CHARLOTTETOWN, PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND--(Marketwire - Aug. 13, 2012) - The Honourable John Duncan, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development; the Honourable Robert Ghiz, Premier of Prince Edward Island; Brian Francis, Chief of the Abegweit First Nation and Darlene Bernard, Chief of Lennox Island First Nation, have signed an agreement which establishes a consultation process with the Mi'kmaq of Prince Edward Island.
"This important Agreement demonstrates Canada's commitment to developing an effective and collaborative approach to consultations," said Minister Duncan. "Our Government is pleased to sign on to this Agreement as it will support consistency, predictability, and timeliness in project reviews. The co-operative spirit of this agreement will make a lasting difference as we continue to make progress on important issues affecting the Mi'kmaq of Prince Edward Island."
"The Government of Prince Edward Island is pleased to establish an agreement that reflects our commitment to consult the Mi'kmaq on activities or decisions that may impact Aboriginal or treaty rights," said Premier Ghiz. "This agreement reinforces a valued partnership between government and the Mi'kmaq of Prince Edward Island."
"On behalf of all of the Mi'kmaq on Prince Edward Island, we are encouraged by and appreciate the collaborative efforts to develop a protocol that will serve as a vehicle for the enhanced protection of Aboriginal and treaty rights in the province," said Chief Brian Francis, on behalf of himself and Chief Darlene Bernard. "We are pleased to participate in the development of a workable process to address consultation issues which we hope will advance the interests and needs of the Mi'kmaq First Nations on Prince Edward Island."
This Agreement establishes a clear and efficient means for Canada and Prince Edward Island to consult the Mi'kmaq on proposed actions or decisions that may adversely impact asserted or established Aboriginal and treaty rights. The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in the 2004 Haida and Taku River decisions and the 2005 Mikisew decision that the federal and provincial Crowns have a legal duty to consult, and, where appropriate, accommodate in such circumstances.
This Agreement builds on the success of the Partnership Agreement which was signed by the parties in 2007 to address matters of mutual concern and advance the quality of life outcomes for the Mi'kmaq of Prince Edward Island in areas such as education, health, child and family services, justice, and economic development.
It is the second agreement of its kind on the East Coast, following the Nova Scotia Consultation Terms of Reference signed by the Mi'kmaq of Nova Scotia, the Province of Nova Scotia and Canada in August 2010.
This release is also available on the Internet at www.aandc.gc.ca.