Ontario Regional Chief Ready to Get to Work with New Federal Liberal Ministers

Chief Isadore Day has declared his intention to seek the role as Ontario Regional Chief
Chief Isadore Day, Ontario Regional Chief

Parliament HillTORONTO – Ontario Regional Chief Day says, “On behalf of the First Nation leadership in Ontario, I offer congratulations to Prime Minister Trudeau and his newly appointed Cabinet. Today promises to be an historic new beginning for all Indigenous people in Canada.

I would also like to acknowledge the shift to a more appropriate name change to Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada and look forward to working with newly-named Minister Carolyn Bennett.

We are looking to this government who have two Indigenous cabinet members and a slate of Indigenous MPs to address five key challenges:

  1. Ending the First Nations health crisis, which can only be addressed by fixing the water crisis, ensuring access to health services, and fixing health benefits for First Nations;
  2. Eliminating abject poverty through investments in housing, healthy affordable food, infrastructure, education and training;
  3. Immediately implementing mental health and addiction services to address the youth suicide crisis, prescription drug abuse, and mental wellness
  4. Recognizing First Nation authority over land and resources, as recognized within our Treaties; and
  5. Repairing the relationship between Ottawa and First Nations, which has been severely damaged by 10 years of hostile, unilateral, paternalistic approaches.
  6. Repairing the relationship between Ottawa and First Nations, which has been severely damaged by 10 years of hostile, unilateral, paternalistic approaches.

Chief Day states, “The province of Ontario is founded on Treaties made between settler governments and Indigenous Nations.  We now expect the new government to honour this relationship to the highest standard.  And look forward to working with Canada in a manner that respects our Nation to Nation relationship to address our key challenges so we can ensure our rightful place on our own land. The honour of the Crown requires nothing less.

“In the days to come, I look forward to working with Minister Carolyn Bennett and Health Minister Jane Philpott, specifically in my new role as Chair of the AFN Chiefs Committee on Health.

“It is also inspiring to see Jody Wilson-Raybould named as the Minister of Justice and the Attorney General of Canada. She is a strong First Nation leader who brings a keen understanding of traditional justice systems and community needs.

“Far too many of our Peoples are prisoners of poverty and despair. Now is the time to invest in First Nation prosperity. We need to start with the determinants of health: clean water, affordable food and safe homes. These three critical elements will, no doubt, require investments totalling billions of dollars.”

“Once these investments are made, our Peoples will become healthy, happy contributors to their communities and to this country. We will finally break free of these prisons of poverty, and pay back those investments tenfold in the decades to come.

“We can be the proponents and partners in major energy and resource developments. We can ensure that these projects are environmentally sustainable as possible, and monitored for healthy ecological co-existence.

“The time to be proactive, the time to invest in First Nations is now. We want what all Canadians want – safe, prosperous, happy lives for ourselves and our children. Today we will work to secure our rightful place within Canada.”

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