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Intergovernmental Affairs Office
The Intergovernmental Affairs Office is a distinct branch of the Mi’kmaq Confederacy of Prince Edward Island. The office serves to bridge the gap between the Mi’kmaq Governments and the Federal and Provincial Governments by dealing directly with Federal and Provincial politicians and senior bureaucrats in order to advance the cause of the Mi’kmaq on PEI. There are three main priority areas associated with the Intergovernmental Affairs office: 1. The Partnership Agreement. 2. The Duty to Consult. 3. Aboriginal and Treaty Rights based issues.
The Partnership Agreement among the Mi’kmaq Government, Federal Government and the Province of PEI was signed on December 1, 2007. It provides for the parties to work cooperatively on several matters of concern for the First Nations, including health, education, economic development, justice and child and family services. Representatives from the three levels of government have had several meetings and the sector specific working tables should be producing tangible results in the near future.
The Duty to Consult issue stems from the findings of the Supreme Court of Canada that both the Federal and Provincial Governments are required to notify and consult with the Aboriginal community when they make decisions that could impact on the Aboriginal Community. The IG office is developing a consultation protocol for negotiation with the other levels of government.
The issue of Aboriginal and Treaty Rights is a critical role undertaken by the Intergovernmental Affairs office and relates to MCPEI negotiating with the government for compensation respecting land claims. This process will be lengthy due to the significant amount of research to be undertaken to ensure that the First Nations are negotiating with a solid and accurate factual foundation.