WENDAKE, QC, Sept. 24, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - Last February, the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador (AFNQL) and the First Nations Education Council (FNEC) jointly submitted a request for a judicial review by the Federal Court of the consultation process regarding the education bill tabled as Bill C-33. This request for a judicial review had become necessary because all the efforts by the AFNQL and the FNEC to establish a genuine dialogue on the consultation process with the government had failed.
Accordingly, in August 2014, all documents serving as evidence for the case were submitted to the Federal Court and the hearing was set for September 2014.
However, on September 10, just 10 days before the hearing, the Government of Canada submitted a completely unexpected document to the Federal Court. This document, which appears to contain the agreement reached by Shawn Atleo with Stephen Harper and Bernard Valcourt concerning Bill C-33, could have important consequences for the request to conduct a judicial review. The AFNQL and the FNEC thus agreed this past week to submit a request to postpone the hearing. Their request was accepted.
The AFNQL and the FNEC regret that the Canadian government has taken this step. In forcing a request for postponement, it not only delays the process but adds to the already considerable costs involved.
"I find it completely unacceptable that the federal government would show such disrespect towards the Court by not disclosing all documents before the deadlines set by the Court," declared Kitigan Zibi Chief, Gilbert W. Whiteduck.
"I am certain that the 21 communities involved in the request are disappointed in the behaviour of the federal government. They undoubtedly see this move as a tactic for delaying the Court's decision," added Chief Terence McBride from Timiskaming First Nation.
About the AFNQL:
The AFNQL is the regional organization representing 43 Chiefs of the First Nations in Quebec and Labrador. For more information, visit its website at: www.apnql-afnql.com.
About the FNEC:
The FNEC is an organization that has been working for more than 25 years to bring about the right of the First Nations to exercise their full jurisdiction over education through the implementation of a complete education system. More information about the FNEC is available from its website at: www.cepn-fnec.com.
SOURCE: First Nations Education Council
For further information: Thanissa Lainé, First Nations Education Council, 418-842-7672, [email protected]