WENDAKE, QC, May 30, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - The Chief of the Assembly of the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador (AFNQL), Ghislain Picard, is openly criticising the attitude of the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) following the adoption of a resolution and a political statement unanimously rejecting Bill C-33, at the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) - Special Chiefs Assembly held on May 27, 2014 in Ottawa.
In fact, gathered in a Special Assembly, AFN chiefs adopted a resolution unanimously rejecting Bill C-33. They also approved a political statement demanding that the Government of Canada to withdraw the bill and honourably commit to a process that recognizes and supports regional and local diversity which would lead to actual First Nations control of their education based on their responsibility and inherent Aboriginal and Treaty rights.
In recent years, First Nations have gone to many lengths to demonstrate that their schools are underfunded. The government had always denied this up to February 7, 2014 when it announced additional funding that would enable quality education to be provided. Therefore, the government has lied to the public and kept First Nations schools in a precarious financial situation.
According to Minister Valcourt's position, rejecting the Bill would mean the government would not follow up on its commitment to provide additional funding, and in doing so, confirms that its claim of promoting student success through legislation is only a smokescreen. As demonstrated in all the studies conducted, the aim of this government has been to impose legislation on First Nations attacking their rights and making additional funding that their schools desperately need conditional to accepting this bill.
"This way of doing things clearly constitutes a breach of the principle of the honour of the Crown in its dealings with First Nations," stated Chief Picard, and added that "It is high time the Minister seized the opportunity presented to him to honourably make amends instead of closing the door on any alternative as he has already done."
The AFNQL is a regional organization consisting of 43 chiefs of First Nations in Quebec and Labrador. For more information, visit its website at www.apnql-afnql.com.
SOURCE: Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador
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