The Chair of the Assembly of First Nations Women's Council, and other female chiefs, are concerned about the implementation process of Bill C-21

    OTTAWA, Dec. 4 /CNW Telbec/ - The Assembly of First Nations Women's
Council says the federal government should work with First Nations to assess
the impact of Bill C-21 (formally known as Bill C-44) on First Nations
    "The application of the Canadian Human Rights Act must be implemented in
an orderly and responsible manner that respects the rights of First Nations
women and children who will be significantly impacted by this bill", said AFN
Women's Council Chair, Kathleen McHugh. "However, female leaders have not been
afforded an opportunity to address how this Act can be implemented so that
capacity concerns of First Nation governments are addressed. In addition, our
collective inherent and treaty rights must not be diminished or adversely
impacted," added Chair McHugh.
    The Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development is
planning to examine Bill C-21 clause by clause on December 4, 2007. Last
spring, MPs on the committee called upon many witnesses to present their views
on the bill. Twenty out of twenty-one of those presentations indicated the
necessity to make some amendments to the bill. One of the presenters was Chief
Marie Anne Daywalker-Pelletier of the Okanese First Nation in Saskatchewan and
Chair of Saskatchewan First Nations' Women's Commission of the Federation of
Saskatchewan Indian Nations.
    "It is no secret many homes on reserves are crowded and below acceptable
living standards and some communities do not have adequate drinking water. The
federal government is responsible for the deplorable water and housing
situation many First Nation communities face. While Bill C-21 may provide an
important opportunity to address this crisis, First Nation Governments are on
the front lines and must also be afforded assistance to prepare for these
types of complaints," Chief Daywalker-Pelletier reiterated today.

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

For further information:

For further information: Joan McEwen, Director of Communications, (613)
241-6789 ext. 242, cell (613) 324-3329,; Nancy Pine,
Communications Advisor, Office of the National Chief, (613) 241-6789 ext 243,
cell (613) 298-6382,; Josee Bellemare, Bilingual Communications
Officer, (613) 241-6789 ext. 336, cell (613) 327-6331,

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