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Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on the 250th anniversary of the recognition of the rights of Aboriginal peoples

7 October 2013

Ottawa, Ontario

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement:

“Two hundred and fifty years ago today, the rights of Aboriginal people in Canada were recognized in law for the first time in the Royal Proclamation.

“The Royal Proclamation is a seminal document in our history. It laid the foundation for constitutional recognition and protection of Aboriginal rights in Canada, and established the protocols and procedures that govern relations between the Crown and First Nations. The rights recognized by the Royal Proclamation were formally reflected in the Constitution Act, 1982 at s. 25 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

“On this anniversary, it is important that we honour the critical role that Aboriginals have played in shaping Canada as we know it today.  It also offers a moment for reflection on the past 250 years and on the work that needs to be done together to ensure that all Aboriginals can share in the potential and promise of our great country.

“Our Government is committed to continue working in partnership with First Nations, Inuit and Métis to make concrete progress on common goals and initiatives. This includes ongoing dialogue on the treaty relationship and comprehensive land claims. We are also taking concrete action on education, economic development, housing, child and family services, access to safe drinking water, as well as the extension of human rights protection and matrimonial real property rights to First Nations people.

“As the youngest and fastest growing segment of the nation’s population, our Government recognizes that Canada’s Aboriginal communities are a critical part of our future.  It is therefore in our collective interest to help ensure that Aboriginal youth receive the education and skills training they need to secure good jobs and prosper.

“I look forward to making further progress together.”

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