By Mervin Brass and Judy Bird

Wilson Raybould

Picture courtesy Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Facebook page.

First Nations in Saskatchewan are full of hope and optimistic about the future following the appointments of key cabinet ministers in the new Trudeau government.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed former AFN regional Chief Jody Wilson-Raybould as the Minister of Justice and Attorney General and Carolyn Bennett as the new Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs.

In a press release, National Chief Perry Bellegarde welcomed the use of the word “Indigenous” in the portfolio, noting that this is the preferred and accepted term in Canada and the international sphere.

“I look forward to working with the new federal government in the spirit of trust, respect and a renewed nation to nation relationship,” he said.

Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations Chief Bobby Cameron says the FSIN is already sending letters to the new government to arrange meetings.

“And we do have a great opportunity now and we’re definitely going to do our best, we’re going to put everything we have, as one of the strongest organizations in Canada as FSIN, “ said Cameron. “To ensure that our inherent and treaty rights are met.”

On Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Facebook page his message was posted that promised real change.

“It is also time for a renewed, Nation-to-Nation relationship with Indigenous Peoples, one based on a recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership. Not only is this the right thing to do, but it is also a sure path to economic growth”.

Carolyn BennettDuring the election campaign Bennett attended a community meeting in Saskatoon that focused on the work she did on the missing and murdered indigenous women file while in opposition.

Cameron says the FSIN is really happy Bennett is the new Indigenous Affairs Minister.

“She has spoken strongly for us when it came to our inherent and treaty right to education,” said Cameron. “She was one of our strongest advocates in the House of Commons when the Conservatives were trying to ram Bill C-33 legislation onto our First Nation communities. She went to bat for us.”

Cameron says having Saskatchewan MP Ralph Goodale in cabinet is also good news for First Nations. Goodale is the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.

Prime Minister Trudeau also appointed another First Nation Liberal MP to his cabinet. Hunter Tootoo of Nunavet is now the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, and Canadian Coastguard.

Cabinet members:

Justin Trudeau – Prime Minister, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister of  Youth.

Ralph Goodale – Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.

Lawrence MacAulay – Agriculture and Agri-Food.

Stéphane Dion – Foreign Affairs.

John McCallum – Immigration, Citizenship and Refugees.

Carolyn Bennett – Indigenous and Northern Affairs.

Scott Brison – Treasury Board President.

Dominic Leblanc – Leader of the Government in the House of Commons.

Navdeep Bains – Innovation, Science and Economic Development.

Bill Morneau – Finance Minister.

Jody Wilson-Raybould – Justice and Attorney General of Canada.

Judy Foote – Public Services and Procurement.

Chrystia Freeland – International Trade.

Jane Philpott – Health.

Jean-Yves Duclos – Families, Children and Social Development.

Marc Garneau – Transport.

Marie-Claude Bibeau – International Development and La francophonie.

James Carr – Natural Resources.

Mélanie Joly – Heritage.

Dianne Lebouthillier – National Revenue.

Kent Hehr – Veterans Affairs, and Associate Minister of National Defence.

Catherine McKenna – Environment and Climate Change.

Harjit Sajjan – National Defence.

MaryAnn Mihychuck – Employment Workforce Development and Labour

Amarjeet Sohi – Infrastructure and Communities.

Maryam Monsef – Democratic Institutions.

Carla Qualtrough – Sport, and Persons with Disabilities.

Hunter Tootoo – Fisheries and Oceans, and Canadian Coastguard.

Kirsty Duncan – Science.

Patricia Hajdu – Status of Women.

Bardish Chagger – Small Business and Tourism.




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