July 17, 2017 – Toronto, Ontario – National Inuit Leader Natan Obed, President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, is calling for full and respectful Inuit participation in national intergovernmental forums, including the Council of the Federation (CoF). Members of CoF have actively sought to limit, define, or exclude Inuit and other Indigenous representational organizations in national discussions, which is not in keeping with the governance space Inuit hold in Canada and also the spirit of reconciliation.

Obed signaled to Alberta Premier Rachel Notley late last week that he would not attend the pre-meeting with Premiers held in advance of the CoF meeting. Instead, Obed, together with the leaders of the Assembly of First Nations and the Metis Nation, requested a formal half-day discussion with Premiers.

Leaders are calling for meaningful inclusion in the agenda aimed at developing a vehicle for a structured and meaningful process for engagement between Inuit, First Nations, and Metis, provinces and territories, and the federal government, with a view to achieving a just and lasting reconciliation between Inuit and all Canadians.

Full and effective participation by Inuit in intergovernmental forums is necessary to advance a coordinated and cooperative approach to the design of policies and programs that improve the socio-economic status of Inuit across Inuit Nunangat.

“ITK’s hope is that Inuit, the federal government, and provincial and territorial governments can work together through multilateral processes to coordinate and advance mutually shared priorities, including infrastructure, health, education, housing, and economic development investments,” said Obed.

“Provinces and territories must embrace participation of national Indigenous representational organizations in national intergovernmental processes, rather than wishing to limit or exclude us. Excluding Inuit from meaningful intergovernmental discussions runs counter to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Canadian constitution, and practically will result in continued growth of the gap in health and social and economic outcomes between Inuit and other Canadians.”

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