National Aboriginal Organizations Applaud Passage of Private Members Bill to Honour Crown's Commitments on 2005 Kelowna Accord

    OTTAWA, March 22 /CNW Telbec/ - The leaders of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami,
Assembly of First Nations and Métis National Council - today welcomed the vote
by the House of Commons to adopt a law signifying the Government of Canada's
dedication to honour its commitments in the 2005 Kelowna Accord to tackle
acute housing, health and education hardships among Aboriginal peoples. The
law would also require the Government of Canada to report back to Parliament
on the implementation of the Accord.
    The passage of Bill C-292 does not compel the government to fund the
commitments of the Kelowna Accord. However, the ITK, AFN and MNC strongly urge
all Canadians to show solidarity with Aboriginal peoples and press the
government to implement the commitments of the Kelowna Accord.
    Mary Simon, President of ITK said, "It is encouraging to all Inuit that
the majority of Canada's elected representatives at the federal level have
stood up clearly for two things: overcoming shaming gaps in Aboriginal living
standards, and honouring commitments made by the Government of Canada once
they have been made. In doing so, we believe that MPs are behaving in the way
that the Canadian public wants and expects. We are also pleased that former
Prime Minister Mulroney has lent his timely and much appreciated support to
the Kelowna Accord."
    "I am deeply proud of this bill's passing in the House of Commons, as the
Kelowna Accord represents the greatest commitment ever shown to the Métis
Nation," President Clement Chartier added.
    "First Nations want to express their appreciation to the opposition
parties who showed their unwavering support for Bill C-292. It is clear to us
and to all Canadians that the majority of elected representatives support the
targets and objectives which will help improve the quality of life for First
Nations," said National Chief Fontaine.
    The 2006 Conservative Party election platform clearly states that a
Conservative government will accept the targets agreed upon at the recent
Meeting of First Ministers and National Aboriginal leaders, and work with
First Ministers and National Aboriginal leaders on achieving these targets.
    "Today, I remind Prime Minister Harper of this commitment to work
together with us to meet the achievable and affordable non-partisan plan
agreed to by all in Kelowna to make First Nations even stronger," concluded
National Chief Fontaine.

For further information:

For further information: Assembly of First Nations: Bryan Hendry,
A/Director of Communication, (613) 241 6789 ext. 229,; Nancy
Pine, Communications Advisor, (613) 241 6789 ext. 243,; Inuit
Tapiriit Kanatami: Stephen Hendrie, Communications Director, (613) 277-3178,; Métis National Council: Zoran Vidic, Communications Officer,
(613) 295-9298,

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