Parliamentary Relations

AFN advances the rights and interests of First Nations nationally by: advocating for the advancement of Aboriginal and Treaty rights and interests of First Nations in Canada, forging relationships and partnerships with Provincial/Territorial/ and Federal Governments and seeking to establish working relationships with Canada towards informing their policy approaches and objectives on matters of shared interest.

To accomplish this, AFN conducts extensive parliamentary monitoring and analysis on matters which have direct impact on First Nations. The role of AFN’s Research and Policy Coordination team is to offer strategic support through the gathering and development of research and policy and legislation regarding the AFN’s position as the national advocacy organization representing First Nations in Canada.

Amber Potts, Director
Daniel Wilson, Special Advisor
Ken Medd, Fiscal Relations Advisor
Natasha Beedie, Jr. Policy Analyst
Chris Barney, Administrative Assistant

Recent Parliamentary Activities

Standing Committee on Health (HESA)

  • Bill C-45, An Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts
    HESA met with 120 witnesses and received 115 briefs.
  • September 14, 2017 – the committee heard from the Métis National Council and Isadore Day, Ontario regional Chief, Chiefs of Ontario.

Standing Committee on Finance (FINA)

Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs (INAN)

  • Specific Claims and Comprehensive Agreements
    INAN met with 89 witnesses and received 24 briefs. The Assembly of First Nations provided the committee with a written submission.
  • September 19, 2017 – the Committee met to begin their study on Specific Claims and Comprehensive Land Claim Agreements. The committee met with the Department of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada.
  • September 25, 2017 – the Committee travelled to Delta, British Columbia to meet with First Nation representatives.
  • September 27, 2017 – the Committee travelled to Winnipeg, Manitoba to meet with from First Nation representatives.
  • September 28, 2017 – the committee travelled to Quebec, Quebec to meet with First Nation representatives.
  • September 29, 2017 – the committee travelled to Belleville, Ontario to meet with First Nation representatives.
  • October 17, 2017 – the committee heard from the Office of the Auditor General of Canada and the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development.
  • October 19, 2017 – the committee heard from a research associate from the Lesser Slave Lake Indian Regional Council’s Treaty and Aboriginal Right Research Program, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., and Specific Claims Tribunal Canada.
  • October 23, 2017 – the committee travelled to Yellowknife, Northwest Territories to meet with First Nation Representatives.
  • October 24, 2017 – the committee heard from Chief Whiteduck of Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation, suggested it be repealed and replaced with a new system. Chief Noah Swappie of the Naskapi Nation of Kawawachikamach and an advisor, Robert Prévost, described vast disparities between the implementation and success of the North Eastern Quebec Agreement and the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement.
  • October 26, 2017 – the committee heard from Peter Di Gangi from the Algonquin Nation Secretariat and Dehcho First Nations, Herb Norwegian, grand chief for the region.
  • October 31, 2017 – the committee provided drafting instructions to the analyst for a report.
  • December 7, 2017 – the committee recommended consideration of a draft report.
  • December 12, 2017 – the committee resumed consideration of a draft report.

Fire Safety and Emergency Management in Indigenous Communities

INAN met with 33 witnesses and received three briefs.

  • November 21, 2017 – the committee, met with Senior Government Officials to begin studying wildfires in First Nations communities. Officials from the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness emphasized the importance of focusing on preparedness and mitigation.
  • November 7, 2017 – the committee heard from Chief Beatty of the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation (attended on behalf of the Assembly of First Nations). Chief Beatty spoke of his peoples’ experience with the wildfires that caused the evacuation of Pelican Narrows in August and September of this year, and provided the committee with recommendations. To watch the meeting click here.
  • November 9, 2017 – the committee heard from the First Nations National Building Officers Association, Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc, St. Theresa Point First Nation, the Chair of the Cariboo Regional District, and Manitobe Member of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba for Kewatinook, Judy Klassen.
  • November 21, 2017 – the committee heard from the Canadian Red Cross and the Southern Chiefs’ Organization. The Canadian Red Cross, recommended investment to enhance local capacities from within Indigenous communities. Grand Chief Jerry Daniels from the Southern Chiefs’ Organization Inc., recommended that the response phase be conducted by community members to reduce the delay in response.
  • November 23, 2017 – the committee heard from the Tsilhqot’in National Government and the First Nations Summit.
  • November 28, 2017 – the committee heard from Jodene Blain, Band Administrator of Ashcroft Indian Band. Blain used her testimony to describe the various challenges her community faced in the wake of the wildfire which forced their evacuation and declaration of a state of emergency in July of this year.
  • December 5, 2017 – the committee heard from Ann Louie, by videoconference from Williams Lake, British Columbia, and Ryan Day, by videoconference from Cache Creek, British Columbia, made statements and answered questions.

