During the week of September 8, 2014, Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nations Chiefs (APC) reached out to all candidates running in New Brunswick’s provincial election and asked for their ideas on how First Nations communities and the government can work better together.
We recognize that First Nations have had successes working with the provincial government in the past, but we also believe that there have been challenges.
The purpose of this candidate outreach was not to discuss current issues or stories in the media; it was to start a dialogue about how First Nations and government can work more effectively together.
Going forward, our goal is to be part of a new conversation in New Brunswick and forge a better relationship with the provincial government. APC would like to meet with elected candidates following the election on September 22. APC represents over 13,000 people in 15 communities across the province. As an organization, we guide policy research and advocacy for our First Nations Chiefs. Our key focus areas are: economic development; housing and infrastructure; education, training and job opportunities for Aboriginal youth; and, healthcare improvements. Our people recognize the necessity for healthy, self-reliant communities, and are ready and eager to achieve these goals.
We also want to work with the province to support a more collaborative approach in dealing with the federal government, especially as it relates to access to training and job opportunities.
Of those candidates we heard back from, all agreed First Nations and government can do a better job of working together. All candidates agreed they do want to have a relationship with First Nations communities and their leaders. All agreed that there could be more innovative and new approaches to working together or that we need to work together in more constructive ways. And all candidates agreed that they would work with us on a more collaborative approach with the federal government, specifically when it comes to access to training and job opportunities.
This fall APC plans to sit down with our newly elected officials to discuss what joint government / First Nations projects are working well and what projects or approaches need change. Together, we want to create a better approach with our New Brunswick government and start building the plan that will lead to greater collective wins, benefitting the province and our communities.
We know we can do better by shifting away from the status quo and unleashing the great potential of our people, jointly moving our province in a positive direction. We look forward to working with everyone to make this a reality.