Harper must treat First Nations with respect to regain trust: NDP
New Democrats say any path forward must be based on a nation-to-nation relationship
OTTAWA – As First Nations leaders gather in Ottawa for meetings with the federal government, New Democrat Leader Nycole Turmel urged the Prime Minister to work with First Nations, as full and equal partners moving forward.
“We all know the critical challenges facing Aboriginal communities,” said New Democrat Leader Nycole Turmel. “We saw it in Attawapiskat as we see it across the country. That is why First Nations are looking to this summit to reset their relationship with the federal government.”
“The government must acknowledge that treaties form the basis of their relationship with First Nations,” Turmel said. “It is an issue of trust and respect. Only when this government realizes that it must work in a nation-to-nation relationship with Aboriginal leaders will we start seeing real progress on the critical issues. Everything else flows from that.”
New Democrats are calling on the federal government to ensure that any new legislation or measures are developed in full consultation with First Nations.
“As National Chief Atleo has stated there needs to be a new fiscal relationship, mirroring the statutory guarantees granted to non-Aboriginal governments and Canadians for education, health, social services,” said New Democrat Aboriginal Affairs critic Linda Duncan (Edmonton-Strathcona). “We will be gauging the seriousness of the Conservative government’s commitments in the upcoming budget.”