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BC First Nations Urban and On-Reserve Leadership Unite Against the Regressive Conservative Agenda

News Release

January 20, 2006

Coast Salish Traditional Territory/ Vancouver, B.C. – First Nations Leadership in BC have reviewed the election platforms of the federal political parties.  Specifically, the leadership has reviewed the stated commitments of the parties on First Nations issues.  After their review, all shared deep concern of the stated goals of the Conservative Party of Canada.

Lillian George, President of the United Native Nations – the BC affiliate to the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples – stated “Contrary to the public endorsement of the Conservative Party by the national office of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, the leadership of the United Native Nations urges all First Nations citizens in BC to vote strategically in their respective ridings.”

President Grace Nielsen of the BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres (BCAAFC) added “The BCAAFC encourages aboriginal people to show their support to those candidates who will work with us at the community level to improve the lives of all aboriginal people across BC.”

“On January 23, I strongly encourage First Nations voters to vote against the Harper Conservatives.  It is my firm belief that a Conservative government will not effectively honour the funding commitments made at the First Ministers Meeting in Kelowna,” said Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs.

“No matter who is elected on Monday and notwithstanding the platforms of the political parties, there is a fundamental reality – Aboriginal title and Aboriginal rights exist – and any party that forms the national government has a fiduciary and constitutional obligation to recognize this and work with our Nations in building working relationships towards reconciliation,” said Grand Chief Edward John of the First Nations Summit Political Executive.

“If a Conservative government is elected, we will hold the government accountable with respect of the commitments made in Kelowna and the agreement on Residential Schools as these are agreements with Canada and the Crown, not of one political party” concluded Shawn Atleo, BC Regional Chief for the Assembly of First Nations.

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For more information:
President Lillian George, UNN, (604) 688-1821
President Grace Nielson, BCAAFC, (250) 388-5522
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

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