards closing the gap by increasing the number of Aboriginal secondary school 

graduates. 

 

 

Public Education Systems 

 

Working collaboratively with First Nations, Inuit, Métis and relevant Aboriginal 

organizations and communities, provinces and territories are committed to improving 

the educational outcomes of all Aboriginal learners attending public schools through 

various educational initiatives such as: 

 

 

• Supporting learners and their parents/families (i.e., family involvement with 

schools, adult literacy programming), as learners move through public education; 

 

• Encouraging learners to complete Grade 12 or equivalent, including establishing 

targets;  

 

• Collaborating to facilitate transitions of First Nations learners who move to and 

from First Nations schools; 

 

• Early detection of learning disabilities and assisting learners in overcoming 

learning difficulties and disabilities; 

 

• Curriculum development that reflects local Aboriginal history, cultures, traditions, 

languages and learning approaches, where appropriate;  

 

• Increasing the number of qualified Aboriginal teachers, as well as promoting 

cultural awareness among non-Aboriginal teachers; 

 

 5 

• Increasing Canadian society's awareness of First Nations, Inuit and Métis 

through curriculum development that reflects Aboriginal history, cultures and 

traditions; 

 

• A stronger Aboriginal voice and involvement, where appropriate, within 

educational structures; 

 

• Strengthening relationships and linkages between public school systems and 

First Nation education systems, including sharing of knowledge and expertise; 

and, 

 

• Gathering the data to inform research and policy decisions, performance 

measurement and reporting.  

 

Respecting provincial/territorial jurisdiction in education, the Government of Canada 

is prepared, through agreements with provinces and territories, First Nations, Inuit 

and Métis, and relevant Aboriginal organizations, to support innovative educational 

initiatives to improve outcomes for all Aboriginal learners within the public education 

system. 

 

 

 

HOUSING 

 

 

Affordable, stable and good quality housing is essential to ensuring positive 

outcomes for First Nations, Inuit and Métis and their communities.  Aboriginal 

peoples experience some of the worst housing conditions in Canada.  Housing 

influences many aspects of life: individual health and well-being, educational 

achievement, social interactions, labour market attachment and community identity.  

From a broader economic perspective, the housing sector provides employment, 

creates investment opportunities and stimulates and supports economic activity.  

 

First Ministers and National Aboriginal Leaders agree to the goal of closing the gap 

between Aboriginal peoples and other Canadians in housing conditions and housing 

opportunities, in a manner that strengthens their self-reliance.  

 

Achieving this goal will require re-thinking current approaches to Aboriginal housing 

policy, services and supports, increasing housing supply, and maintaining the 

existing stock in good condition, through investments that address urgent needs as 

well as long-term sustainable solutions.  Aboriginal peoples must be involved in 

determining their own housing solutions, and flexible approaches need to be applied 

to address regional, community and individual circumstances.  The needs of 

Aboriginal women will be addressed. 

 

 6 

First Ministers and National Aboriginal Leaders agree to measuring progress 

towards closing the gap in access to affordable, suitable and adequate housing for 

Aboriginal peoples, as measured by a reduction in levels of core housing need.  

Core housing need is defined by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation as 

affordability – costing less than 30% of total before-tax household income; suitability 

– enough bedrooms for the size and make-up of the household; and adequacy – no 

outstanding major repairs are required.  

 

 

Housing Partnerships 

 

The Government of Canada and provinces and territories are committed to working 

collaboratively with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis, with the support of Aboriginal  

housing providers, to improve housing opportunities in the off reserve or non reserve 

context, or pursuant to self-government agreements, and to enhance and build 

housing partnerships, by: 

 

• Supporting new housing initiatives, building on best practices, that span the 

housing continuum, including emergency shelters, transitional and affordable 

housing, social/subsidized housing, home ownership, and the repair and 

maintenance of existing housing stock; 

 

• Examining their respective government policies and regulations that may impede 

housing development in support of greater self-reliance, such as market and 

community-based approaches; 

 

• Supporting housing assistance on the basis of need; 

 

• Supporting housing solutions for Aboriginal women in transition and single 

parents by increasing operating and program supports; 

 

• Sharing housing expertise to support capacity development in areas like 

community planning, project development, portfolio administration and 

management; and, 

 

• Increasing opportunities for skills training, apprenticeships, employment and 

business development in housing related areas. 

