OTTAWA – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde a statement following Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s announcement of removing Ms. Jody Wilson-Raybould and Dr. Jane Philpott from the Liberal caucus.
“I have expressed my disappointment with the departure of both Jody Wilson-Raybould and Dr. Jane Philpott from cabinet. Both leaders were assets to the cabinet table and have shown strong genuine interest in working directly with First Nations advancing our priorities. I commend both women for their integrity, courage and all their efforts to advance First Nations priorities to date. I hope they continue to contribute in their roles as independent Members of Parliament.
The events of the past few weeks raise serious concerns about the motivations and actions of this government. In order to regain First Nations’ trust, we must all recommit ourselves to reconciliation and I urge both the Government of Canada and all parliamentarians to focus on passing key First Nation legislative priorities in this session of parliament. This includes supporting a better future for First Nations children and families based on respect for our rights, languages, and cultures. First Nations priorities are good for First Nations and Canada.
Reconciliation is not about one political party or individual. It’s about all of us. We must all act to advance reconciliation in every avenue available to us. I will continue to advocate for the respect and implementation of First Nations rights and title and to close the gap between First Nations and Canada. “