FREDERICTON (CNB) – The provincial and federal governments as well as New Brunswick’s First Nations signed an agreement today to guide discussions leading to an agreement on Aboriginal and treaty rights.

"Signing this agreement today is the result of hard work and dedication for everyone involved," said Premier David Alward. "Taking this initial step now means we can continue building on the positive achievements we have made with our First Nations people in the province. We are creating an environment built on trust and mutual respect. With the umbrella agreement in place, we now have a clear process to build on for the future."

Alward is the minister responsible for the Aboriginal Affairs Secretariat.

"Canada is pleased to be a signatory to this important agreement,” said John Duncan, minister of Aboriginal affairs and Northern Development Canada. “It forges a strong partnership among the parties and establishes a solid foundation to help resolve mutual issues respecting Aboriginal and treaty rights. This agreement will also help achieve our collective goal of improving the quality of life of the Mi'gmag and Wolastoqiyik in New Brunswick."

The Mi'gmag Wolastoqiyik / New Brunswick / Canada Umbrella Agreement establishes an orderly process to guide discussions among the parties toward the conclusion of a framework agreement on Aboriginal and treaty rights and self-government. The document also includes a consultation agreement.

Chief Joanna Bernard, Wolastoqiyik co-chair of the Assembly of New Brunswick Chiefs Inc., said that, by entering into the umbrella agreement, "We are following the vision of our ancestors in engaging as peoples with the Crown in wide-ranging discussions. Clearly, there are many issues and problems that we must address as governments. This agreement provides one way that we can work together to protect and advance the rights of the Mi'gmag and the Wolastoqiyik in New Brunswick."

During the past few years, the parties developed a tripartite relationship and a negotiation process. The agreement represents the collaborative efforts of all three parties and underlines their commitment to work together in good faith.

A co-ordinating committee will oversee the work undertaken under the agreement to identify key priorities with the aim of reaching a framework agreement. The committee will negotiate a tripartite agreement for consultations with New Brunswick First Nations.


●    Aboriginal Affairs Secretariat:
●    Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada: