Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief Rick Simon says the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples lacks a real membership in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland

    OTTAWA, Nov. 2 /CNW Telbec/ - The Regional Chief of Nova Scotia and
Newfoundland, Rick Simon, is concerned that Prime Minister Stephen Harper is
wasting his time attending a meeting with an aboriginal group today in Halifax
that has no structure, accountable election practices, or membership.
    "The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples claims to have members in parts of
Canada, including in Nova Scotia, but First Nations people here are members of
the AFN," said Regional Chief Rick Simon. "The AFN has a real structure,
rules, procedures and chiefs who are elected by hundreds of thousands of First
Nations people living on and away from reserves."
    The AFN has been around since 1982. It represents 633 First Nations
across the country, with a membership of about 750,000 First Nations citizens.
First Nations have the fastest growing youth population in Canada. The AFN is
directly accountable to the First Nations Chiefs in Assembly who are
themselves, accountable to each and every citizen of their communities.
    "The Assembly of First Nations is a transparent and legitimate
organization that is held accountable to its citizens and to the Government of
Canada," said Regional Chief Rick Simon. "But this doesn't apply to the
Congress of Aboriginal Peoples. It doesn't have a real membership, a
legitimate election process, or an identifiable government structure."
    "The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples has been traveling across the country
in recent weeks, on the taxpayer's tab, but only a handful of people are
actually showing up to these meetings," said Regional Chief Rick Simon. "Just
because theoretically anyone can join their group doesn't give it a mandate to
claim to be a representative body of First Nations people."

For further information:

For further information: Josee Bellemare, Bilingual Communications
Officer, (613) 241-6789 ext. 336, cell (613) 327-6331,; Rick
Simon, Regional Chief of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, (902) 899 0334 (cell)

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