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
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