Speech from the Throne: Another vote against First Nations



    WENDAKE, QC, Oct. 17 /CNW Telbec/ - "Once again the federal government
missed out on the opportunity to honor its obligations towards the First
Nations of the country, and to finally get out of the colonialism era. After
the refusal of Canada to vote in favor of the United Nations Declaration on
the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Speech from the Throne is another
example of the lack of will on the part of the Canadian government, to assume
its responsibilities and to really tackle all the abuses that the First
Nations of Canada have to suffer, day after day", stated the Chief of the
Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador, Ghislain Picard.
    The Government of Canada has sent a message to the whole world that it
has no intention of honoring the new international standards pertaining to
Indigenous Peoples, as adopted by the United Nations. From now on, it will
endure the judgment of the international authorities which the First Nations
of Quebec and Labrador will be addressing.
    "It is disappointing to see that, once again, the First Nations are
largely ignored, in spite of a Canadian economy that is flourishing, a strong
Canadian dollar and a 14 billion $ of budgetary surplus. It is paramount that
the federal government abandons the status quo, that it recognizes our legal
authorities and assumes its responsibilities in the funding of our
infrastructures, stated Chief Picard. The elements in last night's Speech of
the Throne, which concern us, are not adequate in relation to the real needs."
    It should be noted that, last Friday, the AFNQL put the federal
government on notice that from now on, the Department of Indian Affairs would
be under external monitoring. Tired of seeing the issues drag on and on, the
AFNQL decided to turn towards international organizations, such as the UNESCO,
the International Amnesty and the UN, in order to pay a special attention to
the special problems faced by the First Nations and the irrationalities caused
by a system which is still influenced by the colonialist ideology.

    The Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador is the regional
organization which represents the Chiefs of the First Nations of Quebec and
Labrador.

    
    Did you know that

    Education

    - The 20-year federal funding formula of First Nations' schools has not
      been reviewed for 20 years;
    - $0 for the funding of vocational education;
    - $0 for the funding of technologies in our schools;
    - $0 for the funding of sports and recreational activities in our
      schools.

    Housing

    - There is a housing crisis among First Nations and there is certainly a
      connection between this situation and the social problems that prevail
      locally;
    - Mould can be found in over 1,500 dwellings, which represents 13% of the
      12,200 units that constitute the First Nations' housing inventory;
    - The First Nations' population has increased at three times the rate
      than Quebec's population over the last ten years;
    - Dwellings are crowded: each housing unit accommodates on average
      4 persons, which represents twice as much as a Quebec household;
    - About 8,500 housing units would have to be built over the next five
      years to meet First Nations' needs.

    Youth protection

    - Four times more reported cases (8% compared to 2%) are retained among
      First Nations children than among Quebec children;
    - Seven times more children are placed among First Nations than among
      Quebeckers. By 2008-09, there will be nine times more;
    - Since 2002, on average, 12% of First Nation children have been placed
      each year;
    - Over the past five years, First Nation children have spent 9.5 months
      in placement resource, among which 189,036 bed-nights during the last
      year.
    




For further information:

For further information: Alain Garon, Communication Officer, AFNQL,
(418) 842-5020, Cell.: (418) 956-5720


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