Jan 9/98: Canada's international indigenous strategy


Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
January 9, 1998

Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy today announced the appointment of Mr. Blaine Favel as Counsellor on International Issues. This appointment will be effected through an Executive Interchange Canada agreement with the Assembly of First Nations. Mr. Phil Fontaine, Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, and Mr. Favel were present during the announcement.

"In his role, Mr. Favel will provide myself and the Minister for International Trade, Sergio Marchi, with an important viewpoint on a broad range of international issues affecting indigenous peoples worldwide," said Mr. Axworthy. "He will provide, in particular, input and policy advice on Canadian positions concerning indigenous issues at the United Nations, the Organization of American States and other international fora."

"This reflects the Government of Canada's commitment to develop a new partnership with First Nations in Canada as stated in the announcement by the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Jane Stewart. This appointment will support the strengthening of First Nations' initiatives in the fields of economic and business development, not only in Canada but also around the world," stated Chief Phil Fontaine.

"This appointment is an example of the commitment to new partnerships that the government outlined in Gathering Strength: Canada's Aboriginal Action Plan," said Jane Stewart. "Two major elements of the Plan are renewal of partnerships with Aboriginal people and support for strong communities, people and economies. The Plan makes specific references to international partnerships and increased access to overseas markets."

I'm pleased that the Government is serious in its efforts to improve the relationship with First Nations," said Favel. "My appointment is in the new spirit fo partnership that can work to promote Aboriginal rights."

Mr. Favel's diplomatic appointment is also part of a strategy on indigenous economic and cultural development that will be undertaken by the Government of Canada in co-operation with the Canadian Aboriginal community. The strategy will bring together Canadian federal departments and Canadian Aboriginal organizations in new international activities. It is designed to promote awareness among Canada's Aboriginal Peoples of the programs and funds available to them, both inside and outside Canada.

For further information, media representatives may contact:

Debora Brown
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs

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