OTTAWA, Jan. 25, 2012 /CNW/ - Instead of boasting about Canada's success
in avoiding much of the impacts of the recent global economic downturn
at this week's World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Prime
Minister Stephen Harper should be sharing with them a ground-breaking
Canadian plan to stimulate its economy with initiatives that create
genuine partnerships with First Peoples.
Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee, one of 120 First Nations leaders
from across Canada to participate in what was billed as a historic
Crown-First Nations Gathering, said the post-event consensus was that
Canada is intent on pushing through its own legislative agenda for
First Nations, instead of working with them on comprehensive and
Madahbee said Canada is missing out on an opportunity to be seen as a
leader on the world stage. "The National Chief has told Prime Minister
Harper that a comprehensive action plan would add $400 billion to the
Canadian economy, and eliminate $150 billion in social costs. There are
400 million Indigenous peoples around the globe -- over a million in
Canada. We are the fastest growing population. We are the students and
workers of the future. Why do governments constantly overlook us?
"If financial self-sufficiency of First Nations" is truly the "end-goal"
of the Canadian government, they need to be talking to us about the
treaty promises and resource revenue-sharing. This is the only way to
create certainty for corporate projects. They can no longer expect to
barge into our territories without dealing with First Nations peoples."
"We have epidemic health and social issues, gross inequities in funding
for our students, and virtually no share in the billions in resources
being stolen from our traditional territories," said Madahbee, speaking
for 39 member communities of the Anishinabek Nation. "What we heard
from Mr. Harper was a lame re-hashing of his government's so-called
accomplishments for our communities and citizens."
Madahbee said the Gathering began with some sources of optimism, a
ceremonial opening that included numerous references to the Royal
Proclamation of 1763, by which the Crown in Canada envisioned a
nation-to-nation relationship in its dealings with First Peoples.
"But the Harper Conservatives just cannot bring themselves to truly
honour the treaty relationship of sharing upon which Canada's creation
was based. They should be convening First Ministers' meetings involving
our people and the provinces to create comprehensive action plans.
"Instead, they continue to rely on their bureaucrats who, like the ones
who created the racist Indian Act in 1876, still act more as roadblocks
to First Nations progress than facilitators.
The Prime Minister himself said in Ottawa that the old rules - like the
Indian Act - don't get good results.
"Let's start working together on some new rules."
The Anishinabek Nation established the Union of Ontario Indians as its
secretariat in 1949. The UOI is a political advocate for 39 member
communities across Ontario, representing approximately 55,000 people.
The Union of Ontario Indians is the oldest political organization in
Ontario and can trace its roots back to the Confederacy of Three Fires,
which existed long before European contact.
SOURCE Anishinabek Nation
For further information:
Union of Ontario Indians
Phone: (705) 497-9127 (ext. 2290)
Cell: (705) 494-0735
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