AFN National Chief – First Nations Peoples and Issues Must Remain Top Priority

Assembly of First Nations Grand Chief Perry Bellegarde
Assembly of First Nations Grand Chief Perry Bellegarde

OTTAWA – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde has responded to today’s federal cabinet shuffle stating “Continued commitment and progress on First Nations priorities is critical to moving forward and closing the gap between First Nations and the rest of Canada.”

“Cabinet positions will change, but First Nations peoples and issues must remain a top priority,” said AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde.  “We will work to ensure the entire cabinet understands that the First Nations agenda is Canada’s agenda. Progress moves us all forward. We’ll be delivering this message to the Prime Minister and his cabinet at our meeting today on First Nations priorities.”

National Chief Bellegarde and AFN Regional Chiefs are meeting with the Prime Minister and senior cabinet ministers this afternoon consistent with commitments under the AFN-Canada Memorandum of Understanding on Joint Priorities. The meeting was scheduled prior to the announcement of today’s cabinet shuffle.

National Chief Bellegarde noted some changes to key portfolios dealing with the First Nations agenda.

“I look forward to meeting with the new Minister of Indigenous Services Seamus O’Regan and the new Attorney General David Lametti as soon as possible,” said National Chief Bellegarde. “We lift up the work of former Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould as the first Indigenous Justice Minister and her efforts to bring a First Nations perspective to Canada’s legal system. I look forward to our continued work together in her new role as Minister of Veterans Affairs.  Justice for First Nations veterans has been a long-standing priority for me and for the AFN.  I’m honoured to have worked with the new Treasury Board President Jane Philpott and acknowledge all her efforts as Minister of Indigenous Services. Her openness and commitment to working together is a positive example for all governments.”

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