Minister Valcourt Announces Measures to Advance Treaty Negotiations and Reconciliation
Government of Canada Announces Next Steps in Response to Eyford Report
VANCOUVER, July 28, 2014 /CNW/ - The Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, Bernard Valcourt, today met with the Honourable John Rustad, BC Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation, Sophie Pierre, Chief Commissioner of the British Columbia Treaty Commission, Grand Chief Edward John of the First Nations Summit, and Dave Porter of the BC First Nations Energy and Mining Council. At this meeting, Minister Valcourt announced that the Government of Canada is taking further action to help advance treaty negotiations and reconciliation in response to the final report of Special Federal Representative on West Coast Energy Infrastructure Douglas Eyford and other previous engagements with Aboriginal groups and key stakeholders beginning in 2009.
Specifically, in response to key recommendations in the Eyford Report, the Government of Canada is taking action to promote reconciliation in advance of and outside of treaty. These measures include:
- negotiating incremental treaty and non-treaty agreements;
- engaging on the existing guidelines on consultation for federal officials and new guidance for industry, including an overall policy statement clarifying roles and responsibilities;
- entering into more consultation protocols with Aboriginal groups in key priority areas such as resource development; and
- clarifying the Government of Canada's approach to supporting the resolution of shared territory disputes in the context of resource development.
The Government of Canada is also taking steps to help address some of the key impediments to concluding treaties in BC and elsewhere in Canada by:
- making important changes to Canada's own source revenue policy;
- resuming treaty fisheries negotiations in BC, which were deferred pending the Cohen Report; and
- employing an additional approach to achieving certainty that was developed in partnership with British Columbia and First Nations through the BC Common Table process.
In addition, the Government of Canada will be developing a new Framework for Addressing Section 35 Aboriginal Rights through dialogue with partners. As a first step in developing this Framework, Minister Valcourt has appointed Douglas Eyford as a Ministerial Special Representative to lead engagement with Aboriginal groups and key stakeholders to renew and reform the Comprehensive Land Claims Policy.
The Government recognizes that reconciliation is an important process and one that must balance the rights of all Canadians. The Government of Canada looks forward to continuing to work with partners on shared solutions that deliver positive results for the benefit of all Canadians.
- Aboriginal and treaty rights are recognized and affirmed in section 35 of Canada's Constitution Act, 1982.
- The measures being announced today build on past engagements and are in response to key recommendations in the Eyford report, complementing the new initiatives flowing from the report that were announced on May 27, 2014.
- The guidelines for federal officials on the duty to consult were last updated in 2011. There are currently no federal guidelines in place for industry.
- The federal Comprehensive Land Claims Policy was first introduced in 1973 and the last published update was in 1986.
- Since 1973, the Government of Canada and its partners have signed 26 modern treaties. This includes five modern treaties in British Columbia, four of which have been concluded since 2006.
- The Government of Canada continues to work with Aboriginal and provincial/territorial partners at approximately 100 treaty negotiation tables to conclude similar agreements that balance the rights of all Canadians.
"The measures announced today are the next step in the Government's response to the Eyford Report and other previous engagements. We are taking action to help address some of the key impediments to treaty negotiations in British Columbia and engaging on broader reforms to advance reconciliation across the country. Our goal is to work in partnership so we can seize opportunities to promote prosperous communities and economic development for the benefit of all Canadians."
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Minister
"I am pleased to be a part of this initiative to advance reconciliation with Aboriginal people. In my report, Forging Partnerships, Building Relationships, I noted the importance of open and constructive dialogue between governments and Aboriginal communities. To this end, I look forward to hearing the views of all parties on how best to reform the comprehensive land claims policy."
Ministerial Special Representative on Renewing the Comprehensive Land Claims Policy
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SOURCE Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada