First Nations and Quebec municipalities
deliver strong advocacy for reconciliation
Montreal, August 30, 2018 – The first ever First Nations and Municipal Summit on Reconciliation was held at Montreal City Hall today. This historic event was held in the presence of the Mayor of Montreal, Valérie Plante, Chief of the Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador (AFNQL), Ghislain Picard, President of the Union of Quebec Municipalities (UMQ) , Alexandre Cusson, and the President of the Quebec Federation of Municipalities (FQM), Jacques Demers. Nearly fifty mayors and mayors of Quebec, as well as more than half of the chiefs and chiefs of the First Nations of Quebec, also participated in this Provincial Summit.
The goal of the Summit was to build bridges, engaging in nation-to-nation dialogue towards reconciliation, and encouraging networking and collaboration between First Nations governments and communities.
The work focused, inter alia, on:
· United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
· The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls for action and their impacts on municipalities;
· Sharing examples of positive partnerships between municipalities and First Nations communities.
“As local governments, cities have an increasingly important role to play in local governance, a responsibility embodied in territorial relationships and partnerships. The City of Montreal assumes this leadership and sets a new milestone in the historic process of reconciliation with Aboriginal peoples. This historic Summit demonstrates Montréal’s desire to become a true metropolis of reconciliation, as we are implementing a paradigm shift to incorporate an “indigenous reflex” into the City’s policies and action plans. We see reconciliation as a necessary step towards a more equitable and inclusive society. Respect for the difference and dignity of everyone is essential to expressing and promoting the diversity of the city, “said Mayor Valérie Plante.
“At the end of this first meeting, I want to thank Mayor Valérie Plante, the City of Montreal and the leaders of the Kanien’kehá: ka Nation for their hospitality. I also want to thank the mayors of the municipalities and the first nations leaders who have accepted the challenge of reconciliation. We all realize that we must exercise our responsibility in order to lay the foundations for an ongoing dialogue, to bring people closer together in harmony, “said AFNQL Chief Ghislain Picard.
“Local governments have an important role to play on a daily basis in contributing to this reconciliation. They are the first concerned by the quality of life of the population and can act to create harmonious and respectful links with the Aboriginal peoples. The UMQ wishes to continue its actions to support the objectives of reconciliation with First Nations, and thus build a better future for all and for future generations, “said UMQ President Alexandre Cusson.
“The event that brings us together today is an eloquent reflection of the collective importance we place on dialogue on reconciliation. Uniting our shared values, sharing our goals of justice and peace, envisioning a living together with hope for the future of Quebec, especially for younger generations, are decisive aspects of what we want to strive for every day. ” added FQM President Jacques Demers.
The commitments made during this first summit:
The City of Montreal, the AFNQL, the UMQ and the FQM commit to:
· Establish a Commitments Monitoring Committee to include representatives of the four initiators of the Summit.
· Hold the Summit annually to continue the dialogue on an ongoing basis.
· Promote and disseminate good practices of collaboration between municipalities and First Nations councils through their communication tools.
· Collaborate to provide training to municipal elected officials on the history and realities of Aboriginal peoples.
The City of Montreal, the UMQ and the FQM commit to:
· Invite First Nations Chiefs and Chiefs to participate in some of their proceedings.
· Recognize the presence of past, present and future Aboriginal peoples.
The UMQ is committed to:
· Sensitize elected representatives and elected officials on the issues of reconciliation in their political bodies.
· Promote collaborations