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First Nations Governance Act

The First Nations Governance Act was authored by Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs Bob Nault under the government of Jean Chrétien after much consultation with experts in aboriginal law.

Supporters claimed that "Nault's Act provided for much-needed (accountability and transparency at the band level. It was the right thing to do. The legislation was the product of a lot of bloody hard work by Nault and his officials," http://www.warrenkinsella.com/musings.htm claimed Warren Kinsella.

The Act was however controversial with the Assembly of First Nations due to imposing what many band councils saw as undue scrutiny on their affairs, compromising aboriginal sovereignty and aboriginal treaty rights.

Paul Martin, in one of his first acts as Prime Minister of Canada, killed the Act. He began an alternative process of consultation and had concluded the major Kelowna Agreement with the Assembly in November 2006 as the Canadian federal election, 2006 began.

However, the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, a group that included urban aboriginal people - not represented at Martin's conference - endorsed the Conservative Party of Canada in that same election after Indian and Northern AffairsCritic Jim Prentice met with Congress National Chief Dwight Dorey and National Vice-Chief Patrick Brazeau. Prentice had promised to include the CAP in future debate:

"After 12 years, the lives of Aboriginal peoples have not improved," Prentice said. "A Conservative government would do better, and we will work closely with groups such as the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples to achieve the goals outlined in the Kelowna agreement."

Conservatives also promised to work with groups to develop a northern vision to guide economic, social, and environmental progress in the region. This was similar to the sudden embracing of ACOA and seemingly part of a Conservative strategy to reach out to disaffected regions and groups, especially those excluded in deliberation by the Liberals. Brazeau said:

"Stephen Harper has opened the door for the Congress and other groups to work together to improve the lives of Aboriginals."

It was widely anticipated that the Liberal Party of Canada would scramble to make some reactive promise to include the CAP in future conferences, but as of 2006-01-15 this had not occurred.