Statement by the Honourable Chris Bentley Minister of Aboriginal Affairs
I am pleased that Canada has agreed to support the United Nations' Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
The Declaration is an aspirational document which speaks to the individual and collective rights of Indigenous peoples, taking into account their specific cultural, social and economic circumstances.
In December 2009, Premier Dalton McGuinty asked the Government of Canada to reconsider its position on the Declaration. As well, in February 2010, a motion was tabled in the Ontario Legislature asking the Federal Government to reconsider its position within the context of Canada's constitutional and treaty framework and related jurisprudence.
Ontario has been moving forward to strengthen its relationship with Aboriginal people. For example:
- we created the first stand alone ministry of Aboriginal Affairs in Ontario
- established the Ipperwash Inquiry Priorities and Action Committee to work towards implementing the recommendations of the Ipperwash Inquiry Report
- entered into a gaming revenue sharing agreement with First Nations worth an estimated $3 billion over 25 years
- established a New Relationship Fund worth $85 million to support capacity building for Aboriginal communities and organizations
- launched a Skills Training fund worth $45 million over three years
- signed a framework agreement with the Métis Nation of Ontario
- proclaimed 2010 as the Year of the Métis.