The province of P.E.I. and the Mi’kmaq Confederacy of P.E.I. (MCPEI) have announced an economic development agreement that will significantly advance participation of the First Nations in the Island economy, said Premier Robert Ghiz.
Ghiz, who is the minister responsible for aboriginal affairs, says access to economic development opportunities is made possible by having stable funding, qualified human resources and equity. He said the partnership will put the key ingredients for success in the hands of the P.E.I. First Nations.
The four-year partnership agreement includes a secondment of an official to MCPEI to serve as its economic development officer, annual economic development funding, an equity contribution for economic development initiatives and a strategically located portion of Crown land.
“We are pleased w ith this agreement and appreciate the province’s partnership as the First Nations strive to advance their economic development opportunities and initiatives,” said Brian Francis, chief of the Abegweit First Nation and co-chair of the MCPEI board of directors. “Economically vibrant First Nations make a vital contribution to the economic well-being of the province as a whole.”
The agreement was also welcomed by Matilda Ramjattan, chief of the Lennox Island First Nation and co-chair of the MCPEI board.
“We are fully aware that developing our own source revenues is critical in our goal to attain self sufficiency and to return to the prosperity that the Mi’kmaq of P.E.I. once knew,” said Ramjattan. “This agreement is an important step in that direction.”
The P.E.I.-MCPEI Economic Development Agreement was signed during the third annual Provincial Cabinet-MCPEI Board of Directors Forum, which was held recently on the Lennox Island First Nation Reserve. This annual gathering provides an opportunity to address matters of mutual concern and share information, and highlights the effort to further the partnership between the government of Prince Edward Island and the P.E.I. First Nations.