Toronto, ON (August 24, 2015) — Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day and Premier Kathleen Wynne signed a historic political accord at a ceremony at the Ontario legislature today.
“This political path forward for First Nations in Ontario is the most important collective milestone in modern times. With this Accord, First Nations and Ontario have committed to strengthening a new relationship,” said Regional Chief Isadore Day. “I look forward to working with Ontario in developing a comprehensive strategy and framework that will fully utilize this Accord to advance our jurisdiction and Treaty rights on our terms.”
The Chiefs in Assembly adopted the Political Accord June 18 at the 41st Annual All Ontario Chiefs Conference in Anishinabe of Wauzhushk Onigum First Nation (Rat Portage) Treaty #3 Territory.
In June 2014, the Political Confederacy was mandated by the Chiefs In Assembly to establish a political task force that would develop a strategic plan to promote a new relationship with province of Ontario. In response to the Chiefs-in -Assembly’s mandate, the Political Confederacy advanced a proposal with the Premier of Ontario that called for the establishment of a Political Accord. This Accord would affirm Ontario’s commitment to working within a government-to-government relationship and would further frame our joint priorities and actions.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne signed the accord for the Province, while Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day signed on behalf of the Political Confederacy and Chiefs-in-Assembly. The Accord creates a formal bilateral relationship between First Nations and the Ontario government, framed by the recognition of the treaty relationship.
Now the Chiefs and Grand Chiefs will set a joint work plan that will be used to guide the new process to initiate immediate action as outlined in the Political Accord.
The Accord affirms that First Nations have an inherent right to self-government and that the relationship between Ontario and the First Nations must be based upon respect for this right. The Accord also commits the Premier and First Nations’ leadership to meet twice yearly in order to further advance their efforts on shared priorities.
“We are in the midst of a changing social and political environment. Where First Nations are not alone in the fight to protect our lands, resources and water but are joined by other Canadians to voice our common interests,” said Grand Chief Gord Peters, Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians. “This Accord captures this social shift and is a tremendous step forward in building a new political relationship between First Nations and the Government of Ontario.”