Brazeau urges Parliament to move immediately on passage of human rights protection legislation



    No need for further consultation or to deny Aboriginal rights

    OTTAWA, Dec. 4 /CNW Telbec/ - In the wake of the federal government's
recent introduction in the House of Commons of legislation to ensure that the
fundamental human rights of First Nations people are protected under the
Canadian Human Rights Act, Canada's youngest national Aboriginal leader is
calling for the voices of First Nations women to be heard by Members of
Parliament to ensure that the Bill is passed without delay.
    National Chief Patrick Brazeau of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples
(CAP) today stressed the need for First Nations women and youth, and those who
support their plight for protection of their human rights, to ensure that
their position on the matter is made known to Parliamentarians.
    Representatives from the Congress of Aboriginal people have been taking
part in a dialogue since early fall with members of Canada's off reserve
Aboriginal population. This countrywide dialogue is aimed at enhancing the
protection of Human Rights for First Nations people living away from Indian
Act reserves.
    CAP has undertaken a series of consultations with grassroots Aboriginal
people concerning the Repeal of section 67 among other issues. These meetings
have taken place in selected urban areas across the country including
Winnipeg, Sturgeon Falls, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Regina, Thunder Bay, Vancouver,
and Prince George.
    The conclusion of these meetings, clearly demonstrate that an
overwhelming majority of the human rights violations are directed towards
Aboriginal women. These women feel they have no appropriate mechanisms in
place to deal effectively with their complaints and that there is an urgent to
need to deal with this problem through the repeal of section 67 of the Human
Rights Act.
    The Congress has been urging all Canadians to let their Members of
Parliament know that they are in strong support in favor of the immediate
repeal of section 67 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, which does not
currently permit human rights complaints of First Nations peoples to be
directly dealt with, as is the case for all other Canadians.
    The National Chief reiterated the call to action in the face of
opposition by some in the First Nations community to making immediate moves to
repeal Section 67 of the Canadian Human Rights Act.
    "Any suggestion that there hasn't been an opportunity to address how this
proposed Act can be implemented so that capacity concerns of First Nation
governments are addressed is not dealing with fact. At the heart of this
matter are peoples' rights. There's no evidence at all to support that
granting access to First Nations peoples of the same redress mechanisms as all
other Canadians denies inherent and treaty rights in any way," emphasized
National Chief Brazeau.
    "Efforts that seek to deal with this have been ongoing throughout the
last thirty years. That is more than long enough for consultation. After such
a lengthy period there can be absolutely no reason to delay forward movement
on such a fundamental matter any further. This is a major step forward for the
rights and interests of First Nations peoples at the grassroots level. I've
heard it firsthand in communities across the country in the past two months,
and particularly from women and youth," said Chief Brazeau.
    While certain of the leadership in First Nations communities seem
preoccupied with concerns over timing and their demand for further
consultation, Brazeau has been dealing with the concerns of the people on the
ground.
    Brazeau concluded, "People are feeling frustrated by the needless delays.
They're telling us that Canada needs to get on with this matter and grant them
the same accommodation and protection of rights as all other Canadians. All
Canadians and their parliamentarians need to know this. We intend on shouting
this message from the rooftops until the legislation passes. There's
absolutely no agenda at play here other than ensuring that First Nations
people are afforded exactly the same measures of protection of human rights as
any other Canadian. After thirty years of delay, we need to get this dealt
with by Parliament now".




For further information:

For further information: Al Fleming, Director, Public Affairs, Congress
of Aboriginal Peoples, (613) 867-8696, al@abo-peoples.org

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