Assembly of First Nations Welcomes New Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada

February 22, 2013

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo issued the following statement today on the Prime Minister’s announcement of Bernard Valcourt, Member of Parliament for Madawaska-Restigouche (New Brunswick), as the new Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada: 

“This cabinet change comes at a unique time for First Nations and Canada, a true moment of reckoning where we have a commitment from the highest levels of the Government of Canada to achieve real progress and transformative change for First Nations citizens. 

We see intensifying demand and opportunity to achieve justice, fairness, and political, social and economic development for First Nations. Our work continues on the basis of nation-to-nation relationships to implement our rights and responsibilities, empower and enable our governments and support them through stable, predictable and fair funding mechanisms. First Nations will continue to advocate for the implementation of Treaties, all living agreements, commitments and promise, including those made at the Crown-First Nations Gathering and by the Prime Minister on January 11th, 2013. 

We hope that Minister Valcourt will work with the First Nation leadership directly to advance priority areas to achieve  transformative change for our peoples. I look forward to meeting with the Minister as soon as possible to discuss immediate next steps in facilitating this dialogue, and together with the leadership,  driving forward the work of building stronger First Nations and a stronger Canada. 

I also wish to acknowledge the former Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, the Honourable John Duncan, and thank him for his hard work and dedication and wish him well in his future endeavours.” 

The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.  Follow us on Twitter @AFN_Updates, @AFN_Comms




For more information please contact:

Alain Garon AFN Bilingual Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext 382; 613-292-0857 or

Assembly of First Nations