November 23, 2021

Treaty One Territory, Manitoba


The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) is issuing this statement in response to the Speech from the Throne, which was shared in Ottawa earlier today by Governor General Mary Simon. 

“It was very moving to see and hear Governor General Mary Simon deliver the Speech from the Throne today in her ancestral language and hear the drum announcing their arrival. Her words of how the unmarked graves found at residential schools shows how governments and institutions have devastated our First Nation/Indigenous peoples and continue to impact us today, was her teaching to Canadians. On behalf of the AMC member First Nations, we stand proud with First Nations, Inuit and Metis people who are recognizing the importance of this historical event of an Inuit woman delivering this message. We note our disappointment however that the Speech from the Throne contained a listing of initiatives that were already contained within the federal liberal campaign,” said Grand Chief Arlen Dumas. 

Like First Nations across the country, we were watching today’s Throne Speech for any impacts to our Treaty and Inherent rights and for the Federal minority government’s economic recovery plan during a multi-crisis situation that includes a 4th wave of COVID-19, the highest inflation rate in 18 years that has a huge financial impact for First Nation citizens and reconciliation efforts that remain an urgent matter for First Nation leadership in Manitoba including but not limited to the current CFS litigation, unmarked graves, the climate crisis and the lack of response to the national report on Missing and Murdered Indigenous women and girls. 

We heard a number of major announcements that included two major priorities to making life more affordable for Canadians – housing and child-care. Canada announced increasing affordable housing program and creating a nation-wide early learning and childcare program – cutting costs for day care by 50% in most provinces. Other announcements included pandemic economic support; a distinction based mental health and wellness strategy; creation of a national monument for residential school survivors and the appointment of a Special Interlocutor to deal with the unmarked graves. A large number of these announcements were about supporting families and making life more affordable for middle class and for those working hard to join that class. Canada also announced the National Adaptation strategy – the first ever adaptation plan to be developed that will include working with First Nations on wildland fires and other emergencies related to climate change. 

“Tomorrow marks the first day back in the House of Commons in five months and government needs to take immediate action to move these commitments forward as there is 19 working days until the new year. Cooperation seemed to be a major theme throughout this speech that did not include many details. As such, there is clearly a need to create bilateral relationships with First Nations in Manitoba to move these federal commitments forward in a meaningful way that reflects the on the ground realities in our Nations. We have been talking for 40 years about how to make change in our First Nations and transformation is clearly needed in how the government works with our Nations. The AMC created the First Nations Pandemic Coordination Response Team and with First Nations leading the way, we were able to change policy and flow funding in a way that had not been done before. Precedents have been set. We know we can transform the social and economic disparities if given the opportunity. Canada must work directly with First Nations in Manitoba to replicate the successes we created and sustained during a time of crisis, particularly on the new national adaptation strategy on emergencies dealing with climate change.” 

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