Coast Salish Traditional Territory/ Vancouver, B.C. – First Nations Leadership in BC are very concerned with recent pre-election comments from Monte Solberg, Finance Critic for the Conservative Party of Canada, regarding that Party’s decision, should they form government following the federal election, to disregard the historic agreements reached between National Aboriginal Organizations, the Prime Minister and the Premiers at the conclusion of the First Ministers meeting in Kelowna, BC last November. One of these historic agreements, the Transformative Change Accord, outlines an immediate action plan for Canada, BC and the First Nations Leadership Council to improve the lives of First Nations people in BC.
“It has taken two years and countless meetings to reach the agreements at the First Ministers Meetings in Kelowna. We find the dismissive comments of Mr. Solberg very troubling and view the comments as an indication that First Nations people in BC should also be concerned that the Conservative Party will also pull the rug out from under the BC Transformative Change Accord and the recent federal agreement for compensating residential school survivors”, said Grand Chief Edward John of the First Nations Summit Political Executive.
“First Nations in BC and across Canada should be aware that if the Conservative Party forms the next government, our agenda of working to improve the social and economic conditions for all aboriginal people in Canada will be set back many years”, said Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs.
“It is time that Aboriginal People in BC and across Canada recognize that we can have a significant impact on the outcomes of the federal election. There are several ridings across Canada which can be influenced by the Aboriginal vote if we get our people out on Election Day. AFN National Chief Phil Fontaine recently received the answers to seven key questions which indicate each of the Federal Parties commitments to a progressive and productive agenda for First Nations and Canada. We will be distributing these answers to all First Nations in BC and encourage them to use the document as a basis for making an informed and educated decision on who to vote for on Election Day”, said Shawn Atleo, BC Regional Chief for the Assembly of First Nations.
The First Nations Leadership Council has written to BC Premier Gordon Campbell urging him to join with the Leadership Council to formally and publicly intervene on this issue in an effort to ensure the Kelowna agreements are protected and respected by whoever is elected on January 23rd.
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The First Nations Leadership Council is comprised of the political executives of the First Nations Summit, Union of BC Indian Chiefs and the BC Assembly of First Nations. The Council works together to politically represent the interests of First Nations in British Columbia and develop strategies and actions to bring about significant and substantive changes to government policy that will benefit all First Nations in British Columbia.
For more information:
Chief Stewart Phillip, UBCIC, (250) 490-5314
Grand Chief Ed John, FNS, (604) 219-1705
BC Regional Chief Shawn Atleo, BC AFN (604) 220-5822