Assembly of First Nations National Chief Phil Fontaine responds to the federal fiscal update: Calls for new federal investments in First Nation communities and a new fiscal framework

    OTTAWA, Oct. 30 /CNW Telbec/ - The National Chief of the Assembly of
First Nations, Phil Fontaine, said today's federal fiscal update leaves no
doubt that the federal government could afford to work with First Nations to
eradicate poverty. Canada should make the necessary investments in all areas
such as infrastructure, housing, education and training in First Nations
communities. These investments are urgently required and there is no good
reason why the federal government is choosing to ignore First Nations poverty.
    "The federal government wants to introduce legislation that would apply
standards to reserves in the areas of drinking water and matrimonial real
property, but it is going ahead without allocating adequate resources to meet
those standards," said National Chief Phil Fontaine. "This is an even bigger
problem when it comes to the government's plan to bring back a version of Bill
C-44, which would amend the Canadian Human Rights Act, without allocating
comparable funding that is provided to provinces and territories for
infrastructure and services. I fully support enhancing human rights, but the
bill won't work without resources to make this legislation meaningful."
    "Due to inflation and population growth, First Nations are losing real
purchasing power each year. All of this happens in spite of Canada's record
surpluses. We are prepared to work with the government to design a new and
better system of fiscal transfers to First Nation governments that are based
on need and which provide a fair share of Canada's prosperity to First Nations
people. There is no reason why the federal government can't work with us to
meet our needs and eradicate First Nations poverty once and for all,"
concluded National Chief Phil Fontaine.
    The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing
First Nations citizens in Canada.

For further information:

For further information: Nancy Pine, Communications Advisor, Office of
the National Chief, (613) 241-6789 ext. 243, cell (613) 298-6382,; Josee Bellemare, Bilingual Communications Officer, (613)
241-6789 ext. 336, cell (613) 327-6331,

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