NAN demands halt of further action on Bill S-4

THUNDER BAY, ON, April 12 /CNW/ - Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Deputy Grand Chief Mike Metatawabin is demanding that further action by the Government of Canada on Bill S-4 on Matrimonial Real Property (MRP) be halted pending proper consultation with First Nations.

"The proposed legislation is appreciated however, it is the capacity at the community level that needs to be considered," said NAN Deputy Grand Chief Mike Metatawabin. "Our First Nations continue to struggle trying to meet and accommodate all the issues, in particular the never ending challenge to curb the housing crisis."

Bill S-4, formerly tabled as Bill C-8 was initially opposed by NAN in May 2009 citing jurisdictional conflicts and that such legislation had to be developed at the community level via consultation. NAN called for a 5-year moratorium on MRP while development of a Family Law template for NAN communities was completed.

The NAN Women's Council proposes an 18-month consultation process that would gather feedback from NAN communities and develop the essential framework for MRP legislation.

"The communities need information first," said NAN Women's Council spokesperson Jackie Fletcher. "We have to go to the community level and hear what they want, what they think is needed. Consultation must happen with MRP addressed on our terms."

On March 31, 2010 the first reading of Bill S-4 An Act respecting the family homes situated on First Nation reserves and matrimonial interests or rights in or to structures and lands situated on those reserves, was completed. A second reading is scheduled for tomorrow; April 13, 2010. While Bill S-4 is tabled at the Senate level, Bill C-4 stemming from the McIvor case is currently in the House of Commons pending approval.

Nishnawbe Aski Nation is a political territorial organization representing 49 First Nation communities in James Bay Treaty 9 and Ontario portions of Treaty 5 - an area covering two thirds of the province of Ontario.

SOURCE NISHNAWBE ASKI NATION

For further information: For further information: Amy Harris, Media Relations Officer - Nishnawbe Aski Nation, (807) 625-4906 or (807) 252-2806 mobile or by email aharris@nan.on.ca

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NISHNAWBE ASKI NATION

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