WENDAKE, QC, July 15, 2015 /CNW Telbec/ - "The territory of Quebec has never been ceded by the First Nations who hold Title and Aboriginal and Treaty Rights. The government of the province of Quebec must respect these rights. It has the constitutional, political, legal and moral obligation to do so. The present attitude of contempt sustained by the provincial government toward these rights must stop", stated Ghislain Picard, Chief of the AFNQL.
The Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador (AFNQL) is demanding that the Premier personally take responsibility for relations with First Nations. The AFNQL is also demanding for the creation of a Ministerial Committee where the coordination of relations with First Nations will be made.
The Minister responsible for Aboriginal Affairs is not vested with any authority whatsoever. All the dossiers that matter to First Nations are in the hands of different ministers. It is solely the Premier who has authority over them. It is solely the Premier who has the authority to remind his Ministers that they must, in all their actions, respect the Title and Aboriginal and Treaty Rights of First Nations. As for the Aboriginal Affairs Secretariat, it has amply demonstrated over the years its inability to improve relations with First Nations and to efficiently coordinate the issues of importance to First Nations which, at the moment, are in an appalling state. This situation has numerous direct negative impacts on First Nations people. The AFNQL has no choice but to denounce this situation and propose solutions.
"The AFNQL met with Premier Couillard on three occasions. On April 29th, we proposed to the Premier a political approach and an action plan that could allow to overcome the current stalemate in the relations between the province of Quebec and First Nations as a whole. We are still awaiting a response. On several occasions, the Premier stated his intention to develop with our Nations a true government to government relationship. Good relationships are not built on words alone. The AFNQL reiterates its intention to cooperate with the Premier, but wants to see him assume his responsibilities quickly and take concrete actions to ensure the respect of the Title and Aboriginal and Treaty Rights of all First Nations of our territories", concluded Chief Picard.
About the AFNQL
The Assembly of First Nations of Quebec-Labrador is the political organization that regroups 43 Chiefs of the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador. www.apnql-afnql.com.
SOURCE Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador
For further information: Mélanie Vincent: [email protected], Cell.: 418-580-4442