The National Association of Friendship Centres is pleased with the resounding
success of our first ever briefing day on Parliament Hill

OTTAWA, Nov. 18 /CNW Telbec/ - The National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC) is pleased with the success of our first-ever briefing day on Parliament Hill.

Since 1996, our 125 Friendship Centres have been under considerable constraints as a result of a drastic 25 per cent decrease in Aboriginal Friendship Centre Program (AFCP) funding that has remained at that level, despite the ever-increasing urban Aboriginal population and costs to operate Friendship Centres.

"On average, it costs around $300,000 per year to operate a Friendship Centre," stated NAFC President Vera Pawis Tabobondung. "Yet, AFCP typically allocates in the area of $130,000 of core funding to these Centres."

Throughout the day, Friendship Centre delegates briefed nearly 80 Members of Parliament on the need to be included in Budget 2010 and requested their support in this regard. The day concluded with a reception that formally announced the Friendship Centres All-Party Caucus which is comprised of Members of Parliament who have committed to bringing a Friendship Centre voice to Parliament. As well, there were speeches from (Friendship Centres All-Party Caucus Co-Chairs) Chris Warkentin (CPC - Peace River) and Jean Crowder (NDP - Cowichan--Nanaimo), as well as words of support from Marc Lemay (BQ - Abitibi-Témiscamingue) and Ontario Regional Chief Angus Toulouse.

"As Parliamentarians, we all have Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal constituents who benefit from the services provided by Aboriginal Friendship Centres...Championing Friendship Centres will provide us (with) an opportunity to work together for a common cause" affirmed Chris Warkentin, MP.

"Friendship Centres have been around for over 50 years, improving the quality of life of countless Canadians," continued Jean Crowder, MP. "I can't think of any other Aboriginal service delivery organization that has as great an impact as Friendship Centres."

"Time and time again, the Government of Canada calls on Friendship Centres when they need to reach out to nearly 700,000 Canadians," asserted Vera Pawis Tabobondung, President of the National Association of Friendship Centres. "Today, we are calling on all Parliamentarians to support us in our time of need."

Friendship Centres need to be in Budget 2010. For more information and to find out what you can do to help, please visit www.nafc.ca.

SOURCE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FRIENDSHIP CENTRES

For further information: For further information: Geraldine King, Communications Officer, NAFC, (613) 563-4844 ext 328 or mobile (613) 296-6234 or gking@nafc.ca (no spaces)

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NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FRIENDSHIP CENTRES

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