WENDAKE, QC, Oct. 2, 2015 /CNW Telbec/ - As the longest electoral campaign in Canadian history is coming to an end, First Nations in Quebec and Labrador are still waiting for a clear commitment from all main political parties on how they intend to reestablish a true relationship with their Peoples. The campaign is continuing with an all too familiar indifference for the issues of concern to them.
This is the observation resulting from a special meeting convened by AFNQL where the leaders present concluded that the silence of the parties leaves them no choice. They agreed that it is time to take action to make it clear to Canadians that FIRST NATIONS and their issues COUNT and to remind the next elected Government on October 19th that there is a need to prioritize our issues. A day of action, with a gathering and a march and uniting Chiefs, representative(s) and the members of their Nations will take place on Friday, October 9, 2015, in downtown Montreal.
"The Crown and First Nations relationship is broken. It must be repaired and restored. The political parties have to acknowledge that, go beyond easy electoral promises and present a real plan. Our future is also the future of all Canadians. This is why we are seeking their support for a Canada that is more just. On October 9th, we will demonstrate that First Nations count", said Ghislain Picard, Chief of the Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador (AFNQL).
"There is a tremendous amount of frustration across Indian Country regarding the lack of true partnership between First Nations and Canada", said Kahnawà:ke Grand Chief Joseph Tokwiro Norton. "With the election coming up Canadians and their political parties need to realize that there is an urgent need to deal face to face with the many issues that we share. Avoiding problems won't make them go away, so we suggest Canadians consider carefully who will provide the necessary leadership to rebuild our relationship."
"The Atikamekw Nation is concerned about the mild interest for First Nations issues since the beginning of the campaign. For the first time in Canada's history, we make our voice heard in a federal election campaign. For those who are unaware, we have the right to vote since 1960 only. We want our voice to be heard because we want to regain our place in this country, with other Canadians. We want to make our voice heard because the government hears us, but does not listen. Atikamekw Nehirowisiw will be at the march on October 9th, with the other First Nations in Quebec. This march is highly symbolic and we invite people from all nations to walk with us in order to build a harmonious future for generations to come. Micta mikwetc!", said the Grand Chief of the Atikamekw Nation, Constant Awashish.
The First Nations in Quebec and Labrador want the recognition and respect of Aboriginal title and the Aboriginal and Treaty rights, they want to create partnerships, enhance their contribution to the economy on their un-ceded territories, and be partners in the development of resources and the protection of the environment. "It will be up to the next government to take our issues into account to improve Canada's prosperity. Our future is also the future of all Canadians. We are committed to reconciliation and waiting for a sincere willing partner", concluded Chief Picard.
For information about the march of October 9th in Montreal, visit the Facebook page "March FIRST NATIONS COUNT".
About the AFNQL
The Assembly of the First Nations Quebec - Labrador is the political organization regrouping 43 Chiefs of the First Nations in Quebec and Labrador. www.apnql-afnql.com.
SOURCE Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador
For further information: Mélanie Vincent, (418) 580-4442, [email protected]