Feds overhauling relationship with Indigenous peoples

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Photo Perry Bellegarde, national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, and Jane Philpott, Canada's minister of indigenous services, at a special assembly meeting in Ottawa a year ago.

During his speech, Mr. Trudeau said that his father, former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, initially did not want to include Indigenous rights when Canada created its current Constitution in 1982.

Sources said the prime minister's speech has been in the works for a long time.

"We need a government shift in how we do things", Justin Trudeau announced in the House of Commons on Wednesday.

"We need to both recognize and implement Indigenous rights, because the truth is., until we get this part right, we won't have lasting success on the concrete outcomes that we know mean so much to people", Trudeau said.

In addition, the sources said, the government will create a system, after an engagement with Indigenous peoples and other Canadians, that will allow First Nations to take on the powers of self-government and start managing their own affairs as they are able to do so.

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"The denial of Indigenous peoples rights continued under this government despite their promise for real change", said Saganash, the party's critic for reconciliation and himself a Cree from northern Quebec.

The exact make-up of this framework has yet to be determined.

The consultations will be led by Jody Wilson-Raybould, the justice minister, and Carolyn Bennett, the Indigenous relations minister, with the aim of putting changes in place by fall 2019.

The new policy, which will be formalized in legislation, is aimed at moving cases out of courts and onto negotiating tables, saving years of legal battles and millions of dollars annually in fees, said the sources.

While treaty rights with aboriginals are already recognized under Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the framework would ensure the constitution is the starting point for such matters as resource development, self-governance, land rights and social issues.

"It's about time", Mr. John said.

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