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Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones

Towards a consultation policy
Consultation of and arrangement proposals for the Aboriginal people, the Government of Québec is taking the new jurisprudence into account Minister Geoffrey Kelley presents an “Interim Guide for Consulting the Aboriginal Communities”

QUÉBEC, April 11, 2006 – Mr. Geoffrey Kelley, Minister for Native Affairs, is pleased to announce that the Cabinet has adopted an Interim Guide for Consulting the Aboriginal Communities, a measure awaited by the communities and which will allow the departments and agencies of the Government of Québec to progressively harmonize their consultation practices. “As a responsible government, we have developed a tool that satisfies the requirements of the recent rulings of the Supreme Court dealing with the consultation of the Aboriginal people,” mentioned Minister Kelley.

Minister Kelley made a point of emphasizing that the guide includes guidelines that help make the constitutional obligation of consulting the Aboriginal communities more operational. This is a first step in a more positive approach that improves our consultation actions by making them more uniform and more complete.

The Interim Guide for Consulting the Aboriginal Communities was produced by a working group headed by the Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones and made up of representatives of the main departments concerned by such a process. The departments called upon include the Ministère de la Justice, the Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune, the Ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et des Parcs, as well as the Ministère des Transports. This is a tool put in place by the Government of Québec and that respects the legal obligation of consulting the Aboriginal communities adequately.

Consultation of the Aboriginal people

In making this interim guide public, the Government of Québec is launching a consultation initiative that aims to collect the comments of the various Aboriginal communities of Québec. These ideas and comments will be compiled and compared by a committee chaired by Mr. Jules Brière, appointed special representative of the Government of Québec. Accompanied by representatives of the departments having participated in the preparation of the interim guide, Mr. Brière has been entrusted with the mandate of meeting with those Aboriginal communities that so wish and explaining the content of the guide to them. The Aboriginal people will have the opportunity to comment on the guide as well as the possibility to make suggestions concerning it.

“For the government, this is a first step and the opportunity to improve the current consultation practices. In cooperation with the various groups and communities occupying the territory, we will be able to work together to improve the current approaches,” pointed out Mr. Brière.

At the end of the meetings, Mr. Brière and his committee will report to the Minister for Native Affairs, which will allow the government to improve the content of the interim guide, if necessary.

In addition to the Aboriginal communities, the committee will meet for the same purposes with representatives of civil society and certain interested groups. “I am pleased that Mr. Brière has agreed to act as the government’s special representative in this matter, given the importance that this question takes on for the Government of Québec, for the Aboriginal people as well as for the various groups affected by the subject. Mr. Brière’s expertise, notably as special legal advisor to the Government of Québec in matters concerning relations between the State and certain Aboriginal nations, will enable us to successfully embark upon a new initiative moving in this direction.”

“As a responsible government, we are making a tangible gesture today which not only satisfies the requirements of the Supreme Court, but also makes it possible to better take into account the interests of the Aboriginal communities and those of stakeholders interested in this subject. All of us will be able to work together on the development of the territory in a more harmonious manner,” explained the Minister.

Tangible actions to improve the consultation of Aboriginal communities

The interim guide contains four main principles: that of consultation, that of proposing arrangements to the Aboriginal people, and that of the unity of action on the part of the government in this field. The fourth principle reflects the government’s desire to make available to the Aboriginal people a special budget allowing them to participate fully in the consultation approach.

The Interim Guide for Consulting the Aboriginal Communities is accessible on the web site of the Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones at the following address: www.autochtones.gouv.qc.ca.

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Source:

Claire Rémillard
Press secretary
Office of Minister Geoffrey Kelley
Telephone: 418 643-4980

Signature gouvernementale
Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones
905, avenue Honoré-Mercier, 1er étage - Québec (Qc)  G1R 5M6 - 418 643-3166
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Online as of : April 11, 2006