WENDAKE, QC, April 3, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - The Chief of the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador (AFNQL), Ghislain Picard, announces his intention to develop a casino project in which the revenue will benefit First Nations. He made the announcement today to warn the political parties involved in the Quebec election campaign that the next government will have to take note.
"Faced with governments that do everything to avoid discussions aimed at redressing the economic perspective for our people, the AFNQL has no choice and intends to propose to the Chiefs' Assembly of Quebec and Labrador , a project for a casino that will be fully managed by First Nations", said Chief Ghislain Picard.
This initiative is in response to failed attempts to engage successive Quebec governments into a dialogue on territories and resources, and to address among others, the notion of a better distribution of wealth in the form of royalties to First Nations. "The development continues without any consideration of our rights and title over our territory. While the political discourse in Quebec continues to be blind and silent to the inescapable reality of our peoples, it is time to change the balance of power, it's time to take our place and build on our economy", said the Chief of the AFNQL, who intends to present its proposal at the next meeting of the Chiefs of the First Nations. "First Nations have the authority to give their approval for a casino in Quebec. We have never relinquished our authority to make decisions whatsoever on behalf of our Nations", insists Chief Picard.
For too long, First Nations have been marginalized from development by governments that did what they wanted without any consideration or respect for First Nations. These rights are not held into account and continue to be denied. "It is now clear that we must rely on ourselves, states Chief Picard. We must consider the development of initiatives that will end the socio-economic gap that persists between our communities and the majority of Quebeckers and Canadians. With governments that avoid dealing with issues that are specific to First Nations, we have no choice but to consider the appropriate means to promote our social and economic development", argued Chief Ghislain Picard.
In the United States, Indigenous groups are owners of approximately 400 casinos and there are nearly twenty establishments of its kind in Canada, in at least five provinces.
"We have invested time, energy and good faith to negotiate with governments, which have yielded nothing, except disappointments and frustrations. We have given enough, the time has come to take back", says Ghislain 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. www.apnql-afnql.com
SOURCE: Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador
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