SIOUX LOOKOUT, ON, June 24 /CNW/ - Last week, John Beaucage, candidate
for National Chief announced his plan to address First Nations poverty. As a
part of that announcement, he spoke about the need to address specific issues
of the far north. Today, as a part of a week-long visit to the north, John
Beaucage outlined his specific plans to develop a comprehensive strategy to
address the needs of northern communities.
"First Nations living in the far north have unique needs that are quite
different than other communities," said Beaucage. "Costs are higher, people
are poorer and economic development opportunities are scarce. But we can't
afford to ignore the citizens of the north and their needs any longer.
Government must be held to account in their obligations to all First Nation
Beaucage's plan not only includes the government meeting their fiduciary
obligations to First Nations in the north, but renewed public-private
partnerships in resource development.
"A new AFN must play a role in facilitating and encouraging new economic
development opportunities and investment in the north, including green energy
development, mining, forestry and opportunities in eco-tourism," said
Beaucage. "We must seek out and encourage those socially-conscious industry
partners that want to do business with First Nations in the north."
During his campaign stop in Sioux Lookout, Ontario, John Beaucage
announced his comprehensive plan to address First Nations issues in the north:
- Changing the way First Nations are funded through a new system of
direct transfer payments in much the same way that Provinces are
funded. Equalization formulas would ensure northern and remote First
Nations are provided adequate resources to deliver essential services
to their citizens.
- Recognize the Treaty right to adequate shelter by increasing the level
of government funding and support to First Nations social housing by
at least 40,000 new housing starts within 5 years;
- Strongly advocate for new programs to address the high cost of living,
and transport of goods and fuel to First Nation communities, including
new investment in a winter roads program and a fly-in remoteness
- Advocate for the development of a new far-north specific First Nations
economic development agency that will enhance capacity, networking and
- Enabling green energy opportunities, such as small hydro,
run-of-the-river technology and wind power by encouraging public and
private investment in the far north, including development of
- Working with First Nations to replace generations-old diesel
generating stations with green technology.
- Working with First Nations and government to address, not only the
duty to consult and accommodation of First Nations interests, but
address the requirement of First Nations to provide their consent to
development on First Nations traditional territory as addressed in the
United Nations declaration on Indigenous Rights.
- By encouraging a new culture resource development in mining and
forestry on First Nation's traditional territory, based on true
partnerships with First Nations including negotiation of impact
benefit agreements, resource-benefit sharing and renewed public-
- Facilitating the recognition, and when required, the harmonization of
First Nations traditional and resource laws.
"However, these types of initiatives alone will not solve poverty and
lead to self-sufficiency in the north. We require the leadership and guidance
of all northern communities and the commitment resolve and support of all
Canadians," concluded Beaucage.
The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is the national organization
representing First Nations in Canada. There are over 630 First Nation
communities in Canada. The elected Chiefs from each First Nation will cast
their vote to elect the National Chief in Calgary, Alberta on July 22, 2009.
John Beaucage is a citizen of Wasauksing First Nation, and served as
Grand Council Chief of the 42 member First Nations of the Anishinabek Nation
in Ontario from 2004 to 2009.
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