Budget Backlash Shall Surely Trigger a "Summer of Protest" Across Canada



    VANCOUVER - COAST SALISH TERRITORY, March 21 /CNW/ - "As sure as spring
follows winter, Stephen Harper's Budget 2007 shall trigger a summer of
Aboriginal protests from one end of this country to the other," predicted
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs.
    The rage and anger of Aboriginal leaders continues to reverberate across
the country in the aftermath of the release of Harper's Budget 2007.
    "In our view, this latest deliberate attack against Aboriginal people
represents 'strike three' for the Harper government. First it was the complete
rejection of the Kelowna Accord, second it was Canada's refusal to support the
United Nations' Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People and now we have
the announcement of $21 million in new spending for Aboriginals in the face of
a $9 billion dollar surplus," added Grand Chief Phillip.
    "Enough is enough. Our communities have long since reached their breaking
point," stated Grand Chief Phillip. "The internalized violence of poverty in
terms of increasing infant mortalities, suicides, homicides, drug-related gang
violence, child apprehensions and massive unemployment is dangerously close to
flashing over to an outward expression of externalized violence in the form of
roadblocks, rail blockades and more Caledonia-style occupations of disputed
lands."
    Grand Chief Phillip continued, "Let's be clear. We do not need more
Federal government welfare payments. What we do need is for the Government of
Canada to fully meet its Constitutional and lawful obligations in the area
outstanding land rights issues. We need the Government of Canada to take heed
of the recently released Senate Report, entitled, 'Negotiation or
Confrontation: It's Canada's Choice' which outlines the over 1000 outstanding
specific claims across Canada. We need the Government of Canada to recognize
and accommodate our Aboriginal and Treaty entitlements to the Lands and
Resources within our respective territories. Further, economic development
needs to become a major priority within Federal Government spending.
Currently, economic development represents only 4% of Federal Government
Aboriginal program spending," stated Phillip.
    "Obviously the Government of Canada is not listening. Perhaps a summer of
barricades, balaclavas and burning tires will serve to draw attention to the
urgency of the desperate situation of the Aboriginal people of Canada,"
concluded Grand Chief Stewart Phillip.




For further information:

For further information: For further comment: Grand Chief Stewart
Phillip, (250) 490-5314, President


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