 

The Government of Canada is prepared to make investments in the off/non-reserve 

context, recognizing the responsibility of provinces and territories in the area of 

housing.  Innovative Aboriginal housing agreements among the federal, provincial 

and territorial governments, First Nations, Inuit and Métis, and Aboriginal housing 

providers, with flexible funding arrangements, will be developed through regional- 

based discussions, recognizing differing circumstances and existing relationships. 

 

 7 

 

 

ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES 

 

 

Economic opportunities encompass activities both within First Nations, Inuit and 

Métis communities as well as Aboriginal involvement in broader regional, national 

and international economies.  It includes opportunities for wealth creation among 

both individuals and communities, including opportunities arising from the 

implementation of Aboriginal and treaty rights and land claims agreements.  It is a 

process of engagement whereby Aboriginal individuals and communities both 

contribute to and fully benefit from Canada's economic growth and prosperity. 

Critical to increasing economic opportunities is developing and maintaining the 

social and economic factors that support balanced growth and promote healthy and 

skilled individuals and communities with the capacity to create wealth and participate 

fully in the economy.  This recognizes the impact and importance of economic 

opportunities within health, housing and education sectors.  

 

First Ministers and National Aboriginal Leaders agree that opportunities for early 

actions must be seized.  Further, they agree that regionally-based strategic frames  

that can address economic opportunities for Aboriginal peoples within the 

circumstances of each of the diverse regions of Canada could assist in:  

 

• Addressing the key components of economic opportunities for all Aboriginal 

peoples in areas such as economic infrastructure, training and skills 

development, connectivity, improving the regulatory environment, resource 

development, and business development; and, 

 

• Facilitating effective economic opportunity partnerships and relationships among 

all parties (i.e. federal/provincial/territorial governments, Aboriginal communities 

and institutions, and the private sector). 

 

First Ministers and National Aboriginal Leaders agree to initiate regional distinctions- 

based processes, which are inclusive of all Aboriginal peoples, as well as with 

federal-provincial-territorial governments and private sector representatives to 

identify economic opportunity strategies.  Based on regional discussions, Economic 

Development/Industry and Aboriginal Affairs Ministers and National Aboriginal 

Leaders will develop regionally-based strategic frames to facilitate economic 

opportunities and partnerships and report through the multilateral process(es) to 

First Ministers.  

 

 8 

 

 

HEALTH 

 

 

First Ministers and National Aboriginal Leaders agreed on September 13, 2004 to 

work together to develop a blueprint to improve the health status of all Aboriginal 

peoples.  Health Ministers, Aboriginal Affairs Ministers and National Aboriginal 

Leaders worked over the past year to develop a Blueprint on Aboriginal Health.  The 

efforts included broad consultation at the national and regional levels and were 

intended to lead to concrete initiatives to: 

 

• improve delivery of and access to health services; 

• ensure that Aboriginal peoples benefit fully from improvements to Canadian 

health systems; and, 

• put in place health promotion and disease prevention measures as well as 

programs that will address other determinants of health (e.g., housing, 

education). 

 

This will be achieved without unnecessary duplication and creation of parallel health 

care systems. 

 

First Ministers and National Aboriginal Leaders reaffirm their commitment to action 

and further agree to the goal of closing the gap in health status between Aboriginal 

peoples and other Canadians, recognizing that the achievement of long term goals 

requires long term funding commitments. 

 

Improving the health status of Aboriginal Peoples  including First Nations, Inuit and 

Métis regardless of where they live is essential to improving their overall quality of 

life.  Although progress has been made, current strategies have not succeeded in 

closing the gap in health status between Aboriginal peoples and other Canadians.  

