The First Nations Call on the Political Parties to React - The First Nations are essential to the future of Quebec

    MONTREAL, March 1 /CNW Telbec/ - "The political parties and their leader
must realize today that the development of Quebec, especially in the regions,
can no longer occur without the First Nations. Let's be clear, the First
Nations are essential to the future of Quebec", stated the Chief of the
Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador (AFNQL), Ghislain Picard, at
a press conference announcing the involvement of the First Nations in the
Quebec election campaign.
    "A large portion of Quebecers ignore it: the rights and titles of the
First Nations, on a vast territory, have never been extinguished or
surrendered. Relying perhaps on this lack of knowledge, the governments of
Quebec have acted too often as though these rights never existed, as though
the First Nations did not exist. This must change; this will change", stated
Ghislain Picard, surrounded by members of the First Nations who came from all
over the regions.
    Although, by tradition, the involvement of First Nations members in
Quebec elections is relatively minimal, the AFNQL feels that it is necessary,
within the scope of a campaign, whose themes often affect the First Nations
directly, to call out to the leaders of the political parties and to the
Quebec population.
    Without taking sides for any of the provincial political parties, the
First Nations become vocal to warn all the political parties that a situation
of status quo is no longer acceptable and that the next government of Quebec
will be expected to review radically its political relationship with them,
particularly in regards to the management of territory and resources. "We have
every right to demand clear and committing answers on the part of the parties'
leaders. The next government of Quebec will no longer be allowed to bypass the
First Nations", indicated Chief Picard, who took advantage of the opportunity
to unveil an "Final Summon Enjoinder to the Provincial Political Parties" for
a Quebec that is respectful of the First Nations and their rights". This
document contains the 26 fundamental principles of the AFNQL and the
inescapable issues which are worthy of reflection and which deserve an answer
during this election campaign.

    A debate

    In a letter addressed to each of the party leaders, the AFNQL Chief
invites them to gauge the issues and make commitments that are essential to
the future of relations between Quebec and the First Nations. He also extends
an invitation to all main political parties to participate in a debate which
will be organized by the AFNQL.
    All the information pertaining to this campaign entitled "First Nations:
Essential to the Future of Quebec", including a copy of the Final Summon to
the Provincial Political Parties, will be available on the Website as of the
beginning of next week, at :

    The Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador is the regional
organization representing the Chiefs of the First Nations of Quebec and

For further information:

For further information: Alain Garon, Communication and Information
Officer, Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador, (418) 842-5020,
Cellular: (418) 956-5720

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