PENTICTON, BC--(Jan. 10, 2006) - In an interview with CJWW Radio Saskatchewan, Monte Solberg, the Conservative Finance Critic said, "(The)Kelowna Agreement is something that they crafted at the last moment on the back of a napkin on the eve of an election. We're not going to honor that. We will have our own plan that will help natives a lot more than the Liberals"
I am completely shocked and deeply angered to learn that a Stephen Harper government would simply rip up the hard-fought historic agreement, which represents a $5.1 Billion dollar investment commitment to Canada's Aboriginal population, made at the Kelowna First Ministers Meeting on Aboriginal issues on November 25, 2005", declared Chief Stewart Phillip of the Penticton Indian Band.
"For the first time in the history of Canada we achieved a historic consensus between the Government of Canada, the Provincial Premiers and Territorial Leaders and the national leadership of the Assembly of First Nations, the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, the Metis National Council, the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and the Native Women's Association of Canada. All parties committed to strengthening relationships on a government-to-government basis, and on focusing our collective efforts to close the gap in the areas of education, health housing and infrastructure and economic opportunities," said Chief Phillip.
"We take great offence to the arrogant notion that these comprehensive 10 year goals and objectives were scribbled on the back of a napkin at the last moment. Nothing could be further from the truth. The proposals discussed at the Kelowna First Ministers meeting were the result of nearly two years of nationwide consultations and conferences."
Chief Phillip concluded by observing, "In the event that the Conservative Party of Canada forms government and completely reneges on the commitments made at the Kelowna First Ministers Meeting; it will essentially represent a declaration of war on the Aboriginal People of Canada. Simply put, it will be - 'Back to the Barricades'. Rather than enjoying a decade of respect and reconciliation, we shall be faced with the grim reality of a decade of conflict and confrontation. Clearly, the recent tragedies of Kashechewan have demonstrated just how desperate the socio-economic conditions are in First Nation communities. These are real life and death issues."
Stewart Phillip, Chief, Penticton Indian Band
Primary Phone: 250-490-5314