OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 4, 2012) - The Honourable John Duncan, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, announced today plans to work with its partners on a new approach to treaty and self-government negotiations.
"The current process allows negotiations to carry on for years, with no foreseeable end, creating financial liabilities for Aboriginal communities and impeding economic investment opportunities," said Minister Duncan. "We are responding to the many calls for a faster process by focusing our energies and resources on those negotiating tables with the greatest potential for success."
Aboriginal groups, the provinces and the private sector have long called for a faster process. They say that it takes far too long to conclude agreements, which only serves to postpone opportunities for economic growth and self-sufficiency for Aboriginal communities. Negotiations can take up to 30 years to conclude an agreement, and the average negotiating time is approximately 15 years. Lengthy negotiations are costly for all parties and create financial liabilities for Aboriginal groups.
To accelerate progress in negotiations, Canada is moving toward a results-based approach. Canada will focus its resources on tables with the greatest potential for success, while considering options to improve access to other tools outside the negotiation process that address Aboriginal rights and promote economic development and self-sufficiency. Canada will also look at ways to speed up its internal processes.
"We cannot afford to wait another generation," added Minister Duncan. "Negotiated agreements help to strengthen Aboriginal communities, creating new business, investment and job opportunities. We will work with willing partners to achieve more treaties in less time so that Aboriginal communities can begin to unlock these economic opportunities."
There will be discussions on the new approach at the national level with key Aboriginal organizations, such as the Assembly of First Nations, as part of ongoing joint work on these issues. Canada will also engage with Aboriginal groups and provincial and territorial partners on the best way to move forward at negotiating tables to achieve timely results and ensure that resources are being used effectively to promote certainty, self-sufficiency and expeditious resolution. Their input will inform decision making about Canada's participation at individual tables and how best to focus its resources to achieve faster results. This engagement will take place in the coming months at individual tables across the country and at the regional level with provincial and territorial partners.
This release, related background information and a map of negotiating tables across the country are also available on the Internet at www.aandc.gc.ca.
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