Bill on mining: AFNQL is calling on the Premier

WENDAKE, QC, May 30, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - The Bill on Mining tabled by the government of Quebec is offensive to the rights of the First Nations. The Bill presented by Minister Ouellet completely ignores the issues relating to the territory and resources that were put forward by the AFNQL.

"The Canadian Constitution recognizes rights of the Aboriginal peoples, not to the MRCs. Whether it likes it or not, the provincial government must comply with it and fulfill its obligations", stated Ghislain Picard, Chief of the AFNQL.

"The co-management and the conservation of the territory, the consultation for the accommodation of the parties, and the sharing of royalties on the territories, are key issues. We will never give up on that", added Chief Picard.

These fundamental issues of the First Nations, which the Bill on Mining completely ignores, have nevertheless been officially presented to the Premier and to several members of her government, including Minister Ouellet, at the Summit on territories and resources, held by the AFNQL in Montreal, last December 3rd. The vast majority of the Quebec Chiefs were in attendance at the Summit and they called directly on the Premier and the attending members of her government, on this subject.

"First Nations use all legitimate means available to be heard by the provincial government. Our issues have been known to all, for decades. They are reinforced by international declarations, jurisprudence, clear political positions taken by the government itself: but to no avail.

When the time comes to take action, to take us into account with due respect for our positions, when time comes to work with us in developing the territory and its resources in harmony for the collective good, Quebec hides", states Ghislain Picard.

"After the Summit we held with this government and its Premier, where we clearly advocated our positions, the current Bill on Mining is another missed opportunity."

"I do not doubt the willingness and the sincerity of the Premier. She will have to get personally involved in the essential and inescapable process of rapprochement of Quebec and the First Nations on the development of our territories and our resources. Quebec cannot afford to neglect any further the issues of the First Nations", concluded Ghislain Picard.

About the AFNQL
The Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador is the political organization bringing together 43 chiefs of the First Nations in Quebec and Labrador. www.apnql-afnql.com.

SOURCE: Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador

For further information:

Mélanie Vincent (melanievincent21@yahoo.ca)
Cell.: 418 580-4442


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