Gimli – May 30, 2006 -- Western Premiers today reasserted their commitment to working with the Aboriginal peoples of Canada in a 10 year dedicated effort to close the gap between the quality of life measures between the Aboriginal peoples of Canada and other Canadians with particular focus on health, education, housing and economic opportunity.
Western Premiers are pleased that the federal government is also committed to the goals and objectives set out last November. Although Western Premiers recognize that the recent federal budget includes a considerable amount of new funding for improvements to housing and other services for Aboriginal peoples, it is undeniable that the effort to close the gap requires a multi-year commitment and significant federal financial resources.
Western Premiers agree that all governments will have to work together with Aboriginal leadership both regional and national, to ensure we are going to deliver on our word. Having previously made an extraordinary national commitment, failure to follow through on that commitment will only make us poorer as a nation.
Western Premiers look forward to an economic opportunities summit for Aboriginal people to be hosted by Saskatchewan from January 23 to 25, 2007 to identify economic opportunities and facilitate partnerships in such areas as infrastructure, training and skills development, connectivity, improving the regulatory environment and resource and business development opportunities.
Western Premiers also propose to work with Aboriginal leadership to hold a summit in the coming months on Aboriginal women's issues and in particular, violence against women.
Western Premiers are also pleased to welcome British Columbia’s offer to host a summit on Aboriginal health in the fall.
Finally, Western Premiers look forward to an early meeting of the provincial and territorial Ministers responsible for Aboriginal Affairs, the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs and National Aboriginal Organizations.
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Director of Cabinet Communications
Province of Manitoba