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October 26, 2009
For immediate release

Minister Meets with First Nations’ Leaders

Communities, Cultural Affairs and Labour

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The Hon. Carolyn Bertram, Minister of Communities, Cultural Affairs and Labour and Minister Responsible for Aboriginal Affairs, recently met with Prince Edward Island’s Mi’kmaq Leaders to discuss their concerns and priorities in advance of the national conference of Aboriginal Affairs Ministers in Toronto, October 28-29.

This meeting provided an opportunity for Minister Bertram, Minister Responsible for Aboriginal Affairs, to sit down with Chief Darlene Bernard from Lennox Island and Chief Brian Francis of Abegweit First Nation, to discuss issues of concern for PEI Mi’kmaq, and to seek information on their thoughts and vision for the future. Minister Bertram is representing Prince Edward Island at the conference.

The Aboriginal Affairs Ministers’ Conference will be the first national meeting on aboriginal issues since Kelowna in 2005.

“Kelowna was a step forward by Government and Aboriginal leaders, as it involved a process of cooperation and consultation that brought all parties to the table,” said Minister Bertram. “We want to ensure that that spirit of cooperation continues both here on PEI and across the nation.”

The Minister will continue to meet with First Nations’ Leaders on a quarterly basis in the interest of maintaining open, transparent and cooperative communications.

“I am pleased Minister Bertram and her staff are committed to working in partnership with PEI Mi’kmaq leadership to ensure important issues are discussed and appropriate solutions are found through cooperation, respect, and in the spirit of partnership,” said Chief Bernard.

“A positive working relationship with the Government of PEI is important to ensure the issues of importance for PEI Mi’kmaq are addressed, and meeting on a quarterly basis will ensure the government is abundantly aware of those critical issues,” said Chief Francis.

Don MacKenzie, Director of Intergovernmental Affairs with the Mi’kmaq Confederacy of Prince Edward Island (MCPEI) will attend the Aboriginal Affairs Ministers’ Conference this week, as part of the PEI Delegation to Toronto.

In December 2007, the Government of Prince Edward Island, the Government of Canada and MCPEI signed the Canada-PEI-Mi’kmaq Partnership Agreement, which established an effective process to make progress in areas of mutual concern such as education, health, child and family services, justice, and economic development. The goal of the Agreement was to assist in restoring, revitalizing and strengthening the Mi'kmaq of Prince Edward Island, their communities and families, improving their quality of life and establishing a new partnership among the three orders of government.

Media Contact: Autumn Tremere
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