McGuinty Government Creates Ministry Of Aboriginal Affairs
Calls On Federal Government To Help Solve Land Claims
The Ontario government will now have a stand-alone Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs to build a stronger relationship with Aboriginal people and speed up the resolution of outstanding issues, said Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty.
"We have to roll up our sleeves and do the hard work of building trust and forging a more productive relationship with Aboriginal people -- because we know from the past that confrontation doesn't work," said Premier McGuinty. "This new ministry will work with First Nations leaders to carry out Justice Linden's recommendations so we can move forward, together, in creating a higher quality of life for everyone in Ontario."
Minister Ramsay becomes Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, in addition to his duties as Natural Resources Minister. The new ministry is a significant and symbolic step that reflects the importance of developing a stronger, broader partnership with Ontario's Aboriginal people. It will have its own deputy minister and dedicated resources.
It will :
- Work with the federal government on a new process that would expedite land claims here in Ontario
- Launch a New Relationship Fund, which will help Aboriginal communities strengthen their skills and resources to work more seamlessly with governments, and
- Work towards resolving the future use of Ipperwash Park by the end of the year -- together with First Nations, local residents and the federal government -- in a way that is fair, transparent and inclusive.
Since October 2003, the McGuinty government has been implementing change to deliver better health care, education, economic opportunities and justice for Aboriginal peoples by working together in Ontario's New Approach to Aboriginal Affairs.
"Ontario is committed to working with Aboriginal Peoples to build the trust and mutual respect that leads to real progress," said Premier McGuinty. "As we move forward, we'll continue calling on the federal government to assume its responsibilities to resolve long-standing land claims, strengthen the relationship with Aboriginal communities and help us build a higher quality of life for Aboriginal people and all Ontarians."