Towards Self-Government - A year after the Socio-Economic Forum, First Nations present their own political platform



    MONTREAL, Nov. 8 /CNW Telbec/ - A year after the First Nations
Socio-Economic Forum held in Mashteuiatsh, positive and concrete actions on
the part of the Quebec and Canadian governments continue to languish. Faced
with these governments' inertia, the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and
Labrador (AFNQL) announces today that it does not intend to sit still anymore.
They have developed their own political platform that will generate a series
of actions aiming at significantly altering relations with the provincial and
federal governments. "We are done with waiting. From now on, we are going to
take the actions required to implement conditions that will provide for a
genuine and peaceful coexistence between First Nations and governments, which
is a very, very far cry from the current inadmissible standstill," declared
the Chief of the AFNQL, Ghislain Picard.
    The AFNQL platform is based on four essential elements: 1) getting
recognition of First Nations governments; 2) entering territorial, fiscal and
financial agreements; 3) replacing the Indian Act by a
government-to-government relationship; 4) implementing the First Nations
Action Plan.
    This platform is being made public a year after representatives of First
Nations, governments and Quebec civil society participated in the Mashteuiatsh
First Nations Socio-Economic Forum. "Our assessment from a political point of
view is far from positive. We feel no real willingness on the governments'
part to bring about change beyond mere lip service. We must thus take action,"
explained the Chief of the AFNQL during a press conference held before an
event marking the 1st anniversary of the Forum and attended by representatives
of First Nations, Canadian and Quebec governments and Quebec civil society
organizations.

    Positive highlights

    The Chief of the AFNQL also welcomed the significant progress achieved
among Quebec civil society organizations since the Socio-Economic Forum. "Over
the past year, we have developed several new alliances and have received
support from a meaningful number of Quebec organizations. We are seeing
genuine motivation to get to know us better and to establish relations
enabling First Nations to play a greater role in Québec society," declared
Ghislain Picard.
    He also stressed the concrete actions taken by First Nations which,
independently from the Quebec and Canada governments are progressively
implementing their self-government. "The problems, issues and solutions are
well known to us. We can initiate change at several levels. And we are talking
here about the outset of a genuine revolution for our peoples, a
youth-oriented revolution, a future-oriented revolution," declared Chief
Picard.

    The Assembly of First Nations of Québec and Labrador is the Chiefs of the
First Nations of Québec and Labrador regional organization.




For further information:

For further information: Alain Garon, Communications Officer, AFNQL,
(418) 842-5020, Cellular: (418) 956-5720


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