OTTAWA, Sept. 18, 2017 /CNW/ - As the 42nd session of Parliament begins, Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde said there needs to be focus from all parties on concrete, practical steps towards building a nation-to-nation relationship between First Nations and Canada.
"It's time for Canada's commitments to be translated into action. First Nations have a vision of a renewed nation-to-nation relationship with Canada," said National Chief Bellegarde. "Our agenda is based on realizing this vision by taking practical steps that will build a stronger country for all of us. We must fully implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, including legislation to support its implementation. We want action and progress on our joint process to review all federal laws and policies to ensure they're consistent with First Nations rights. We expect continued momentum on our work to co-develop an Indigenous Languages Act to save and strengthen our languages. I continue my call for efforts to close the gap in the quality of life between First Nations and Canada through continued and more effective investments."
As steps are taken on longer-term work, National Chief Bellegarde called for immediate action to end discrimination in areas where Canada's own courts are demanding action.
"We must end the discrimination in the First Nations child welfare system and call on Canada to immediately and fully implement the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal orders," said National Chief Bellegarde. "Our children cannot wait. Parliament already voted unanimously to inject $155 million into the system, and to honour Jordan's Principle. That has to happen now. We are also concerned that gender discrimination in the Indian Act has to end as ordered by the court in the Descheneaux decision. First Nations are calling on Canada to repeal the problematic areas of the Indian Act in favour of First Nations' authority over First Nations' citizenship. No one should have to wait for justice."
The National Chief and AFN will be engaging with Parliamentarians from all parties throughout the session and beyond to ensure these priorities are understood and supported.
The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.
SOURCE Assembly of First Nations
For further information: Jamie Monastyrski, Press Secretary - National Chief's Office, 613-241-6789 ext. 222, 343-540-6179 (cell), [email protected]; Alain Garon, Bilingual Communications Officer, 613-241-6789 ext. 382, 613-292-0857 (cell), [email protected]; Michael Hutchinson, Communications Officer, 613-241-6789 ext. 254, 613-299-6330 (cell), [email protected]