Other

  • September 21, 2017 – the committee heard from four Commissioners from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. The testimony was focused on the importance of taking the needed time to complete the inquiry properly.
  • October 3, 2017 – the committee met to discuss Bill C-17, which amends the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act. The committee heard from stakeholders from the Yukon mining community.
  • October 5, 2017 – the committee continued studying Bill C-17, An Act to amend the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act and to make a consequential amendment to another Act. The committee was joined by senior officials from the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and reviewed clause by clause of Bill C-17.
  • November 30, 2017 – the committee discussed Supplementary Estimates (B) 2017-18: Vote 1b under Canadian High Arctic Research Station and Votes 1b, 7b, 9b and 10b under Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. The committee also received a briefing on the mandate letter of the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs and on the mandate letter of the Minister of Indigenous Services. Jane Philpott, the minister of Indigenous services, and Carolyn Bennett, the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs, appeared before the committee.

Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage (CHPC)

  • Study on Systemic Racism and Religious Discrimination
    CHPC met with 78 witnesses.
  • October 2, 2017 – the committee met with Senator Sinclair. Sen. Sinclair explained that systemic racism is when a law or rule has a differential negative impact on a group, regardless of whether there are individual “racists” who work for an institution. Sen. Sinclair emphasized that self-governance is key and communities must be empowered to undertake self-government efforts.
  • November 1, 2017 – the committee met with the National Chief Perry Bellegarde of the Assembly of First Nations on the study of systemic racism and religious discrimination. The National Chief spoke of how the denial of First Nations rights has led to the vast socio-economic gap between First Nations and Canadians. The National Chief advocated for Canada to work with First Nations to develop legislation and a National Action Plan for the implementation of United Nations Declaration and the Truth and Reconciliation Committee’s 94 calls-to-action. He also stressed that Canadian law and policy must be realigned with the inherent rights, title, respect for First Nations jurisdiction, and respect for Treaties. To listen to the meeting click here.

Standing Committee on Environment and sustainable Development (ENVI)

  • Heritage Preservation and Protection in Canada
    ENVI met with 27 witnesses and received six briefs.
  • September 26, 2017 – the committee heard from Ry Moran, Director, University of Manitoba; and National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. The committee focused on the role of heritage preservation in reconciliation with Aboriginal peoples.

Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security (SECU)

  • Bill C-21, an Act to amend the Customs Act
    SECU met with 25 witnesses and received one brief.
  • October 17, 2017 – the committee met to discuss Bill C-21, an Act to amend the Customs Act. The meeting included testimony from Daniel Therrien, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, Jean-Pierre Fortin, the National President of the Customs and Immigration Union, and Abram Benedict, the Grand Chief of the Mohawk Government.

Indigenous people in the correctional system

SECU met with 15 witnesses and received two briefs.

  • October 31, 2017 – the committee met with officials from the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, and the Correctional Service of Canada. Correctional Service of Canada discussed the strategies that they had applied to put organizational structures in place that will improve results in the criminal justice system for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples. The Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness mentioned some of the work that the department is doing to improve reintegration outcomes for Indigenous offenders, and to promote and enhance the safety of Indigenous communities.
  • November 7, 2017- the committee met with the Office of the Correctional Investigator of Canada and Union of Solicitor General Employees.
  • November 21, 2017 – the committee met with the Native Counselling Services of Alberta, the Métis National Council and Terry Teegee, Regional Chief, Assembly of First Nations. To listen to the meeting click here.
  • November 23, 2017 – the committee met with Hon. Kim Pate, Senator; Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies and Neal Freeland.
  • November 28, 2017 – the committee proceeded to give drafting instructions to the analyst for the report.

Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates (OGGO)

Procurement Strategy for Aboriginal Business
OGGO met with 28 witnesses and received two briefs.

  • October 31, 2017 – the committee met with Treasury Board Secretariat; Office of the Procurement Ombudsman; and the Department of Public Works and Government Services.
  • November 2, 2017 – the committee met with Canadian International Trade Tribunal; Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development; and the Department of Public Works and Government Services.
  • November 7, 2017 – the committee met with the Department of Indigenous Affairs and Northern Development; and the Department of Public Works.
  • November 30, 2017 – the committee met with Bernd Christmas, Chief Executive Officer and General Counsel, of Gitpo Storms Corporatio; Des Nedhe Development; FoxWise Technologies Inc.; K-Sports Marine Inc.; Red Sky Metis Independent Nation; and Seven Generations Energy Ltd.

