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Updated: Thu, 04 Sep 2014 13:08:59 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

Former politicians and aboriginal leaders announcing new partnership



Former Prime Minister Paul Martin endorsed Brian Gallant's plan to cut $250 million from the provincial budget in the second year of a New Brunswick Liberal government mandate. CBC

Former Prime Minister Paul Martin endorsed Brian Gallant's plan to cut $250 million from the provincial budget in the second year of a New Brunswick Liberal government mandate. CBC

Former prime ministers Joe Clark and Paul Martin were among a group of prominent politicians joining with aboriginal leaders in Ottawa today to announce "a new partnership."

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Canadians for a New Partnership calls on aboriginal and non-aboriginal people to join them in signing a declaration aiming to improve relations between the groups.

In a draft declaration obtained by CBC News, the group says its purpose is, "To solve, through a commitment of good will and widespread attestation, what has for decades eluded dealmakers, negotiators and people of earnest intent."

They plan to conduct a "national dialogue" that will "rebuild trust, remedy a broken relationship and lead to a new partnership."

​Clark and Martin were joined by former Assembly of First Nations National Chief Ovide Mercredi, former Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami leader Mary Simon; former N.W.T. premier Stephen Kakfwi, Métis writer Chelsea Vowel and former auditor general of Canada Sheila Fraser.

Described by one insider as "a very different approach" to reconciliation, the group's declaration says the new relationship will address past wrongs and acknowledge aboriginal and treaty rights. 

During his last year in office, Martin negotiated the historic Kelowna Accord with First Nations that was later scrapped by the Harper government. 

Canadians for a New Partnership launched today with an event at the Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health, in Ottawa. 

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