Passage of rights protection legislation a fitting memorial for fallen Aboriginal women

    OTTAWA, Dec. 5 /CNW Telbec/ - Eighteen years after the senseless killing
of fourteen young women at l'Ecole Polytechnique de Montréal in 1989, Canada's
youngest national Aboriginal leader is calling on federal Opposition parties
to affirm the protection of fundamental human rights for Aboriginal women, and
for the development of clear and specific policy platforms on women's issues.
    National Chief Patrick Brazeau of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples is
calling for federal opposition parties to begin to set clear, measurable and
sustainable targets for programs and services specifically developed for
Aboriginal women. More importantly, the National Chief is calling for Members
of the Opposition to end their resistance to the passage of Bill C-21, which
seeks to protect First Nations citizens' fundamental human rights.
    On this National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women
we must stop and reflect on the troubling realities Aboriginal women deal with
in this country every day. There are missing and murdered Aboriginal women who
must never be forgotten. There remains systematic discrimination through
prescriptive legislation such as the Indian Act and Bill C-31, which dictates
who gains Indian status and who does not, and continued, purposeful efforts to
exclude First Nations women and children from the most fundamental protection
of human rights under the Canadian Human Rights Act", said the National Chief.
    "In the face of this, it's high time that Canada's public policy was
driven by a commitment to developing strong, confident and healthy Aboriginal
women, and through this, improve overall wellness in the community," said the
National Chief.
    In the run-up to the next election, Brazeau is calling on federal
politicians to commit to specific endeavours to ensure that Aboriginal women
must be afforded no less than the same rights as all other members of Canadian
    In particular, the National Chief decried the tactics of the Opposition
parties to stall the passage of legislation that seeks to repeal Section 67 of
the Canadian Human Rights Act, and finally ensure that the fundamental rights
of First Nations peoples receive the same measures of protection as do all
other Canadians.
    In its efforts to champion the cause of human rights protection for First
Nations citizens, the Congress has been staging a series of community
consultations across the country with grassroots Aboriginal peoples. Feedback
from the meetings paints a bleak picture in respect of the continued violation
of the rights of Aboriginal women. "These women feel they have no appropriate
mechanisms in place to deal effectively with their complaints and that there
is an urgent to need to deal with this problem through the repeal of section
67 of the Human Rights Act," said National Chief Brazeau.
    Chief Brazeau was emphatic in his call for measures to improve Aboriginal
women's' lot in life. "It's high time that the Opposition moved past political
rhetoric and tabled their respective plans for concrete measures to ensure the
safety and well being for Canada's Aboriginal women. Canadians deserve to know
where the Opposition stands in terms of respecting Aboriginal women's right to
justice, peace and safety," said Chief Brazeau.
    The National Chief concluded, " Strong women are the backbone of strong
communities. On this National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence
Against Women, I respectfully submit that the men and women on the House
Standing Committee on Aboriginal affairs do right by the memory of Canada's
fallen women, and move to pass Bill C-21 without delay."

For further information:

For further information: Al Fleming, Director, Public Affairs, Congress
of Aboriginal Peoples, (613) 867-8696

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