WENDAKE, QC, May 8, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - "Le Nord pour Tous (The North
for all), announced yesterday by the Quebec government, risks taking us
in the opposite direction from the nation-to-nation relationship we
were seeking." It is in these terms that AFNQL Chief Ghislain Picard
qualifies the rapprochement efforts made by the government of Ms.
Marois. "We were expecting a breath of new life in our relations with
the Quebec government following the last election, but I see that we
are confronted by the same attitude held by the previous government:
the First Nations are an afterthought", added Chief Picard.
"The government released new policy orientations today concerning
development of the North. Who was consulted in the work to establish
this new Plan? What role does it give to First Nations? How does this
renewed appetite for the natural resources of the North reflect the
premier's signals of openness towards First Nations? These are just
some of the questions we have as to whether Quebec really does want, at
the political level, to bring about rapprochement with the First
Nations within the context of a nation-to-nation relationship.
The Summit on Territories and Resources, held last December 3, 2012 with
Premier Pauline Marois in attendance, defined four issues: royalties,
co-management of development, territorial protection, and consultation
and accommodation, to allow First Nations to play a greater role in
natural resources development, rather than submit passively to the
development going on around them. A few meetings were held to set a
process in motion to ensure better account would be taken of our
concerns, but the Marois government has just fallen short of the most
crucial issue of all, by failing to consult with our peoples", said
the AFNQL Chief, voicing his indignation.
"Everyone appears to have been consulted: the mining companies, the
money markets, the environmental groups and the municipalities, but we
have the impression that First Nations, which continue to hold rights
and title over these territories, are being considered as the party
with the least at stake", stressed Chief Picard, visibly frustrated by
this turn of events. "We placed a great deal of trust in a political
process that should have put an end to this type of action where our
issues are continually avoided, but it has done nothing of the sort. We
continue to be systematically bypassed."
"The time has come to take stock of the progress if any, we made since
the Summit on Territories and Resources. The AFNQL Chiefs will go
collectively reflect on that and will make the appropriate decisions.
This is the stage we are at now", concluded AFNQL Chief Ghislain
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org)