The Rights of First Nations - 2nd debate: the last chance

WENDAKE, QC, March 26, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - "At this stage of the electoral campaign, if the emphasis of the election had focused mainly on issues that are of concern to First Nations, the parties that participated in the debate would get a big zero." This is how the Chief of the AFNQL, Ghislain Picard, wanted to describe the first debate, which has totally ignored the concerns of First Nations.

"Less than 2 weeks before election-day, the parties engaged in the campaign have made the choice to ignore the reality of First Nations. This is the only conclusion that can be drawn from the main party leaders. It is shameful for anyone wishing to lead Quebec to act as if First Nations did not exist", continued Chief Picard who feels that the concerns of First Nations are neglected.

After publishing its own platform in 2007, containing priorities on First Nations issues that will face Quebec, after having organized two debates, specifically on First Nations issues in 2008 and 2012, the AFNQL is troubled that parties voluntarily continue to ignore the issues of First Nations. The AFNQL even convened the PQ government to a Summit on territories and resources in December 2012. Yet, when looking at all the actions and signals from the AFNQL aimed at stressing the importance of the First Nations issues, the main party leaders continue to hide behind silence and that does not sit well for future relationships with First Nations after the upcoming April 7 election.

"This week's second and last debate could be a great opportunity for the leaders to provide clear and unambiguous answers to the requests of First Nations, primarily concerning all matters related to the development of natural resources and the royalties drawn from its exploitation", specifically added the Chief of the AFNQL. "The judgment may seem harsh, but the only thing that I can say, is that the leaders of the political parties that want to lead Quebec, are definitely looking for trouble and they will get it", concluded Chief Picard.

About the AFNQL
The Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador is the political organization of 43 Chiefs of the First Nations in Quebec and Labrador.

SOURCE: Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador

For further information: Mélanie Vincent, Cell.: 418-580-4442,

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