B.C. First Nations leader has demand for new federal Indian affairs minister

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      The newly appointed federal minister of Indian affairs needs to convince Prime Minister Stephen Harper to fully endorse the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, says the president of the B.C. Union of Indian Chiefs.

      “At this point the Harper government is making noises about a qualified level of support. We need absolute full support for the declaration as it stands,” Grand Chief Stewart Phillip told the Straight by phone.

      In 2007, the U.N General Assembly adopted the declaration, which affirms rights to self determination, freedom from discrimination, and control of traditional lands, among others.

      “International declarations and covenants cannot be domesticated. It defeats the purpose of international standards,” Phillip added.

      The federal government has previously defended its decision to not sign on to the non-legally binding declaration on the grounds it does not adequately balance individual and collective rights.

      Phillip's comments come following a minor Conservative cabinet shuffle announced today (August 6) in which Vancouver Island North MP John Duncan has been appointed the new minister of Indian affairs and northern development.

      Duncan replaces Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon MP Chuck Strahl who is now minister of transport, infrastructure and communities.

      Harper described Duncan as an experienced member of Parliament.

      “John’s solid work as parliamentary secretary to the minister of Indian affairs and northern development makes him a natural choice for this new role,” Harper says in a news release.

      Duncan could not be immediately reached for comment.

      Phillip expressed an interest in establishing a relationship with Duncan as Indian affairs minister, but noted he remains frustrated with the federal government’s “adversarial” approach to First Nations in Canada.

      “Everything rests on relationships,” Phillip said. “We all rise and fall on our ability to establish and sustain constructive, effective working relationships.”

      “Time will tell whether Mr. Duncan can rise to the challenge of doing that with the First Nations leadership in the province of British Columbia.”

      Meanwhile, Jody Wilson Raybould, regional chief of the B.C. Assembly of First Nations, welcomed Duncan’s appointment.

      “John has worked with aboriginal people for some time and has an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the issues and the challenges that we face,” Raybould told the Straight by phone.

      In particular, she noted Duncan has worked closely with First Nations groups on Vancouver Island.

      “His experience not only at the local level but at the national level will lend positive weight to continuing to develop positive relations between our nations and the Government of Canada,” Raybould said.

      The cabinet shuffle was triggered by Conservative MP Jay Hill’s plan to not run in the next federal general election.

      Hill, MP for Prince George-Peace River, has been replaced as leader of the government in the House of Commons by former transport minister John Baird.



      Demand Demand

      Aug 6, 2010 at 6:27pm

      Yawny McYawners...

      @Yawny McYawners...

      Aug 6, 2010 at 10:41pm

      just please don't forget to vote.

      Chief Long Tongue

      Aug 6, 2010 at 11:14pm

      I predicted this and I knew this was going to happen.It happens right after the G6 & G20 Summit meetings.This is being controlled by the Bilderberger Groups I say.
      Recall when Gordon Campbell was here in the news with the Bilderbergers?I think this is associated with the Harper Government to.That what is going on and that what is being going on ever since every Summit meetings.Never fails.
      http://www.straight.com/article-328809/vancouver/gordon-campbell-should-... and you recall this is also a meeting with G6 & G20 meetings?

      There..i said it.

      Aug 7, 2010 at 7:32pm

      I Demand first nations to play an active role on the DTES because of the disproportionate number of first nations users and abusers.

      Fact of the matter

      Aug 7, 2010 at 11:32pm

      This generation of "first nations" asks for more then they give. Today, this "white" generation owes nothing to the current generation, and even if we did it should not be the determining factor for them to thrive. Im curious to know the following...thousands of immigrants came to north america from all different parts of the world representing all different ethnicities and for the most part they were able to thrive, or at least we dont see Germans, Italians, or Norwegians flooding the streets, begging, and generally taking part in a disproportionate amount of crime and social dependance. Why?

      Why is it that this generation and the next is stuck with this? Is it not possible for a individual to say "I will make something of myself regardless of how my great great grand parents were treated"?

      #@$! arnt you tired of these people begging on the street and in the political arena.? If I was native I would make a point of proving I AS AN INDIVIDUAL can not only sustain myself but contribute. I have come from less and worse then any average native and give more back to society then 100, or even 1000 of their average combined.

      Its sad and disgusting at the same time. I will give some free advise to anyone with their hand out. Do something....anything. You arnt born with the righ to take from others who started off wit the same as you.


      Cat Thunder

      May 3, 2011 at 11:45pm

      Dear Pathetic;
      Interesting what your history has taught you.There are so many missing pieces of the puzzle you do not comprehend to this society we live in today.That's right go back to the history books like this
      2)Roman Catholic Churches
      4)No Treaties signed as yet.
      5)Declarations of indigenous people Stephen Harper did not want to sign.
      6)Still no treaties.
      7) http://gordonlara.blogspot.com//2010/10/premier-cambell-caught-in-anothe...
      8)We want to govern ourselves.....simple...
      9) http://www.playthegame.org/news/detaild/the-vancouver-olympics-and-john-...
      10) Massive Lawsuit coming...