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By IBTimes Staff Reporter | February 16, 2013 10:44 PM PST

Reacting to Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan's untimely resignation, the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN) chief expressed surprise over the development and hoped that dialogue between the indigenous Canadian citizens and the Federal government would remain a priority of the new minister, who is expected to take office soon.

Labeling the sudden-resignation a 'shock', the Chief of the FSIN, Perry Bellegarde said: "I want to see a minister now that's got a mandate from cabinet, with support from the Prime Minister's office, to implement section 35 of Canada's constitution which recognizes existing aboriginal treaty rights."

"(John Duncan was) a very nice man, a very honourable man, but what files have been moved in terms or education, or housing, or dealing with treaty entitlement, or reserve creation, or even water? There are still huge gaps that face First Nations people," CTV News quoted the FSIN chief, as saying.

The Aboriginal Affairs Minister resigned from the cabinet Friday afternoon over contacting a tax court judge on a behalf of a constituent.

"In June of 2011, I wrote a character reference letter to the Tax Court of Canada on behalf of an individual to whom my constituency staff was providing casework assistance on a Canada Revenue Agency matter. While the letter was written with honourable intentions, I realize that it was not appropriate for me, as a Minister of the Crown, to write to the Tax Court," said the minster in a resignation statement. Apologizing for his action, the minister stated that he is fully responsible for his unfortunate-action and the consequences they have brought.

Accepting the resignation Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper said in a statement that James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages will serve as the acting minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development until a new minister is named.

Acknowledging Duncan's contribution to the nation, the prime minister indicated that Duncan will continue to serve as the Member of Parliament for Vancouver Island North in the House of Commons.

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