FREDERICTON (GNB) – Government Services Minister Ed Doherty, who is also minister responsible for Aboriginal Affairs, will be meeting with First Nations chiefs from across the province over the coming weeks and months to discuss ways to develop a better relationship with the Mi’kmaq and Maliseet First Nations.

“We recognize the need to establish, develop and maintain a positive relationship between the Government of New Brunswick and First Nations,” said Doherty. “Direct communication is the best way to instill a new spirit of co-operation and identify the right path forward for our province. I want to work with the chiefs to look for opportunities in areas of partnerships, negotiation and co-operation to achieve our goals of creating jobs, righting our fiscal ship and supporting New Brunswick families.”

The meeting is the next step in establishing a new relationship between the government and First Nations.

The provincial government will be increasing its capacity across all of government to ensure it meets its duty to consult. This will include at cabinet and within caucus. The Jobs Board will also have a role to play in developing a relationship with First Nations complementary to that of the government as a whole.

“These are crucial times for New Brunswick and for the First Nations,” said Doherty. “We will be bringing in a respected Canadian as the lead negotiator to develop a team to work with First Nations on further developing this important relationship. These changes will allow us to better work together on long-term approaches that will solidify our relationship, build and sustain trust and ensure that First Nations share in future opportunities. I look forward to working with the chiefs to develop this new relationship.”