EEL RIVER BAR FIRST NATION (CNB) – The provincial government held the first-ever cabinet meeting on a First Nation today in the council offices of Eel River Bar First Nation near Dalhousie.

Premier David Alward and his cabinet were joined by Chief Everett Martin and the Eel River Bar council for an informal luncheon prior to the meeting. The goal was to improve dialogue and co-operation between the provincial government and the Assembly of First Nations Chiefs in New Brunswick.

Alward said the provincial government is committed to delivering on the promise of being transparent and inclusive. He said holding a cabinet meeting on a First Nation is one of the first steps to fulfilling this commitment.

"We are committed to making government more accessible for everyone in New Brunswick,” said Alward. “That is why I personally took on the Aboriginal affairs portfolio and why we are here at Eel River Bar today. Meeting with Martin and the council is a real opportunity to hear their concerns first-hand."

Martin, the host of the meeting, welcomed the premier and cabinet to Eel River Bar. He also welcomed the provincial government's commitment to be more inclusive when making major decisions that could affect all residents of the province.

"This is a historic event and represents the first time in the history of the province that the premier and cabinet have met in a First Nation,” said Martin. “We thank the premier and cabinet and look forward to hosting this prestigious opportunity.

“On behalf of the council and community of Eel River Bar First Nation, it is our collective honour to have been selected to host a meeting of the premier and cabinet in our community today."

The provincial government considers Eel River Bar to be distinctly suited for a meeting of this kind because Martin is the longest-serving chief in the province. The provincial government believes its working relationship with Eel River Bar has always been progressive and positive.

The provincial government's vision is to be more transparent and inclusive so that residents can take responsibility for their future by participating in decision-making.