In a move it said will better serve the needs of Indigenous peoples, the federal government is once again re-organizing its bureaucracy, sub-dividing both the department of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs and the department of Indigenous Services.
The move brings the total of recently-created Indigenous-focused departments to four, including the new Department of Indigenous Apologies and Department of Indigenous Empowermental Affairs. (The former has yet to be assigned a Minister. “We’re sorry about that,” Indigenous Services minister Jane Philpott noted in an email, “It’s a top priority.”)
“We know that four is a sacred number in many Indigenous cultures, so we thought, ‘why not reflect that in the way we structure ourselves?’,” said newly-appointed IEAC Minister Robert Falcon Ouellette.
“It made so much sense to us, we implemented it immediately,” Ouellette said. “Personally, the best part for me was getting to call up the national Aboriginal organizations, because the first they got to hear about it was from me.”
“It was just such a thrill to share what we’ve done on their behalf,” he added.
“Sure, why not?”, replied Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde when asked for comment. “Whyyyyy the hell not?”
Although he admitted to reporters that he’s unclear what the new departments will actually do or be responsible for.
“Seven is a sacred number, too, eh. Maybe the feds can create even more departments while they’re at it,” Bellegarde added.
However, Ross Diablo, well-known Indigenous commentator, was less sanguine.
“Splitting these departments yet again is basically re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic.”
“I wouldn’t say we’re ‘splitting’ the departments,” replied CIRNA Minister Carolyn Bennett with inverted air-quotes. “I like to think of it as a re-org for reconciliation.”
A spokesperson from the federal government said a consultation process with Inuit, First Nations and Métis communities would begin just as soon as all new departments were operational, sometime in 2018.