Nault sees good response from Indian Act meetings

As meetings continue with First Nations across Canada, Indian Affairs and Northern Development minister Robert Nault said he is seeing encouraging signs from the people.
The meetings are being held in a federal effort to get community opinion on governance legislation for First Nations.
“A majority of the people we’re talking to, and who have made submissions, are simply recognizing that the Indian Act is an outdated piece of legislation,” Nault, also the MP for Kenora-Rainy River, said Friday.
The consultations are being held to gather comments for three areas of proposed change to the Indian Act–legal standing and capacity, voting rights/leadership selection, and the accountability of leadership to members.
“A lot of people are shocked and surprised that we are talking to them,” said Nault. “That suggests that it’s been long overdue that the Government of Canada consult the First Nations people.”
Some native leaders, including Assembly of First Nations Chief Matthew Coon Come, have spoken out against the consultation process. But Nault insisted many First Nations members have been taking part.
“I don’t think the leaders are saying they’re opposed,” said Nault. “What they’re complaining about is the process because it’s new, it’s a change.
So far, the ministry has heard many calls for infrastructure and development in First Nations communities, as well as for easy communication and discussion with all levels of government.
“I think in the Canadian society, it would be inappropriate to make decisions without talking with the people. There has to be a broader consultation, a broader exchange of views,” Nault stressed.
A consultation meeting was held at La Place Rendez-Vous here last Thursday.