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‘We all need to move forward’ –

by NationTalk on January 24, 2012682 Views

‘We all need to move forward’

by Aaron Wherry on Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The prepared text of the Prime Minister’s remarks at today’s summit.

Au-gee-na-pee. Bienvenue, Mesdames et messieurs. Welcome, Ladies and Gentlemen.

It is indeed a pleasure to welcome you … on the traditional territory of the Algonquin … to this historic Crown-First Nations Gathering. And it is especially appropriate to do so in this building. Un édifice dont le nom honore la mémoire du Premier ministre John George Diefenbaker, l’instigateur des relations de l’ère moderne entre la Couronne et les Premières Nations. A building whose name honours the memory of a prime minister who cared deeply about the things we are gathered here to talk about: respect, rights and opportunity for First Nations Canadians.

John George Diefenbaker was, in many ways, the initiator of the modern era of Crown – First Nations relations. It was he who named the first First Nations member to the Parliament of Canada, Senator James Gladstone in 1958. And, of course, it was he who, two years later, extended to aboriginal Canadians living on reserves the right to vote in national elections. In addressing that long-standing and fundamental injustice, he was a man ahead of his time and in many ways, an apt inspiration for today’s proceedings.

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