Achieving this goal will require all relevant parties to work together in partnership at 

the national or regional levels.  

 

The Blueprint is a work in progress.  It is a 10-year transformative plan on Aboriginal 

Health which contains First Nations, Métis and Inuit frameworks and will guide the 

federal government in its collaboration with its partners.  Implementation will occur 

both through federal initiatives as well as through the development of plans at the 

level of each province and territory through tripartite negotiated agreements that 

respect the constitutional roles and responsibilities of governments. These initiatives 

and plans will be developed by parties working together and will identify priorities for 

action and investment.  The federal government recognizes that these initiatives and 

plans require partnerships and sustained federal investments both on and off 

reserve and in the North including in Inuit regions.  These investments will build on 

the $700 million, already committed at the September 13, 2004 Special Meeting of 

 9 

First Ministers and National Aboriginal Leaders. These initiatives and plans could 

notably focus on such areas as: 

 

  mental health, suicide and addictions; 

• nutrition and food security; 

• diabetes prevention and treatment; 

• public health; 

• continuing care; 

• telehealth; 

• maternal, child and youth health. 

 

In addressing these priorities, a holistic and distinctions–based approach will be 

adopted.   

 

First Ministers and National Aboriginal Leaders support Ministers of Health and 

Aboriginal Affairs Ministers continuing to work collaboratively with Aboriginal 

Peoples including First Nations, Inuit and Métis regardless of where they live to turn 

their commitments into concrete action at the regional level and national level.   

 

First Ministers and National Aboriginal Leaders further agree to measure progress in 

closing the gap, as assessed by key indicators.  Partners will work to strengthen the 

capacity to assess progress and refine health indicators. 

 

 

 

STRENGTHENING RELATIONSHIPS AND  

MOVING FORWARD 

 

 

 

First Ministers and National Aboriginal Leaders are committed to strengthening 

relationships between Aboriginal peoples and federal, provincial and territorial 

governments.  These relationships will be based on enhanced collaboration, 

effective working partnerships and mutual respect.   

 

The Government of Canada and provincial/territorial governments agree that 

Aboriginal peoples need the capacity to more effectively participate and contribute to 

the development of policies, programs and services that affect them.  

 

Regional Implementation 

 

First Ministers and National Aboriginal Leaders agree the commitments outlined in 

this document must be implemented by working together at the regional level.  

Implementation will focus on developing practical approaches through existing 

tripartite or bilateral processes or through new processes where necessary.  These 

 10 

regional processes will respect the distinctions among First Nations, Inuit and Métis 

and will also be inclusive of all Aboriginal peoples.  Regional circumstances will be 

taken into account. 

 

Implementation will also include setting targets, monitoring and reporting progress at 

a regional level. 

 

First Ministers will direct their governments, through Aboriginal Affairs and 

appropriate sector Ministers, to participate in these distinctions-based regional 

processes with regional Aboriginal organizations. 

 

For the Government of Canada and the provincial and territorial governments, 

implementation of the commitments outlined in this document will be the joint 

responsibility of sector ministers and ministers responsible for Aboriginal Affairs.   

 

 

Multilateral 

 

First Ministers and National Aboriginal Leaders also recognize that there are 

overarching issues of joint interest and functions that are best discussed through an 

annual meeting that includes all parties.  Separate and apart from regional 

implementation, First Ministers and National Aboriginal Leaders also recognize the 

need for discussing issues collectively through distinctions-based multilateral 

forums. 

