AFN National Chief Endorses Alternative Federal Budget

    OTTAWA, Jan. 6 /CNW Telbec/ - The National Chief of the Assembly of First
Nations, Phil Fontaine, endorsed the Alternative Federal Budget (AFB)
presented today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
    "We all agree that investing in First Nations is the pathway for economic
and social prosperity for both First Nations and Canada. Investing in First
Nations benefits all Canadians and builds a stronger Canada," the National
Chief said. "The Alternative Federal Budget released today is consistent with
the AFN's own proposal for a First Nations economic stimulus plan."
    The AFB calls for investments in the upcoming budget to include
Aboriginal and First Nations "hard infrastructure" (such as housing and
drinking water) and "soft infrastructure" (such as education and economic
development). This approach is congruent with the AFN's own First Nations
fiscal stimulus plan. The AFN plan calls for immediate investments in First
Nations infrastructure and education, and immediate support for partnerships
between First Nations and industry through a repayable loan fund. The plan
also calls for reforms to the current system that will improve accountability
and ensure effective and efficient use of resources.
    "Investing in First Nations infrastructure will create jobs right now for
all Canadians, while addressing the terrible conditions we find in too many of
our communities," the National Chief said. "Investing in education ensures a
strong Canada now and in the future. And supporting partnerships between First
Nations and industry improves the economy for all Canadians. Our proposal is a
win-win for all Canadians."
    The National Chief is discussing the First Nations economic stimulus
package with the Prime Minister and provincial and territorial leaders in
advance of the upcoming First Ministers Meeting on the Economy later this
    "The AFN's proposal focuses on immediate action that will stimulate the
economy. We know where the needs are so we can immediately start on work
projects. Canada needs action and the AFN has the plan," the National Chief
said. "We want to thank the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives for their
thorough work, commitment to social and economic justice and their support for
our approach."

    The Assembly of First Nations is the national political organization
representing First Nations citizens in Canada.

For further information:

For further information: Don Kelly, A/Communications Director, Assembly
of First Nations, (613) 241-6789, ext. 334, cell (613) 292-2787,; Gina Cosentino, Government Relations, National Chief's Office,
Assembly of First Nations, (613) 241-6789, ext 356,

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