Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Former PMs, indigenous leaders in push to raise awareness about aboriginal issues

  • Print
Former Prime Minister Joe Clark, former Assembly of First Nation Chief Ovide Mercredi and former Prime Minister Paul Martin (left to right) conclude a news conference in Ottawa Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014. The former prime ministers and aboriginal leaders are joining forces in a bid to ease tensions between aboriginal and non-aboriginal groups.

FRED CHARTRAND / THE CANADIAN PRESS Enlarge Image

Former Prime Minister Joe Clark, former Assembly of First Nation Chief Ovide Mercredi and former Prime Minister Paul Martin (left to right) conclude a news conference in Ottawa Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014. The former prime ministers and aboriginal leaders are joining forces in a bid to ease tensions between aboriginal and non-aboriginal groups.

OTTAWA—A who's who of former prime ministers, governors general and indigenous leaders have joined forces in a bid to change public attitudes towards aboriginal people in this country.

Educating Canadians about the realities of what has happened and is happening with aboriginal people may then generate enough pressure to get governments to act to fix it.

"This is probably the most important moral issue we face as a country," said former Prime Minister Paul Martin at a press conference in downtown Ottawa this morning.

Martin, along with former Prime Minister Joe Clark, former Assembly of First Nations national chief Ovide Mercredi, former Gov. Gen. Michaëlle Jean, and dozens of other indigenous, federal and provincial personalities, created Canadians for a New Partnership.

The group deliberately has no sitting political leaders on it at the moment though Federal Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt has been briefed on the plan and it is hoped eventually federal and provincial governments will sign on.

The initial plan is an education campaign including a website, social media, national speakers’ bureau and media campaign.

Stephen Kakfwi, former premier of the Northwest Territories, said the vision for such a program came to him when his three adult children challenged him to do something as the Idle No More protests were unfolding across Canada in 2012 and 2013. He said he also has a fear that when the Truth and Reconciliation Commission finishes its work in the next year, it will generate just another report that will end up on a shelf.

Among the chief goals appears to be educating Canadians about the history of aboriginals in Canada, and generating momentum that will make governments prioritize addressing issues such as poverty and the lack of economic development.

"There are misunderstandings out there," said Martin. "We do a lousy job of teaching history in this country."

History

Updated on Thursday, September 4, 2014 at 12:46 PM CDT: Corrects typo.

5:28 PM: Corrects name of former premier

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Steve Ashton comments on bid for NDP leadership

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Challenges of Life- Goose Goslings jump over railway tracks to catch up to their parents at the Canadian Pacific Railway terminalon Keewatin St in Winnipeg Thursday morning. The young goslings seem to normally hatch in the truck yard a few weeks before others in town- Standup photo- ( Day 4 of Bryksa’s 30 day goose project) - Apr 30, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A  young goose stuffed with bread from  St Vital park passers-by takes a nap in the shade Thursday near lunch  –see Bryksa’s 30 day goose challenge Day 29-June 28, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Will you be hitting up any Boxing Day sales?

View Results

Ads by Google