 

Aboriginal Affairs ministers and National Aboriginal Leaders will meet annually for a 

two-day session to review progress.  Sectoral ministers may also participate or 

report on progress as appropriate.  The two days will include distinct First Nations, 

Inuit and Métis forums with the respective Leaders, the Government of Canada and 

relevant provinces and territories.  Participants will:  

 

 

– Monitor and report on progress, in collaboration with sector ministers, to First 

Ministers towards closing the gap based on agreed indicators;  

 

– Support preparation for future meetings of First Ministers and National 

Aboriginal Leaders; 

 

– Discuss issues and interests of Aboriginal peoples in urban areas; 

 

– Address emerging issues (e.g. economic opportunities, violence against 

women, environmental issues);  

 

– Provide advice to regional processes; 

 

– Identify linkages between sectors; and 

 11 

 

– Share information on best practices. 

 

First Ministers and National Aboriginal Leaders agree that, in order to assess 

progress on commitments, they will need to receive regular reports.  They will meet 

again in two to three years when they are in a position to measure progress.  

 

 

 

FIRST NATIONS 

 

 

 

Strengthening Relationships and Moving Forward 

 

First Ministers and First Nations Leaders acknowledge the special relationship 

between First Nations and the Crown.  This is complemented by the commitment of 

the Government of Canada and First Nations to the joint development of a bilateral 

implementation plan.    

 

First Nations and First Ministers recognize the importance to First Nations of self 

government in achieving political, social, economic and cultural development and 

improved quality of life. 

 

At the national level, a First Nations Multilateral Forum will be established to 

facilitate discussions with the Government of Canada and all provincial and territorial 

governments except Nunavut on First Nations-specific issues. 

 

The Forum will be convened annually at the Ministerial level to coordinate efforts 

and monitor progress: 

 

• The Forum will be composed of ministers of Aboriginal Affairs, First Nations 

leaders and sectoral ministers as appropriate and agreed to by First Nations and 

federal, provincial and territorial governments.   

 

• The Forum will advise regional multilateral processes, create linkages across 

sectors and guide and monitor the implementation of national commitments, as 

appropriate.   

 

• The Forum will also report to future First Ministers Meetings. 

 

• Reporting will be based on a set of preliminary national indicators which could 

include: 

 

– Life expectancy, infant mortality, childhood obesity and premature mortality; 

 12 

 

– Educational attainment, linked to language acquisition, and employment; 

 

– Housing affordability, suitability and adequacy, and water quality. 

 

 

Education 

 

The Government of Canada, in partnership with First Nations governments/ 

organizations, is committed to working to improve the educational outcomes of First 

Nations learners by: 

 

• Implementing First Nations jurisdiction and control over education on-reserve or 

in self-governing First Nations, with the collaboration, through negotiation, of 

provincial/territorial governments; 

 

• Developing First Nations regional and sub-regional K-12 education systems and 

supporting First Nations school governing bodies (outside public education 

systems); 

 

• Supporting high quality environments for First Nations learners on reserve, and 

those attending schools established pursuant to self-government and sectoral 

agreements, through investments in facilities and innovations in curricula and 

teachers/administrators; 

 

• Developing and supporting First Nations/provincial/territorial/federal protocols or 

arrangements to work together to improve educational outcomes for First Nations 

learners; and, 

 

• Supporting the development and implementation of First Nations school systems 

performance management, assessment and reporting mechanisms. 

 

Provinces and territories, First Nations and, when appropriate, the Government of 

Canada, will work together to better support all First Nations learners moving 

between First Nations schools and public education systems, including: 

 

• reciprocal tuition arrangements;  

• effective interface between First Nations and provincial/territorial teacher 

certification, and certification of teachers in First Nations language and 

cultures; 

• recognition of graduation requirements; 

• exchange of appropriate student information;  

• data sharing;  

• professional development; and, 

• reciprocal sharing of knowledge and expertise. 

 13 

 

 

Housing  

 

The Government of Canada and First Nations commit to work together to address 

housing needs by: 

 

• Developing a series of new initiatives that focuses on enhancing and supporting 

First Nations control over housing on reserve and pursuant to self-government 

and sectoral agreements.  These initiatives will develop new approaches in First 

Nations housing, including the development of new institutional arrangements.   

