THUNDER BAY – Kenora MP and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, Greg Rickford isn’t on holidays. In preparation for next week’s meetings with First Nations and the Government of Canada, Rickford was in Whitehorse this week for a meeting with Aboriginal stakeholders on the economy as part of the government’s coast-to-coast pre-budget consultation. “Our Government’s top priority continues to be the economy,” said Rickford. “Increasing Aboriginal participation in the economy is the most effective way to improve the well-being and quality of life of Aboriginal people in Canada. It is also important to Canada’s future economic prosperity.”
Leading up to the next federal Budget, the Government of Canada are holding consultations with Canadians from coast-to-coast on the economy. The consultations are an opportunity for Canadians to provide their views on the best way to create jobs and economic growth. As part of his consultation tour, Rickford met this week with Aboriginal stakeholders in St. John’s, Newfoundland; Montreal, Quebec; Vancouver, British Columbia; and Whitehorse, Yukon.
Rickford says, “Improving economic opportunities for Aboriginal people is a priority for the Government of Canada. In June 2009, the Government of Canada released the Federal Framework for Aboriginal Economic Development, which represents a fundamental change to how the federal government supports Aboriginal economic development. The Framework emphasizes strengthening entrepreneurship, enhancing the value of Aboriginal assets, forging new and effective partnerships to maximize economic development potential, developing Aboriginal human capital, and better focusing the role of the federal government”.
The Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, John Duncan has undergone treatment for a reported heart ailment. However the Minister is scheduled to be attending the First Nations summit meetings in Ottawa.
A number of First Nations leaders are expressing concern that Prime Minister Harper will be leaving the meetings early to attend an economic summit in Switzerland. The First Nation summit meeting was called by the Prime Minister in December.