Anishinabek Nation-Union of Ontario Indians

August 14, 2007 16:49 ET

Mixed feelings, optimism from First Nations

Attention: News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor NIPISSING FIRST NATION, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 14, 2007) - The leader of the Anishinabek Nation has "mixed feelings" about the Cabinet shuffle of Prime Minister Stephen Harper but is optimistic about maintaining the good relationship already established with the Conservative Government.

"I have mixed feelings about this cabinet shuffle and in particular the changes to the Indian Affairs portfolio," said Grand Council Chief John Beaucage, leader of the 42-member First Nations of the Anishinabek Nation. "It has taken a great deal of work to establish a government-to-government relationship with the Conservatives. However, I am very pleased with the current relationship and we're optimistic that the momentum will continue under new Minister Chuck Strahl," said Beaucage.

In July, the Union of Ontario Indians became the first aboriginal organization in the Ontario to establish a bilateral relationship with the Harper Conservatives. Grand Council Chief John Beaucage and former Minister Jim Prentice met to discuss a new comprehensive approach to self-government negotiations, economic development and how the new government-to-government relationship would be established. Back in February, the Minister of Indian Affairs and the Grand Council Chief signed a self-government Agreement-in-Principle with respect to Governance.

Grand Council Chief Beaucage expressed optimism upon hearing the news that Chuck Strahl will be assuming the role as Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. He is already taking steps to seek a first face-to-face meeting with Strahl and looks forward to that first meeting.

"I look forward to working with Minister Strahl," said Grand Council Chief. "I have a great respect for Strahl's integrity and I'm confident that the relationship we've established will continue under his leadership."

Grand Council Chief Beaucage will take the opportunity to discuss more challenging issues with the new Minister, including establishing a new Specific Claims regime, addressing poverty, the First Nations housing crisis and reviving the goals and commitments of the Kelowna Accord.

Grand Council Chief Beaucage also looks forward to continuing his agenda in Economic Development with the new Minister of Industry, Jim Prentice. Beaucage has treasured the one-on-one time he's had with Minister Prentice and hopes that his experience in Indian Affairs will lead to more opportunities for First Nation within Industry Canada.

"We would like to thank Minister Prentice for his work as Minister of Indian Affairs," The relationship that we've established over the past 18 months is due largely due to Minister Prentice's progressive vision."

The Anishinabek Nation incorporated the Union of Ontario Indians as its secretariat in 1949. The UOI is the political advocate for 42 member First Nations in Ontario, and is the oldest political organization in Ontario, tracing its origins to the Confederacy of Three Fires, which existed long before European contact. /For further information: Marci Becking
Communications Office
(705) 497-9127/ IN: POLITICS

Contact Information

  • Bob Goulais, Executive Assistant/Chief of Staff, Union of Ontario Indians
    Primary Phone: 705-498-5250
    Secondary Phone: 705-497-9127 ext. 2249
    Toll-Free: 877-702-5200
    E-mail: goubob@anishinabek.ca