Federal Education Act: The First Nations of Quebec and Labrador will not yield to threats

WENDAKE, QC, March 27, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - The Chiefs of the AFNQL reaffirmed in a concerted, loud, and clear voice, their opposition to the proposed federal legislation regulating First Nation education, despite threats of retaliation from the federal government representatives. During a meeting held this morning in Wendake, the Chiefs and the education representatives tabled before the representatives of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, a political Declaration. They affirmed, by means of this Declaration, that any initiative for the provision of educational services to the First Nations taken unilaterally by the federal government, and the unilateral action undertaken by the federal government with its proposed Education Act, comes into direct conflict with the full jurisdiction of First Nations, including those which have been controlling education for their members since decades.

"The Declaration of the AFNQL Chiefs reaffirms the political and legal foundations on which the education of the First Nations is based. The Declaration also reiterates the commitment of the First Nations, Chiefs, teachers, parents and youths to work together, and with the federal government, to improve the quality of educational services for the First Nations. But, the federal government does not understand the concept and wants to impose a piece of legislation whose main purpose is to allow it to sidestep its responsibilities. The First Nations expect to face retaliation from the federal government as a result of their opposition to the federal legislation. I just want to warn the federal government, and most particularly the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, Bernard Valcourt, that we will not accept that our children, our teachers and our educational organizations be subjected to reprisals as a result of this political, fundamental and legitimate position adopted by their Chiefs", stated the Chief of the AFNQL, Ghislain Picard.

"The strategy of the government is very disconcerting. This morning's unanimous gesture is not only symbolic, but highly political. We will not sacrifice our structures. We stand united and in total solidarity with our position", stated the Grand Chief of the Nation huronne-wendat, Konrad Sioui.

"We are Nations. We have the right to administer our education system. We have shown our unity. Together, we will monitor this issue and act as one", stated the Chief of Kitigan Zibi, Gilbert Whiteduck.

About the AFNQL
The AFNQL is the regional organization regrouping the 43 Chiefs of the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador. For information: www.apnql-afnql.com.

SOURCE: ASSEMBLY OF FIRST NATIONS OF QUEBEC AND LABRADOR

For further information:

Mélanie Vincent
(418) 842-5020
(418) 580-4442
apnql@apnql-afnql.com

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ASSEMBLY OF FIRST NATIONS OF QUEBEC AND LABRADOR

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