(Image taken from Indian Affairs website http://www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/index-eng.asp )
APTN National News
OTTAWA–Indian and Northern Affairs Canada does not yet have a plan in place or know how much it will cost to replace the word “Indian” in the department’s name with “Aboriginal.”
The plan for the name change was announced Wednesday shortly after the unveiling of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s new cabinet.
John Duncan, who was previously the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, was reappointed to the same portfolio but given the title Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development.
The name change not only caught First Nations, Metis and Inuit leaders by surprise, but also department officials, some who only found out by watching television.
The department has now admitted it does not know how much it will cost to change its name or have a plan yet in place.
“At present, it is too early to estimate the cost of changing the department’s name,” said department spokesperson Genevieve Guibert in an emailed statement. “The department is developing an action plan to determine how to implement the change in a timely and practical manner and with the least cost to taxpayers.”
Guibert said the minister’s new title would be used immediately in news releases and correspondence, but it will take longer to change the department’s name on its website, signage, letterhead and forms.
The department is also in the process of having its title changed in the federal government’s Federal Identity Program, which is part of the federal government’s corporate identity program, said Guibert.
The statement also repeated the Conservative government’s reason for suddenly deciding to make the name change.
“The change of the department’s name from Indian Affairs and Northern Development to Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development better reflects the scope of the minister’s responsibilities with respect to First Nations, Inuit and Metis,” said Guibert. “The change has no effect on the minister’s statutory responsibilities or the mandate of the department.”
It took the department two days to respond to questions from APTN National News about the cost and plan for the name change.