MONTREAL, Feb. 20, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - The Assembly of the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador (AFNQL) has
filed yesterday (February 19 2014), an application for judicial review
of the consultation process for the First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act. The AFNQL is therefore moving from words to action, considering that the
Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, Mr.
Bernard Valcourt, did not respond to the invitation of the First
Nations of Quebec to come to an agreement on a consultation process
within the delay of thirty (30) days as set in a letter transmitted on
December 20th 2013, by the Chief of the AFNQL, Mr. Ghislain Picard.
« After many attempts to be heard, which efforts remained totally
ignored by Minister Valcourt, an application for judicial review was
considered as a measure of last resort. We have decided to apply to the
Federal Court so that the government complies with its constitutional
obligation to consult and accommodate the First Nations of Quebec »,
stated Chief Picard.
By filing this Petition for judicial review, the AFNQL denounces the
biased and superficial consultations, not complying with the
obligations under the honour and the integrity of the Crown, more
particularly the obligation to consult directly the First Nations
concerned. Therefore, although the Assembly of First Nations (AFN)
took part in the announcement of the federal government, in no way does
this participation bind the First Nations of Quebec. It is up to each
region, each territory affected by a treaty, and each First Nation to
choose the path to follow and to be specifically consulted.
The Bill is Inadequate
In addition to opposing the consultation process, the First Nations of
Quebec have raised many concerns about the content of the bill. In his
letter to Minister Valcourt, the Chief of the AFNQL submits the three
winning conditions that would help get the support of the First Nations
The recognition and the respect for the jurisdiction, along with the
control of the First Nations on education, by allowing the solutions of
the First Nations to be implemented.
Guarantee the necessary, adequate, equitable and stable funding for the
education of the First Nations.
A significant support to the teaching of languages and cultural values
of the First Nations.
On the other hand, the announcement of February 7th by Prime Minister Harper of a financial commitment of 1,9 billion
dollars accompanied by legislative measures constitute recycled
promises and does not meet satisfactorily these three conditions. Some
contested articles of the bill disseminated in October 2013 are
maintained. « How can the Minister pretend that this bill will give
the First Nations the control of their education, while imposing
criteria and the model of School Boards, his bill does not allow us to
develop our own criteria and our governance model? The one big change
is a name change, and it is nothing more than a shameful cosmetic
change », stated the Chief responsible for the Education portfolio
within the AFNQL, Mr. Gilbert Whiteduck.
SOURCE: Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador
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