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Refusing to take account of First Nations’ rights jeopardizes Quebec’s development

WENDAKE, QC, Sept. 30, 2013 – By refusing to take into account First Nations’ rights in the Mining Bill, the government of Quebec seriously jeopardizes the development of an important sector of Quebec’s economy. Rather than recognizing First Nations as full partners in development, Bill No. 43, in its present form, may induce motivate many First Nations to object to projects that deny their most fundamental rights.

This is the message that several First Nation Chiefs will bring this week to the National Assembly which is currently studying the Mining Bill, a law proposed by the Minister of Natural Resources.

“As much as we would like to acknowledge the good intentions of the Premier when she states that her government wants to do things differently and develop a nation-to-nation relationship with us, the fact is that we are very disappointed that the actions do not match the words. Bill No. 43 is a serious step backward that could result serious consequences”, stated Ghislain Picard, Chief of the AFNQL.

Many Chiefs of the First Nations will be present on October 1st at the National Assembly to express their profound dissatisfaction towards a provincial government which persists in denying their rights. Those are the same Chiefs who welcomed in last December, the Premier, the Minister of Natural Resources and several members of the government to a Summit on Territories and Resources, the same Chiefs who then clearly asserted their territorial rights, and the same Chiefs who are today very disappointed at not having been heard.

“At the Summit on Territories and Resources, the AFNQL Chiefs were very clear: First Nations must actively participate in the management and the preservation of the territory; they must be consulted on all territorial development and necessary accommodations must be found. They must receive their fair share of revenues from the territory and its resources, a territory and resources, which, it must be remembered, were never surrendered.

The Minister of Natural Resources now has a historical opportunity to advance Quebec’s interests, to include in its Mining Bill that the respect of First Nation’s rights does not constitute an obstacle, but that it goes along with the harmonious development of Quebec’s economy. We are at the National Assembly on October 1st 2013 to remind her of that”, concluded Chief Ghislain Picard.

About the AFNQL
The Assembly of the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador is a political organization regrouping 43 Chiefs of the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador.

Reference: Information taken from the National Assembly Website
Committee on Agriculture, Fisheries, Energy and Natural Resources
Special consultations and public hearings on Bill 43, Mining Act

Schedule for Tuesday – October 1st, 2013 in the Salle Louis-Joseph-Papineau
(after routine proceedings in the National Assembly)

3:00 p.m. Assembly of First Nations of Québec and Labrador
4:00 p.m. Innu Nation of Québec
5:00 p.m. Algonquin Anishinabeg Nation
6:00 p.m. Break
7:30 p.m. Mi’gmawei Mawiomi Secretariat
8:30 p.m. Council of the Atikamekw Nation

For further information:

Jane Gray, Chief of Operations
Cell.: 418-955-9700


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