Thunder Bay, (June 13, 2016) – On behalf of the Chiefs of Ontario, I want to congratulate Premier Kathleen Wynne upon today’s cabinet shuffle, which will renew and re-invigorate the government’s relationship with both Ontarians and First Nations. This shuffle comes two weeks to the day of the historic Statement of Reconciliation, and in the midst of positive nation to nation change as a result of the Political Accord signed last August.
We particularly look forward to working with Kathryn McGarry, the new Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry. As a former nurse, Ms. McGarry has insights into the health challenges faced by First Nations. She now has the opportunity to vastly improve the outcomes for our Peoples by facilitating more control of our lands and resources, as well as a fair share of the benefits already being derived from our lands.
New Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault already has seven years of experience as a Member of Parliament at the federal level dealing with First Nations’ issues on practically a daily basis. This knowledge will be invaluable on the many First Nation energy files that he will be engaged upon. At the same time, we want to thank outgoing Minister Bob Chiarelli for vastly improving relations with our Peoples during his tenure, and look forward to working with him as Minister of Infrastructure.
Just as importantly, the Chiefs of Ontario look forward to continuing and strengthening our relationship with Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation David Zimmer; Minister of Health and Long Term Care Eric Hoskins; Minister of Environment and Climate Change Glen Murray; Minister of Northern Development and Mines Michael Gravelle; Minister of Economic Development and Growth Brad Duguid; and all Cabinet Ministers. First Nation leadership will soon meet Premier Wynne and her new Cabinet at the All Ontario Chiefs Conference (AOCC), June 28-30 in Thunder Bay.
“There is much hard but rewarding work ahead of us in the coming two years of this government’s mandate,” concluded Regional Chief Day. “Along with our strong federal partners, First Nations in Ontario are poised to lead the way nationally in building happy, healthy communities, while securing our rightful place in Ontario and Canada.”
The Chiefs of Ontario is a political forum, and a secretariat for collective decision making, action, and advocacy for the 133 First Nation communities located within the boundaries of the province of Ontario, Canada.