NIPISSING FIRST NATION, ON, October 11 – Anishinabek Nation leader John Beaucage says Dalton McGuinty’s election victory represents a mandate for the Liberals to continue the Ontario government’s initiatives in dealing with First Nations issues.
“The citizens of Ontario have spoken loud and clear that they trust in the McGuinty government and the direction in which they have taken the province,” said Grand Council Chief Beaucage. “This includes the direction that the government has taken in First Nations affairs. We must continue to work on the nation-to-nation relationship we’ve been working on for the past four years.”
Beaucage will be seeking a meeting with the premier-elect to present him with thousands of postcards that were part of the Anishinabek Nation’s “Era of Action” campaign asking the provincial government to take urgent action on key recommendations from the Ipperwash Inquiry Report, including a call for prompt and equitable resolution of land claims through the establishment of an independent Treaty Commission of Ontario, and the province working with First Nations to establish co-management and resource-sharing initiatives.
“Premier McGuinty and his Minister of Aboriginal Affairs need to be vigilant in addressing the issues in Caledonia,” Beaucage said. “That won’t get resolved anytime soon without a firm commitment from the province to work with First Nations and the federal government on the establishment of the Treaty Commission.”
Beaucage specifically congratulated David Ramsay – who was appointed Ontario’s first Minister of Aboriginal Affairs following the release of the Ipperwash Inquiry report – on his re-election in Timiskaming-Cochrane riding.
The Grand Council Chief expressed disappointment that Ontario voters rejected an opportunity to establish a new form of proportional representation that would see parties attracting at least three per cent of provincial votes winning seats in the Legislative Assembly.
“We continue to hold out hope that the electoral system may one day allow for proportional representation so that First Nations may take our place in the legislature,” said Beaucage. “A First Peoples party would almost certainly appeal to the 100,000 eligible First Nations voters in Ontario, as well as many others.”
The Anishinabek Nation incorporated the Union of Ontario Indians as its secretariat in 1949.
The UOI is a political advocate for 42 member First Nations across Ontario.
The Union of Ontario Indians is the oldest political organization in Ontario and can trace its roots back to the Confederacy of Three Fires, which existed long before European contact.