Maritime Strategy: The Couillard Government misses the boat, once again
WENDAKE, QC, June 29, 2015 – First Nations hold an Aboriginal title and Ancestral and treaty rights. The Constitutional Law of Canada, rulings from the Supreme Court of Canada, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, all the fundamental bases of a society established on rights clearly state that the development on the territory has to be made with First Nations. It has to be founded on a significant recognition of the status of all First Nations of this land.
First Nations living on this land that they never ceded are clearly in favour of the sustainable development of the land and resources. They have an urgent need to be included in this development to improve the socioeconomic conditions of their people, a mostly young population that will not stand being once again excluded.
The AFNQL, which gathers the Chiefs in Québec-Labrador, formally propose Premier Couillard to build a government to government relationship, beneficial to all living on this territory. On the course of three meetings with the Premier, the Chiefs developed a concrete proposal asking only for realism and goodwill on the part of the provincial government.
But nothing works. Maritime Strategy, Plan Nord, mining projects with a direct impact on unceded First Nations territory, the Couillard government won’t face the reality and admit that a government-to-government relationship cannot be based only on words. Once again, the Couillard government opts for ignoring First Nations fundamental issues which are the co-management and conservation of the territory, the consultation and accommodation and the sharing of revenues. Once again, the Couillard government chooses to exclude rather than include.
“Chiefs are still holding out a hand to Premier Couillard, but they won’t let anymore the ship of development leave without them”, comments Ghislain Picard, Chief of the AFNQL, while the provincial government announces its Maritime Strategy, another missed opportunity.
About the AFNQL
The Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador is the political organization of 43 Chiefs of the First Nations in Quebec and Labrador. www.apnql-afnql.com
SOURCE Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador
For further information: Mélanie Vincent: [email protected], Cell.: 418-580-4442