Government of Canada continues exclusionary approach towards CAP and off-reserve Indigenous Peoples
October 2, 2017 (Ottawa, ON) – National Chief Robert Bertrand of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP) is deeply concerned with the repeated exclusion by the federal government in high-level meetings impacting the lives of urban Indigenous peoples in Canada.
CAP was not invited to the upcoming First Ministers’ Meeting (FMM) on sustainable economic growth scheduled to take place on October 3, 2017 in Ottawa.
“It has become abundantly clear that Prime Minister Trudeau is not interested in a renewed relationship with all Indigenous Peoples but rather one based on a selection of his own choosing, while at the same time silencing important voices who have a right to be at the table,” stated National Chief Bertrand.
Through his exclusionary behaviour, Prime Minister Trudeau continues to damage the longstanding relationship between CAP and Canada, a relationship that has been growing since the inaugural First Ministers’ Conference on Aboriginal Constitutional Matters in 1983.
“Ottawa should not be cherry picking which Indigenous peoples it wants to recognize and deal with.” said National Chief Bertrand.
Since taking office in November 2015, Prime Minister Trudeau has claimed repeatedly that: “No relationship is more important to Canada than the relationship with Indigenous Peoples.” He also committed to working in partnership to fully implement the Calls to Action of the TRC, starting with the implementation of the UNDRIP.
“I would ask Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to put those words, that commitment, into a form of reconciliatory action that encompasses all Indigenous peoples, regardless of status or residency” stated National Chief Bertrand. “This action should also include further steps towards cementing a working relationship between CAP and the federal government on the Daniels decision.
The Supreme Court of Canada’s landmark ruling on Daniels v. Canada on April 14, 2016 declared that Métis and non-status Indians are “Indians” under s. 91(24) of the Constitution Act, 1867. This affirmed Canada’s constitutional responsibility for Métis and non-status Indians. CAP spearheaded and actively fought the Daniels case through to its victory for seventeen years.
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The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples is the national voice representing the interests of Métis, status and non-status Indians, and Southern Inuit Indigenous People living off-reserve. Today, over 70% of Indigenous people live off-reserve.