 

• Developing practical means and tools required to fundamentally change the 

delivery of housing over time on reserve and pursuant to self-government and 

sectoral agreements.  Changes will include support for increased market based 

housing, including the ability to lever funds in financial markets, capacity 

development, increased investments in housing-related training (e.g. training and 

apprenticeships in construction and skilled trades) and infrastructure and 

ensuring housing investments are focused on areas of greatest need.  The 

needs of First Nations women will be addressed, including housing issues arising 

from marital or relationship breakdown.   

 

• Exploring new options to support greater community access to land and 

improved land management capacity.  Alternative financing instruments and new 

relationships with First Nation-controlled financial institutions will also be 

developed.  Economic opportunities that flow from these initiatives (e.g. home 

construction and maintenance) must be managed in a manner that maximizes 

the direct benefits to First Nations communities.   

 

• Supporting social/subsidized housing requirements.  Assistance to address 

immediate housing shortages and overcrowding will be provided on the basis of 

need. 

 

Where there is agreement, First Nations and the Government of Canada and 

provincial and territorial governments will create new housing partnerships with 

regard to First Nations living off reserve. 

 

The Government of Canada accepts responsibility for assisting First Nations with 

respect to necessary potable water infrastructure on reserve.  Canada will jointly 

work with First Nations to develop the necessary infrastructure required for an 

effective housing strategy on reserve.  This means accelerating activities to ensure 

the safety of water supplies within established water and wastewater standards, as 

well as continued improvements in other basic infrastructure including roads and fire 

protection.  Particular attention will be given to developing and implementing, with 

First Nations, a regime for the testing and regulation of water in First Nations 

 14 

communities.  Collaboration with provinces and relevant territories will be obtained 

through agreements.  Indicators to measure progress on these critical elements 

related to improving housing conditions on reserve will be developed jointly by First 

Nations and the Government of Canada, in collaboration with provincial and relevant 

territorial governments. 

 

 

 

INUIT 

 

 

 

Strengthening Relationships and Moving Forward 

 

The rights of Inuit as an Aboriginal people of Canada are recognized and affirmed in 

section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.  In addition, the federal commitments made 

in this document must be developed in a manner consistent with the Inuit 

Partnership Accord signed in May 2005, including any present or future 

commitments as a result of the Government of Canada – Inuit Action Plan. 

 

These commitments should not be interpreted or implemented so as to infringe on 

any rights of Inuit under the Land Claims Agreements.  Reference to Inuit 

organizations includes but is not limited to Land Claims Organizations and relevant 

institutions serving Inuit in Canada.   

 

To ensure that Inuit benefit equitably from the commitments set out by First 

Ministers, Inuit-specific strategies must be adopted to accommodate the unique 

conditions of arctic environments, the distinctive features of Inuit culture, as well as 

the needs of Inuit who reside outside land claims areas. 

 

The Government of Canada, relevant provinces and territories and Inuit will work  

together to strengthen relationships building on existing regional and bilateral 

agreements, like the Canada/Inuit Partnership Accord and the Nunavut/Inuit 

“Working Together”.  This means enhancing, with agreement of the parties, 

processes and arrangements to achieve positive social and economic outcomes for 

Inuit.  The parties will determine priority issues and actions through discussion and 

joint agreement. 

 

An Inuit Multilateral Forum will be established, linked to the annual meeting of 

Aboriginal Affairs ministers and National Aboriginal Leaders, to facilitate discussions 

with the Government of Canada and the Governments of Quebec, Newfoundland 

and Labrador, Northwest Territories and Nunavut on Inuit-specific issues.  This 

forum will advise and support regional Inuit processes, assess progress made on 

First Ministers Meeting commitments to Inuit, create linkages across sectors and 

report to future First Ministers Meetings. 

 

 15 

 

Education 

 

The Inuit and the relevant provinces and territories, with the support of the 

Government of Canada, commit to develop an Inuit-specific approach by 

incorporating Inuit traditional knowledge, experience, language and practices in 

education and lifelong learning, as a means of improving Inuit education outcomes 

by:  

 

• Enhancing and/or developing an Inuit-specific approach to education within 

public education systems to improve Inuit educational outcomes, in partnership 

with regional Inuit organizations, relevant provincial/territorial governments and 

the Government of Canada. 

