WINNIPEG, Man. (GNB) – Ministers responsible for aboriginal affairs and leaders of national aboriginal organizations met in Winnipeg, Man., to discuss paths for the future success of Canada's emerging Aboriginal and First Nations population.

"The Aboriginal Affairs Working Group meetings are an excellent venue to stimulate discussion on moving forward with aboriginal economic development, education and reducing violence against aboriginal women and girls," said Premier David Alward, who is also minister responsible for aboriginal affairs. "Collaboration and the sharing of ideas will build stronger economies, and these will create conditions to enhance further the quality of life for all aboriginal people across Canada."

The annual meeting focused on issues such as economic development, education and violence against aboriginal women and girls. It brought ministers and aboriginal leaders together to discuss important issues and share information about best practices to strengthen aboriginal and First Nations communities. The results of the meeting will be shared with the premiers at their next Council of Federation meeting this July at Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.

As co-chair of the economic development sub-committee, New Brunswick has provided funding and leadership in the development of the Aboriginal Affairs Working Group Economic Development Success stories website.

Launched at the 2011 Aboriginal Affairs Working Group meeting, this website continues to showcase how success and opportunity can come together for Canada's aboriginal people.
Participants at the meeting unanimously called on the federal government to begin a national public inquiry to examine the issue of missing and murdered aboriginal women in Canada. In addition, the provincial, territorial and aboriginal leaders agreed to collaborate more on the issue and examine reduction and prevention measures in place in the various jurisdictions.

The Aboriginal Affairs Working Group is composed of ministers of aboriginal affairs from all provinces and territories and the leaders from the five national aboriginal organizations (Assembly of First Nations, Congress of Aboriginal Peoples Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, Métis National Council and Native Women's Association of Canada).