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Union of BC Indian Chiefs Responds to Prime Minister Harper's Federal Budget

The Union of BC Indian Chiefs responded to today’s Budget Speech of the Government of Canada, stating that the fear of many First Nations leaders, that the Harper government would not honour the commitments made by the Government of Canada at the First Ministers Meeting in Kelowna, has now been realized.

“Our fear, suspicion and mistrust of Prime Minister Harper's Conservative government to support the historic Kelowna Accord were well placed. I had hoped, however, that the Harper government would have the integrity and political will to fully implement the historic Kelowna Accord representing a $5.1 billion dollar investment in Aboriginal communities.” stated Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. “Today, Aboriginal People across Canada learned that Prime Minister Harper has a wooden heart to match his wooden smile.”

“In addition, First Nations leaders in British Columbia now understand Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice speaks with a forked tongue. On March 9, 2006 Minister Prentice publicly committed to assembled Chiefs that he would work hard to put 'wheels on Kelowna’. Rather, the Harper government has chosen to junk the whole Accord and relegate it to the proverbial scrap heap” said Chief Phillip.

Chief Phillip concluded “Like many First Nations leaders, we waited for the Budget Speech to get a true sense of this government’s commitment to collaborative approaches with First Nations. It is now beyond question; Prime Minister Harper has set an adversarial, if not outright hostile tone regarding Federal - First Nations relationships in Canada.”

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Chief Stewart Phillip
(250) 490-5314 or (250) 493-0048


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