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OTTAWA, April 28 – Today, the Assembly of First Nations Women’s Council will announce a plan to apply a Gender Balanced Analysis (GBA) to the proposed Matrimonial Real Property Bill, in hopes that the analysis will help Parliament better understand how to fix the Bill and gain the support of First Nations women. Grand Chief RoseAnne Archibald, the AFN Women’s Council representative for Ontario plans to announce this decision at a parliamentary committee meeting this afternoon.”We are not convinced that the Bill as it stands is going to help First Nations women access justice,” said Deputy Grand Chief RoseAnne Archibald. “Let’s be clear, First Nations women and families have waited too long already for equitable and workable solutions and this bill is at best a half-way measure..”
She added that if the government had applied a culturally relevant GBA to the bill, they might have drafted more helpful legislation that better reflects the consultations held with First Nations women.
“After all the consultations, and presentations and drafting of reports: the government didn’t listen to our women. In fact, I was one of those women they consulted. Yes they asked for our opinion, but the bill does not reflect what we told them,” says Deputy Grand Chief RoseAnne Archibald. “What they’ve drafted is very much a made-in-Ottawa Bill.”
The AFN Women’s Council sees four problems with the Bill as it stands.
The AFN Women’s Council developed a culturally relevant GBA that was endorsed by Chiefs’ in Assembly in May 2007. Applying the analysis to the MRP bill is part of the work leading up to the next National Aboriginal Women’s Summit scheduled for July 29-31, 2008 in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories.
At present, when there is a breakdown of a marriage or common law relationship on reserve, there is no legal provision for an equitable division of the matrimonial real property, that is the family home and the land on which it is situated. The Indian Act, which governs most aspects of reserve life, is silent on the issue.
The AFN Women’s Council ensures First Nation women’s perspectives are included in all AFN policy directives and that the AFN is an effective advocate on behalf of all First Nation’s women, on and off-reserve, regardless of status.
Deputy Grand Chief RoseAnne Archibald is available to media in Ottawa after 1 pm, today.
For further information: Karyn Pugliese, Health Communications Officer, Assembly of First Nations, (613) 241-6789 ext. 210, Fax: (613) 292-1877, firstname.lastname@example.org
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