CAW and AFN Launch Joint Infrastructure Projects

    TORONTO, Oct. 25 /CNW/ - The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) has teamed
up with the Canadian Auto Workers union (CAW) to launch a series of
infrastructure projects as part of the AFN's ongoing Make Poverty History
campaign and a CAW commitment to social justice in Canada and abroad. Clean
drinking water, increased accessibility to community services and safe places
for women are key focuses of the projects.
    "These are tangible projects that are going to make a real and lasting
difference in the lives of First Nations people and their communities," said
National Chief Phil Fontaine. "We are grateful to the CAW for showing
leadership and volunteering their time and skills in advancing social justice
in our communities."
    CAW President Buzz Hargrove confirmed the union's long-term dedication to
ending First Nations poverty, an issue that has strong support amongst the
union's 265,000 members. "By funding these programs and having our skilled CAW
members working on these important projects really highlights the need for
direct action," said Hargrove. "The Canadian government must address the
terrible conditions that plague so many First Nations communities across the
country - there is no need for this to continue."
    While the program will involve a number of sites across the country, the
first initiative will be the Native Canadian Centre in Toronto, where local
CAW members will build a children's play area, carry out kitchen repairs and
build a wheelchair ramp to expand accessibility to the centre's important
programs. This project will begin next week.
    "It's so nice to see partnerships coming to our community centre to help
a non-profit organization, like our centre," said Larry Frost, Executive
Director of the Native Canadian Centre in Toronto.
    Vancouver's Downtown Eastside Women's Centre will benefit from the
efforts of CAW members who will help create a safe and welcoming space to be
used as a much needed drop-in centre.
    Next spring, CAW efforts will turn to Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation
in the Yukon, where the union will help remediate water wells to eliminate the
risk of E.coli contamination in the community's drinking water.
    "It goes to show that a union like the Canadian Auto Workers can step up
to the plate and help a community in crisis," said Chief Eddie Skookum of the
Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation. "This is not a government agency, but
it's another agency that can step up to the process."
    The CAW is also looking at renovating a community centre for the Little
Salmon/Carmacks First Nation.

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

For further information:

For further information: Shannon Devine, CAW Communications, (cell)
(416) 302-1699; Karyn Pugliese, Health Communications Assembly of First
Nations, (613) 241-6789 ext 210 or (613) 292-1877 or

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