Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada

December 06, 2011 15:15 ET

Harper Government Introduces First Nations Elections Act

GATINEAU, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Dec. 6, 2011) - The Harper Government today introduced the First Nations Elections Act in Parliament. This new legislation, announced by the Honourable John Duncan, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, is taking action on our Government's commitment and priority to provide all Canadians with strong, accountable and transparent governments.

"Our Government has developed this historic piece of legislation with First Nations to deliver real improvements to their election processes," said Minister Duncan. "First Nations will have the choice to 'opt in' to this new election system that will help First Nations create the political stability necessary for solid business investments and long term planning that will lead to increased economic development, job creation and improved quality of life for the community."

The First Nations Elections Act addresses longstanding issues with the current election system under the Indian Act. This new legislation was created using the recommendations provided by the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nation Chiefs (APC) and the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) following a national engagement process with First Nations on the development of a better electoral system for First Nations.

"The development of a modern election system for our First Nation Governments will help all of us to look toward the longer term and build confidence in our governance so we can pursue our goals of economic development," said Chief Lawrence Paul of Millbrook First Nation and APC Co-Chair (Nova Scotia).

"This bill is 'paving new ground' by providing a viable legislative alternative to the Indian Act election system which will support the stability of leadership, long-term planning and increased accountability," added Chief Candice Paul of St. Mary's First Nation and APC Co-Chair (New Brunswick).

"This is another concrete example of our government's work with willing partners to support strong, stable, and effective governance," said the Honourable Peter Penashue, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada.

There are currently 240 First Nations in Canada who hold elections under the Indian Act electoral system and 341 First Nations who hold elections under their community or custom election code; all of whom can choose to opt in to the proposed legislation. This initiative will not affect the 36 First Nations who currently select their leaders under self-government agreements.

To learn more about the contents of the proposed First Nations Elections Act, please consult the Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada website.

This release is also available on the Internet at www.aandc-aadnc.gc.ca

Backgrounder - First Nations Elections Act

Frequently Asked Questions - First Nations Elections Act

Fact Sheet - Understanding First Nation Elections

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Contact Information

  • Minister's Office
    Moira Wolstenholme
    Press Secretary
    Office of the Honourable John Duncan
    819-997-0002

    Media Relations
    Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
    819-953-1160