Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett met today with the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples — the first of what will be yearly meetings to ensure the government is focused on indigenous priorities.
Trudeau says the meetings will ensure the group's leaders and members are heard and their concerns are reflected in the Liberal government's much-vaunted "renewed relationship" with indigenous peoples.
Trudeau says he's looking forward to working with Robert Bertrand, the newly elected national chief of the congress.
Others who took part in the meeting included CAP's vice-national chief, its executive officer, a senior policy adviser and indigenous elder Claudette Commanda.
Late last year, Trudeau also promised to meet First Nations, Métis and Inuit leaders at least once a year to address shared priorities.
Members of Trudeau's cabinet will also meet separately with representatives from the Assembly of First Nations, the Métis National Council and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami at least twice annually to develop and implement policies.
Bertrand says he discussed a number of subjects with the prime minister, including missing and murdered indigenous women, children in foster care, incarceration rates and education.
"It was ... an open and a very frank discussion," he said.