Standing Committee on Aboriginal Peoples (APPA)

The new relationship between Canada and First Nations, Inuit, Métis peoples

  • September 19, 2017 – the committee met with Sol Sanderson, Senator in the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations.
  • September 26, 2017 – the committee heard from Viola Robinson, Former Commissioner of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, and Tagak Curley, a prominent Inuit politician and leader who played a pivotal role in the establishment of Nunavut as a Canadian territory.
  • September 27, 2017 – the committee heard from elders from Claudette Commanda, Elder and Executive Director of First Nations Confederacy of Cultural Education Centre; Fred Kelly; and Verna Porter-Brunelle, Métis Nation of Ontario Senators.
  • October 17, 2017 – the committee heard from Val Napoleon, the Law Foundation Chair of Aboriginal Justice and Governance and Director of Indigenous Law Research Unit of the Faculty of Law for University of Victoria.
  • December 5, 2017 – the committee met with representatives of the First Nations Major Project Coalition and the First Nations Financial Management Board.
  • Government Response to the fifth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples entitled We Can Do Better: Housing In Inuit Nunangat
    • November 1, 2017 – the committee met to study the best practices and on-going challenges relating to housing in First Nation and Inuit communities in Nunavut, Nunavik, Nunatsiavut and the Northwest Territories. Two ministers appeared to discuss housing in the North. Most of the committee’s focus during the meeting was on the government’s response to the committee’s report on Northern Housing – called “We can do Better: Housing in Inuit Nunangat.”
  • Bill C-61, An Act to give effect to the Anishinabek Nation Education Agreement and to make consequential amendments to other Acts
    • December 12, 2017 – The committee met to consider Bill C-61, An Act to give effect to the Anishinabek Nation Education Agreement and to make consequential amendments to other Acts. Before undertaking a clause by clause consideration of the Bill, the committee heard testimony from senior officials from Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada and the Department of Justice Canada. The committee was also joined by Deputy Grand Chief Glen Hare of the Anishinabek Nation as well as representatives of the Kinoomaadziwin Education Body, the Chippewas of Rama First Nation and the Biigtigong Nishnaabeg First Nation.
  • Other
    • September 20, 2017 – the committee heard from four Commissioners from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, including Chief Commissioner Marion Buller.

Documents and Resources

United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, James Anaya
Statement upon conclusion of the visit to Canada

15 October 2013

Speech from the Throne to Open the Second Session of the Forty-First Parliament of Canada
October 16, 2013

AFN National Chief Comments on Federal Government’s Speech from the Throne: “‘Seizing Canada’s Moment’ Must Mean Action for First Nations”
October 16, 2013

Assembly of First Nations Submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources : Environment Submission on Hydrocarbon Transportation – June 27, 2013

AFN’s Technical Overview: Fisheries Act Amendments – November 2012

Assembly of First Nations – Pre-Budget Submission 2012

Presentation to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development to provide Recommendations regarding the development of a National Conservation Plan

Time for Transformative Change
A Review of the 2004 Health Accord

2012

Presentation to the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples
Bill S-6: An Act respecting the election and term of office of chiefs and councillors of certain First Nations and the composition of council of those First Nations
Speaking Notes
BC Regional Chief Jody Wilson-Raybould

February 28th 2012

Bill S-2: Family Homes on Reserves & Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act
Technical Update

January 27, 2012

Bill C-27: First Nations Financial Transparency Act
January 2012

Re-setting the Relationship: Full commemoration of role and contributions of First Nations
Peter Dinsdale
Chief Operating Officer
Presentation to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage

November 29, 2011

Submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on the Environment and Sustainable Development
Canadian Environmental Assessment Act Seven-year Review

November 28, 2011

Presentation to the Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources
First Nations and Canada: Working Together for a Sustainable Energy Future

November 24, 2011

Submission:Bill C-10 Safe Streets and Communities Act
November 22, 2011

National Chief Speaking Notes
Implementing the call to action on FN Education
Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples
Study on First Nations Education

November 2, 2011

Transforming the Relationship to Work Together on a Shared Vision for First Nations
National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo
Presentation to the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs & Northern Development

November 1, 2011

Structural Transformation & Critical Investments in First Nations: On the Path to Shared Prosperity
Richard Jock,Chief Executive Officer
Presentation to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance

November 1, 2011

Structural Transformation & Critical Investments in First Nations on the Path to Shared Prosperity
Pre-Budget Submission, 2011
A submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance

August 12th, 2011

rdbrinkhurstParliamentary Relations
Assembly of First Nations
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