EDMONTON _ An Ontario chief says three national Indigenous groups have told Alberta Premier Rachel Notley they won’t be at a meeting with the premiers next week in Edmonton.
Isadore Day, Ontario chief with the Assembly of First Nations, says he supports the decision by leaders of the Assembly of First Nations, the Metis National Council and the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami not to attend the meeting on Monday, the day before the premiers hold their own talks.
“Our participation needs to be meaningful,” Day said Friday.“Talk is cheap.”
The leaders of the three groups have scheduled a news conference for Monday morning in Toronto, saying they “expect full inclusion in intergovernmental tables.”
Day said holding separate talks for Indigenous leaders “doesn’t meet the test of reconciliation.”
Notley’s spokeswoman, Cheryl Oates, said officials are continuing to talk with aboriginal groups about their attendance.
“We would like them to come,” she said. “We’ll keep working to encourage them to come.”
Five national aboriginal groups were originally scheduled to attend the meeting. The Native Women’s Association of Canada and the Indigenous Peoples’ Assembly of Canada have not signalled whether they will be there.
Day said Indigenous leaders are prepared to push harder if the provinces and territories don’t demonstrate a willingness to change their position on the meetings.
“We are in troubled waters right now,” he said.