Months after announcing that the federal Indigenous Affairs department will be split in two, government officials are laying out how the new departments will work at a technical briefing in Ottawa on Tuesday.
“We are tearing down an outdated, paternalistic structure built to enforce the Indian Act and replacing it with two updated, paternalistic departments designed to enforce the Indian Act,” said Minister for Indigenous Services Jane Philpott.
“Canada’s journey towards reconciliation now has two paths and we all know two is better than one.”
Although the full details will be explained in Tuesday’s briefing, Indigenous-Crown Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett hinted that the first few years might be a bit awkward for Indigenous Peoples.
“Like children living through a divorce, there might be some confusion for the first little while,” she told reporters.
“Who’s taking the kids to soccer? Will I have a bedroom in each of my parents houses? Will I have to choose which parent I love more? Will I have a fiduciary relationship with mommy or with daddy? That sort of thing.”
A government spokesperson said that once the new department roles and responsibilities are laid out, a fulsome consultation process will begin with Indigenous communities sometime after the next federal election.