The AFN marks the coming into force of the Specific Claims Tribunal Act

    OTTAWA, Oct. 16 /CNW Telbec/ - Assembly of First Nations National Chief
Phil Fontaine commented today on the coming into effect of the Specific Claims
Tribunal Act. The Act received Royal Assent on June 18, 2008, and comes into
force today. For many years the Assembly of First Nations advocated for
specific claims reform and had a key role in shelving the previous Act which
was fundamentally flawed. The current Act, which creates an independent
Tribunal, was the result of a collaborative effort between the government of
Canada and First Nations.
    "Today is an important day that marks the beginning of a new approach to
resolving the long-standing claims of First Nations," National Chief Fontaine
noted. "We have seen too often that ignoring or delaying the legitimate claims
of First Nations can adversely affect all Canadians. This legislation will
foster a more fair, just and expedient approach to resolving these important
    In addition to the new legislation, a companion Political Agreement
established a joint committee between the AFN and the federal government to
deal with other important issues relating to the resolution of outstanding
specific claims.
    "Now that the election is over, we expect to see further progress with
the federal government to address outstanding issues," National Chief Fontaine
stated. "We are ready to move forward on key priorities identified in the
Political Agreement, including effective engagement in a process to appoint
Tribunal members as well as the development of a process to deal with specific
claims that do not fall within the mandate of the Tribunal. I am optimistic
that the new government and Parliament will demonstrate the required support
and good will to move forward and work together in the same cooperative manner
that was critical to the development of the Act in the first place."

    The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing
First Nations people in Canada.

For further information:

For further information: Joan McEwen, AFN Communications Director, (613)
241-6789 ext. 242, cell (613) 324-3329,

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