As I have stated before, resolving past injustices will take time, and can only be achieved with sustained support and collaboration. We know there is still more to be done and we will continue to work together to ensure that we get this right.
Here are the highlights of the process of reconciliation our Government has undertaken with Indigenous people.
On December 15, 2016, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau committed to a permanent bilateral mechanism process with Indigenous leaders to establish shared priorities and monitor progress further. Since then, the Government of Canada has signed the following agreements with Indigenous leaders:
- In February 2017, the Prime Minister and President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami signed a Declaration announcing the Inuit-Crown Partnership Committee, which will advance shared priorities including the implementation of Inuit land claims agreements, social development, and reconciliation between Inuit and the Government of Canada.
- In April 2017, the Prime Minister and the President of the Métis National Council and its Governing Members signed the Canada-Métis Nation Accord during the first Métis Nation-Crown Summit. The Accord marks a significant step towards a renewed government-to-government relationship based on recognition of rights, respect, co-operation and partnership.
- In June 2017, the Prime Minister and the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations signed a Memorandum of Understanding on shared priorities during the first AFN-Crown meeting under the new permanent bilateral mechanism process. The MOU will help guide discussions toward advancing shared priorities, assessing progress towards goals for First Nations, and facilitating the ongoing work of building a true nation-to-nation relationship between Canada and First Nations.
Budget 2017 proposes to invest $13.7 million over two years to support the establishment of these new permanent bilateral mechanisms.
Budget 2017’s $3.4 billion, building on the historic investments of Budget 2016’s $8.4 billion, will continue to support the aspirations of Indigenous people. It will help build stronger communities and close the socio-economic gap from coast-to-coast-to-coast.
As a meaningful investment in Reconciliation, our government has committed $11.8-billion in our first two budgets to address the needs of Indigenous people.
Here are some additional concrete examples of what our government has done since October 2015 to help Indigenous communities across Canada, including commitments in the recently tabled Budget 2017:
- Our Government is committed to fully address the Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and we are already making progress on two thirds of the Calls to Action for which the Federal government has full or shared responsibility (49 out of 72).
- We launched the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Inquiry. We are still deeply committed to ending this ongoing national tragedy. We know more still needs to be done and are committed to getting it right.
- We have committed to fully implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in accordance with the Canadian Constitution and is working in full partnership with Indigenous Peoples on the path forward.
- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has assembled a working group of ministers to review all federal laws and policies as they relate to Indigenous peoples. The group will help ensure the Crown is meeting its constitutional obligations with respect to Aboriginal and treaty rights.
- In Budget 2016, the Government committed to invest an unprecedented $8.4 billion over five years in Indigenous communities across Canada. The proposed investments in education, infrastructure, training and other programs are targeted to improve the quality of life for Indigenous peoples.
- Budget 2017 builds on last year’s historic investments for Indigenous communities by proposing to invest an additional $4 billion over 10 years , starting in 2018–19, to build and improve housing, water treatment systems, health facilities and other community infrastructure.
- We have committed to a new approach to Jordan’s Principle, integrated with the Provinces and Territories, to make sure no child falls through the gap, and to a further $382 million over three years in new funding to expand the definition of Jordan’s Principle. An additional 3200 children are now receiving services and support because of it.
- Budget 2017 provides $89.9 million over the next three years to preserve, protect and revitalize Indigenous languages and cultures.
- We have provided funding of $1.8 million for Reconciliation Canada to engage with Canadians on reconciliation. A narrative will come from this to recognize our common history, highlight current achievements and create hope for the next 150 years.
- On June 15, 2017, Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage; Clément Chartier, President of the Métis Nation; Natan Obed, President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and National Chief Perry Bellegarde of the Assembly of First Nations, made a declaration of intent to collaborate on the co-development of legislation to ensure the preservation, protection and revitalization of Métis, Inuit and First Nations languages.
For Manitoba’s Indigenous communities, progress has been made, including:
- $58 million is currently being invested on 24 First Nations in Manitoba to prevent and address long-term drinking water advisories and improve capacity and reliability of water and wastewater systems. Of these 24 projects, 1 is at the feasibility stage, 10 are at the design stage, and 13 are at the construction stage.
- In December 2016, the Government of Canada and the Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre signed the historic Education Governance Agreement for the creation of the Manitoba First Nations school board that will be fully operational for the 2017-18 school year.
- funding to the Assembly of Manitoba’s Chiefs to hold community engagement sessions on Manitoba’s child-welfare system to make changes that will keep kids with families and focus on a child-centred approach
- $50 million over two years (2016-2018) to upgrade health facilities in Manitoba First Nations, including new health facilities in Cross Lake First Nation, God’s Lake Narrows First Nation, Lac Brochet First Nation and Red Sucker Lake First Nation.
These investments aim to improve the overall well-being of indigenous communities, including housing, health services, education, cultural revitalisation and economic development.