TORONTO, ON – Anishinaabe — I wish to congratulate Mr. Trudeau on his well-deserved majority victory tonight and look forward to rethinking, repairing, reconciling the relationship between First Nations and the Canadian Government.
This Election Day, Canadians have chosen to end a decade of discrimination and fear. Canadians have said that they are not prepared for another generation of missed opportunities and that this land is one where race, ethnicity and nation should not limit opportunities for success and growth.
As Regional Chief of Ontario, I announced the five key challenges that the next government must work with First Nations to fix. Those challenges are: the health and clean drinking water crisis; the cycle of poverty; access to mental health and addiction services; recognizing First Nation authority and jurisdictions; and repairing the relationship between Ottawa and First Nations. I have called for a new formal relationship, for an end to chronic boiled water advisories, an inquiry into the murdered and missing Indigenous women and addressing the First Nation health crisis.
I commend Mr. Trudeau for acknowledging the challenges faced by First Nations and committing to work with First Nations on a nation-to-nation basis to fix them. Mr. Trudeau’s commitments to end chronic boiled water advisories in five years and to invest in First Nations education demonstrate a forward looking plan that supports stronger First Nations communities.
There will be difficult work ahead. There are great damages to repair after a decade of lost progress. However, I am hopeful that tonight is the beginning of a new era in Canada – one where Indian Status will no longer be a barrier to health care, education or economic opportunity.
Canada can only be as strong as the Treaty relationship on which it was founded. I look forward to working with Mr. Trudeau to repair the relationship between Ottawa and First Nations and to secure First Nations rightful place in a better, stronger, more hopeful Canada.