Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

March 10, 2011 11:03 ET

Minister Duncan Re-Appoints Treaty Commissioners for Manitoba and Saskatchewan

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 10, 2011) - The Honourable John Duncan, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians, announced today the re-appointments of James Brook Wilson as Commissioner of the Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba and the Honourable Bill McKnight as Commissioner of the Office of the Treaty Commissioner for Saskatchewan.

"I am very pleased that Mr. Wilson and Mr. McKnight have agreed to continue to lead the Commissions' important work to raise public awareness of historic treaties," said Minister Duncan. "Along with these re-appointments, I am also happy to announce that the mandate of both Commissions has been extended for another three-year term."

A treaty commission is a neutral, arms-length body that supports discussions about treaties. The Office of the Treaty Commissioner (OTC) and the Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba (TRCM) were created in partnership with First Nation organizations. The OTC was first established in June 1989 by Canada and the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations. The TRCM was established in 2005 by Canada and the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs. The work of both Commissions includes activities such as public education, facilitation and independent research.

The mandate of both treaty commissions will run until March 31, 2014. Mr. Wilson will serve a term of three years, effective April 1, 2011, and Mr. McKnight will serve a term of one year.

Treaty commissions are part of the government's ongoing commitment to address historic treaty issues through co-operative relationships with Treaty First Nations.

Appointments to the Commission are made by the Governor in Council and are based on the guiding principles of competency, professionalism and accessibility to all Canadians.

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Biographical Note

The Honourable W. H. (Bill) McKnight, PC

Born in Elrose, Saskatchewan, Bill McKnight, served Canada as Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development from 1986 to 1989. During his time as a Member of Parliament (1979-1993) he also served as Minister for the following portfolios: Labour, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Western Economic Diversification, National Defense (during the first Gulf War), Agriculture and Energy, Mines and Resources.

Mr. McKnight is a Director of Cline Mining Corporation, a Canadian public company whose shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and is also a Director of several other public and private companies. In addition, he is the principal of McKnight and Associates, a Canadian-based international, professional services firm providing strategic business development.

As a successful private businessman and senior Minister and a member of the Inner Cabinet, Mr. McKnight developed a unique strategic planning ability important in today's global business environment.

Biographical Note

James Brook Wilson

James Brook Wilson was first appointed to serve as Commissioner for the Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba in June of 2010. Mr. Wilson will continue to serve as Commissioner until March 31, 2014.

Mr. Wilson brings to this position extensive experience in the education field. In 2008, he graduated with a Masters in Education Administration from the University of Manitoba. Since graduating, he has worked as the Director of Education for the Opaskwayak Education Authority Inc.

In 2008, Mr. Wilson was the recipient of the Pas and Area Chamber of Commerce "Citizen of the Year" award. His experience and leadership on various boards and committees over the years will benefit the Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba.

Contact Information

  • Minister's Office
    Michele-Jamali Paquette
    Press Secretary
    Office of the Honourable John Duncan
    Media Relations
    Indian and Northern Affairs Canada