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Date: November 24, 2005

First-Ever National Chair on Aboriginal Economic Development

For Immediate Release
November 24, 2005

Government of Canada
Office of the Premier


Governments of Canada and British Columbia Announce First-Ever National Chair on Aboriginal Economic Development

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, November 24, 2005 — Dr. Keith Martin, Member of Parliament for Esquimalt–Juan de Fuca, on behalf of the Honourable David L. Emerson, Minister of Industry, and The Honourable Gordon Campbell, Premier of British Columbia, today announced that the governments of Canada and British Columbia intend to support the establishment of a National Chair on Aboriginal Economic Development to be located at the University of Victoria.

It will be the first Chair of its kind in Canada. The federal and provincial governments will contribute $2 million and $1 million, respectively, toward this initiative.

Housed in the University’s faculties of Business and Law, this new Chair will serve as a national focus of expertise and for the advancement of Aboriginal business and economic development. This new Chair will create a specific vehicle for collaboration on measures that can increase the participation of Aboriginal people in the regional, national and international economies.

“B.C. has taken a leadership role in working to overcome the injustices of the past treatment of Canada’s Aboriginal people, and advancing new economic opportunities for Aboriginal communities is critical to achieving that goal,” said Premier Campbell. “This new Chair at UVic is an example of the innovative partnerships we can form at all levels of government and society to achieve our shared goals for closing the social and economic gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians.”

“Canada needs a way to generate new ideas, and to bring together the results of many institutions and organizations that are doing excellent work in the area of Aboriginal business and economic development. If we are to find lasting solutions, we must work together as partners to move forward with measures like this one that will have long-term positive impacts for Aboriginal people and for Canada,” said Dr. Martin. “This is consistent with our commitment to seize opportunities to continue the momentum of the historic First Ministers’ Meeting on Aboriginal Issues.”

While specific activities are yet to be developed, they will include:
  • providing a venue for independent and collaborative research and consolidation of knowledge on Aboriginal economic development
  • acting as a broker of partnerships among various parties — for example, joint ventures, or partnerships in the advancement of scholarship
  • offering relevant learning opportunities and a supportive environment for new students, especially Aboriginal students, in disciplines related to economic development
  • publishing and sharing knowledge and best practices from which Aboriginal economic development practitioners, and many others, can benefit

Activities will be made possible through the participation of other parties, notably private sector firms and institutions, who will play important roles in resourcing the work and in ensuring the long-term success of the new chair.

A national search will be conducted to identify a qualified individual to fill the position. The University will also establish a forum for Aboriginal organizations, business, and others involved in Aboriginal economic development to provide advice on the design and implementation of the Chair’s activities, research agenda and education program.

The University of Victoria is widely recognized as one of Canada’s leading universities, and is known for combining academic excellence with meeting the changing needs of society. As an independent setting with credibility among governments, Aboriginal peoples, academic and business leaders, the University of Victoria provides an ideal venue for this applied research initiative.

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For more information, please contact:

Christiane Fox
Office of the Honourable David L. Emerson
Minister of Industry
(613) 995-9001

Dr. Philip Steenkamp
Deputy Minister for Strategic Policy
and Social Development, Office of the Premier
Province of British Columbia
(250) 387-2226

Dr. John Borrows
Professor of Aboriginal Justice and Governance
University of Victoria
(250) 721-8167 or (250) 721-8150
Media Relations
Industry Canada
(613) 943-2502

Dr. David Turpin
President, University of Victoria
Victoria, British Columbia
(250) 721-7002

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Backgrounders:
National Chair on Aboriginal Economic Development

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