LETTER TO MINISTER BENNETT DEMANDING SHE KEEP HER WORD TO THE DENE OF NORTHERN MANITOBA AND SASKATCHEWAN

Dear Minister Bennett,

 We are writing to you today to urgently reconsider your decision on June 12th, 2019 to indefinitely defer the initialing of your agreement between the Athabasca Denesuline, the Ghotelnene K’odtineh Dene and the Crown.

 For years, they have been negotiating to pursue their right to land and resources. Yet, despite being told a deal was imminent, your Ministry reversed its decision at the last minute and has cancelled all future meetings.

 Minister, using consultations as a smoke screen to delay implementation of an agreement is an egregious act of bad faith that sets the Dene communities back years.

 We understand that there are concerns from Indigenous groups in the Northwest Territories about the draft agreements. But disagreements don’t mean the end to negotiations and stopping the progress that has already been made. Your negotiations thus far have included impacts on the rights on Indigenous groups, but the negotiations have nonetheless remained ongoing. Shutting down the process now is a backwards step in working with the Dene people and is entirely inconsistent with your department’s actions so far.

 Will you meet with the Dene of Northern Manitoba and Saskatchewan and work as quickly as possible towards an agreement between the Government of Canada and the Athabasca Denesuline and Ghotelnene K’odtineh Dene?

 Sincerely,

 MP Niki Ashton (Churchill—Keewatinook Aski)

 MP Georgina Jolibois (Desnethé — Missinippi — Churchill River)

 MP Sheri Benson (Saskatoon West)