WENDAKE, QC, Jan. 18, 2017 /CNW Telbec/ - According to the Couillard government, its Bill 102 is furthering the updating of the Provincial Environment Quality Act; according to the AFNQL, with respect to the essential consideration of all First Nations' land rights, Bill 102 is only a step backwards.
"I would like first to remind you about the continued concern of our Nations for the respect of environment, the territory and its resources which we must preserve for future generations. Those who wish to put all this wealth at risk will find the First Nations in their path.
It was yet one more opportunity for the Couillard government to take concrete action for the recognition of our First Nations land rights and the role of our nations in the protection of the land and the environment. One again, the Couillard government chooses to say no to the momentum of reconciliation that should prevail in the relationship with First Nations. This obstinacy, this refusal to evolve in the development of its relationship with our First Nations, and which Bill 102 is only the latest example, can only have negative consequences. Today, we condemn in the strongest way possible the blindness of the Couillard government", stated Ghislain Picard, Chief of the AFNQL.
"The AFNQL invites once again the government of Premier Philippe Couillard, as it has done since its election, to finally adopt a modern approach to its relationship with the First Nations, to break free from its colonial approach of negation of First Nations' title and Aboriginal and treaty rights. The AFNQL incites the government to finally enforce the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which has been adopted for almost ten years now and which is still ignored by the provincial government.
The fundamental principles set out in the Declaration shall guide all discussions between the AFNQL and the Couillard government, amongst others, on consultation and the sharing of royalties. By constituting a good basis for discussion with us, the Couillard government would demonstrate a clear desire for reconciliation, would send a strong message that finally it chooses to turn towards a future that is fair and equitable for everyone. The status quo is detrimental and is no longer acceptable", concluded Ghislain Picard.
About the AFNQL
The Assembly of 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
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