 

• Working at all levels, the immediate priorities for K-12 innovation supports will be 

to: 

– develop Inuit-specific curriculum;  

– promote, preserve and protect Inuit languages; and,  

– train Inuit teachers, curriculum developers and administrators. 

 

• Exploring within the next 12 months the establishment of a National Inuit 

Education Resource and Research Centre, in collaboration with regional Inuit 

organizations, relevant provincial/territorial governments and the Government of 

Canada to help promote an Inuit-specific approach to education, coordinate best 

practices and conduct Inuit-specific research. 

 

 

Housing 

 

The Government of Canada will work collaboratively with Inuit and relevant 

provinces and territories to address housing challenges by: 

 

• Providing immediate housing relief in Inuit communities focusing on new 

construction and renovation.  Federal, provincial and territorial governments are 

committed to working with Inuit to address housing shortages and overcrowding 

in the Inuit regions.  In the near term, primarily social/subsidized housing is 

required. 

 

• Developing an Inuit housing approach which offers housing that is appropriate, 

affordable and suitable in the four Inuit regions: Labrador, Nunavik, Nunavut and 

Inuvialuit.  Consistent with an Inuit-specific housing approach, the Government of 

Canada will enter into partnership agreements with relevant Inuit organizations 

and relevant provinces/territories to create an Inuit Housing Institute.  The 

Institute will enhance capacity building in Inuit communities.  It will facilitate the 

sharing of best practices and the exchange of information on ways to improve 

 16 

housing conditions for Inuit regions.  Funding for the Institute would be in addition 

to any funding provided for the construction, repair and maintenance and 

development of Inuit housing.   

 

• Creating capacity at the community level and consequently reducing the costs of 

construction and maintenance while maximizing the economic development 

opportunities within Inuit communities.  The longer term goal of an Inuit housing 

approach is greater self-reliance, and moving forward from an assisted housing 

approach to a market approach in the Inuit regions.  The need for longer term, 

sustainable efforts and resources is also recognized. 

 

• Linking investments in housing for Inuit to economic development and skills 

development initiatives and opportunities.  Accordingly, the Government of 

Canada, relevant provinces and territories and Inuit agree to share and build 

upon their expertise by using multi-year housing investments to create economic 

development initiatives, increasing Inuit employment, training more Inuit in the 

construction trades, and assembling and constructing housing in the community 

by the community. 

 

 

 

MÉTIS 

 

 

 

Strengthening Relationships and Moving Forward 

 

The rights of the Métis, as an Aboriginal people, are recognized and affirmed in 

section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.  First Ministers and Métis Leaders 

acknowledge the special relationship between Métis and the Crown.  As well, First 

Ministers and Métis Leaders recognize the importance to the Métis of self 

government in achieving political, social, economic and cultural development and 

improved quality of life. 

 

Strengthening relationships between the Government of Canada, relevant provincial 

and territorial governments, Métis groups and organizations and, where recognized, 

Métis governments will be a key component in realizing change and closing the gap 

in the quality of life between Métis and other Canadians.  To this end, in partnership 

with Métis, the Government of Canada and relevant provinces and territories commit 

to: 

 

• Building upon existing bilateral agreements, such as the Canada-Métis Nation 

Framework Agreement, as well as trilateral arrangements, in order to facilitate 

the recognition of the distinctive place of the Métis people in the Canadian 

 17 

federation in a manner that is consistent with the common law and existing 

jurisprudence.   

 

• Establishing a Métis Nation Multilateral Forum to facilitate discussions between 

the Métis, the Government of Canada and relevant provincial/territorial 

governments.  This multilateral forum will advise and support regional Métis 

processes, assess progress made on First Ministers Meeting commitments to 

Métis, create linkages across sectors and report to future First Ministers 

Meetings.  In addition, where relevant provinces/territories and other Métis 

groups are willing, appropriate partnerships and/or other multilateral forums may 

be developed.   

