The First Nations Leadership Council is expressing serious concerns about the Trudeau government's approach to Indigenous issues.
In a statement released today, Assembly of First Nations B.C. regional chief Terry Teegee said that it's important to maintain momentum in the nation-to-nation relationship. He noted that this is particularly important in the wake of one of his predecessors as B.C. regional chief, Jody Wilson-Raybould, being replaced as the minister of justice and attorney general.
Teegee declared that the work of "Wilson-Raybould and others has been positive".
Meanwhile, Cheryl Casimer of the First Nations Summit questioned why Wilson-Raybould was moved out of her portfolio and why the former minister of Indigenous services, Jane Philpott, was also replaced.
Wilson-Raybould is now the minister of veterans affairs and Philpott is president of the treasury board.
Casimer pointed out that this has occurred as the government is in the process of recognizing and implementing Aboriginal title and self-determination and laying the groundwork for Indigenous jurisdiction over child welfare.
"The departures of Wilson-Raybould and Philpott from their previous ministries at this critical juncture when this important work is underway or nearing fruition signals that the prime minister is no longer committed to reconciliation and reforging Canada’s relationship with Indigenous peoples, as a priority,” Casimer said.
The new justice minister and attorney general is Montreal-area MP David Lametti; the new minister of Indigenous services is Newfoundland and Labrador MP Seamus O'Reagan.
Last night on APTN National News, the president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, slammed Trudeau's decision to transfer Wilson-Raybould to another portfolio.
Today, he echoed some of those concerns in the statement issued by the First Nations Leadership Council.
“The removal of these critical and well-respected ministers, during a period of significant conflict and tension, demonstrates Trudeau’s lack of resolve to address Canada’s deplorable relationship with Indigenous peoples," Phillip said. "The prime minister has made a very clear decision to completely abandon the reconciliation agenda in favour of supporting business and industry in terms of oil and gas infrastructure development and similar projects."