(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde says today’s Speech from the Throne opening the 43rd Parliament is an opportunity to maintain momentum and progress for First Nations.
“Today’s Speech from the Throne mirrors many First Nations priorities and is an important opportunity to maintain momentum and progress,” said AFN National Chief Bellegarde. “This is the first Throne Speech to include a section on ‘Reconciliation’ and it commits to a path forward that we pushed for – from a commitment to honouring the spirit and intent of the Treaties, action on the climate crisis, legislation on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and ongoing progress on a better quality of infrastructure and a better quality of life for our people. The key to maintaining progress is working together based on the Treaty relationship of partnership, mutual recognition, mutual respect and sharing. I look forward to working with the government on an ambitious agenda that will make a stronger country for all of us.”
Today’s Speech from the Throne set out a number of initiatives that involve or affect First Nations, including action to work jointly with First Nations on legislation to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the first year of the new mandate; continuing work on safe drinking water and eliminating all long-term drinking water advisories by 2021; high-quality, culturally relevant health care and mental health services,; implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, and the Calls for Justice of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls; and promises on infrastructure; self-government; child welfare and more. Commitments to addressing gender-based violence and economic growth for all of Canada respond to priorities of First Nations and provide a strong role for First Nations to set the path forward.
The AFN outlined its priorities during the 2019 election in its Honouring Promises document, which can be found here: https://www.afn.ca/2019/09/09/the-afn-launches-honouring-promises-2019-election-priorities-for-first-nations-and-canada/
The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.