 

• Collaboratively renewing regional Métis tripartite processes in order for these 

processes to better reflect the evolving relationships between Métis, the 

Government of Canada and relevant provincial and territorial governments based 

on commitments flowing from this First Ministers Meeting as well as emerging 

issues. 

 

• Exploring options with Métis to support and enhance ongoing work in relation to 

the establishment and maintenance of objectively verifiable Métis identification 

systems. 

 

• The Government of Canada commits that implementation of bilateral 

commitments flowing from the First Ministers Meeting will be consistent with and 

flow through existing Métis-federal bilateral agreements. 

 

 

Education 

 

In partnership with Métis, the Government of Canada, along with relevant provinces 

and territories, are committed to 

 

• Developing and supporting initiatives to improve Métis educational outcomes 

within public education systems through K-12 innovation supports (e.g., stay in 

school programs, literacy initiatives, mentoring and role model programs, in- 

school cultural programs, etc.) that are developed and/or delivered in 

collaboration with Métis, the Government of Canada as well as relevant 

provincial and territorial governments. 

 

• Exploring, within 12 months, the development of a Métis Nation Centre of 

Excellence in Education and Innovation through collaborative efforts between the 

Métis, the Government of Canada, relevant provincial and territorial governments 

as well as other possible partners.  The Centre would focus on developing 

educational materials and resources, as well as undertaking research.  In 

 18 

addition, where relevant provinces/territories agree, they will work with other 

Métis groups to develop appropriate education partnerships. 

 

• Enhancing programs and services related to K-12 and transitions delivered by 

existing Métis educational institutions such as the Gabriel Dumont Institute 

(Saskatchewan) and Louis Riel Institute (Manitoba) and, where there is 

agreement, exploring options for the development of new Métis educational 

institutions. 

 

The Government of Canada will support these commitments through collaborative 

arrangements between relevant provincial and territorial governments and the Métis. 

 

Housing 

 

In partnership with Métis, the Government of Canada, along with relevant provincial 

and territorial governments, are committed to addressing the unique housing 

challenges and needs of Métis by: 

 

• Making strategic and immediate investments in new Métis housing and in the 

ongoing maintenance of existing Métis-delivered housing with a view to 

improving Métis delivery and control of, as well as access to, affordable and 

social/subsidized housing.  

 

• Enhancing existing housing relationships and, where there is agreement, 

creating new ones, through Métis housing partnership agreements, with flexible 

funding arrangements, between Métis, the Government of Canada and relevant 

provinces and territories 

 

• Developing a Métis housing approach which offers housing that is sustainable, 

appropriate and affordable for Métis.  To this end, within 12 months, the 

Government of Canada will work with representatives of the Métis and relevant 

provinces and territories with a view to developing a regionally-focused Métis 

Nation Housing Institute.  The Institute will work towards supporting new Métis 

social/subsidized housing and increased Métis control over housing in rural, 

urban, and northern environments; capacity development for Métis housing 

agencies/providers and assist in the creation of new ones where appropriate; 

policy development and analysis in support of Métis housing; research and data 

collection; and developing funding and investment models to support Métis 

housing. 

 

 19 

 

 

CONCLUSION 

 

 

This document represents a shared commitment to action by all parties.  The 

initiatives set out in this document are the first step in a 10-year dedicated effort to 

improve the quality of life of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada.  Based on their 

shared commitment, First Ministers and National Aboriginal Leaders agree to take 

immediate action, to build on their commitments over time, wherever possible, and 

to move forward in a manner that will achieve the maximum results for the Aboriginal peoples of Canada which include the Indian, Inuit and Métis peoples of Canada. 

 

 

- 30 -  


BACKGROUND
Pre-Kelowna Meetings and Discussions
Roundtables and Sectoral Talks
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