Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement on a planned meeting with a delegation of First Nations leaders coordinated by the Assembly of First Nations:
"On January 24, 2012, I was pleased to participate in the historic Crown-First Nations Gathering. On that day, the Government of Canada and First Nations committed to making progress in the following areas:
- Improving relationships and strong partnerships between Canada and First Nations respectful of Aboriginal and Treaty rights as recognized and affirmed in the Constitution Act, 1982;
- Building effective, appropriate, transparent and fully accountable governance structures;
- Empowering success of individuals through access to education and opportunity;
- Enabling strong, sustainable, and self-sufficient communities;
- Creating conditions to accelerate economic development opportunities and maximize benefits for all Canadians;
- Respecting the role of First Nations' culture and language in our history and future.
"The Government and First Nations committed at the Gathering to maintaining the relationship through an ongoing dialogue that outlines clear goals and measures of progress and success. While some progress has been made, there is more that must be done to improve outcomes for First Nations communities across Canada.
"It is in this spirit of ongoing dialogue that, together with Minister Duncan, I will be participating in a working meeting with a delegation of First Nations leaders coordinated by the Assembly of First Nations on January 11, 2013. This working meeting will focus on two areas flowing from the Gathering: the treaty relationship and aboriginal rights, and economic development.
"The Government of Canada and First Nations have an enduring historic relationship based on mutual respect, friendship and support. The Government of Canada is committed to strengthening this relationship."