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Released on November 15, 2001

Justice and Aboriginal Affairs Minister Chris Axworthy today announced the

establishment of the Commission on First Nations and Metis Peoples and

Justice Reform.

The independent commission will engage in a problem-solving dialogue with

Saskatchewan people, in particular Aboriginal communities and

organizations, to identify reforms that will improve the justice system for

all citizens of the province.

"If we are to have a just and prosperous future in this province, we need

to move forward in peace, harmony and respect for each other," Axworthy

said. "I expect the commission to provide us with insights that will

enable us to have a great future in this province."

Willie Littlechild was named chair of the five person commission. Also

named were Hugh Harradence, Glenda Cooney, Joe Quewezance and Irene Fraser.

The goal of the commission is to identify efficient, effective and

financially responsible reforms to the justice system. These reforms

should improve the justice system so it reflects the strengths and values

of aboriginal people, and ultimately lead to safer communities in


The commission will hold hearings, analyze proposals and make

recommendations to the Governments of Canada and Saskatchewan, the

Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN) and the Metis Nation -

Saskatchewan (MNS).

The commission will travel to First Nations and Metis communities as well

as rural and urban areas to hear their ideas for reforms. The hearings

will be advertised and organizations in each community will be notified in

advance so they can attend. The commission will develop its schedule in

the weeks to come.

"I look forward to visiting First Nations and Metis communities and

listening to their ideas for reforms that would benefit them," Commission

Chair Littlechild said. "I am confident my fellow commissioners and I will

be able to develop useful and meaningful reforms."

The terms of reference were developed after extensive consultations between

FSIN, MNS, Saskatchewan Justice and others. This process has a budget of

$2.5 million and the commission is to deliver its recommendations within

three years, with interim progress summaries every six months.


For more information, contact:

Jeff Bohach



Phone: (306) 787-5657

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