CAW Launches Joint Effort To Make Poverty History for First Nations

October 25, 2007


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CAW Launches Joint Effort to Make Poverty History for First Nations
CAW Launches Joint Effort to Make Poverty History for First Nations
dated October 25, 2007



Toronto, Ontario
October 25, 2007

       Volunteers from the Canadian Auto Workers union have joined the Make Poverty History For First Nations campaign. In Canada 1 in 4 First Nations Children live in poverty. Close to 100 First Nation Communities are under a boil water advisory. CAW National President Buzz Hargrove, along with Phil Fontaine, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, announced the initiative in Toronto, Ontario, October 25, 2007.

Buzz Hargrove
CAW National President

       "This is not a short term project that will end by the end of next year. We are committed. It is an on-going thing that we will work with in identifying those projects. And I want to be clear on this. This is a partnership. It is not our projects. Phil Fontaine, the National Chief and his people will identify the project, we will talk it through and make sure that we have the resources in those communities, and the skills in those communities, or the ability to get them in there to do those projects."

       National Chief Fontaine thanked the CAW for joining the fight against poverty amongst the First Nations.

Phil Fontaine
National Chief Assembly of First Nations

       "We're just fortunate here in Canada that we have an organization like the Canadian Auto Worker's union that is prepared to step in where government is negligent and irresponsible. This is all that it represents. Government is not prepared to do the right thing, is not prepared to meet its legal obligations; and I think more importantly its moral responsibility."

       National Chief Fontaine said the CAW is setting an example for the rest of the country.

Phil Fontaine
National Chief Assembly of First Nations

       "This is, in my view, the best demonstration that we can present to Canadians that we can get things done. We can get good work done beyond government. We hope that this motivates others to step up like the CAW has done and join with us in creating a better life for First Nations' people and in the process make Canada a better place for all peoples."

       The first three of seven projects planned over the next year is the Native Canadian Center in Toronto, where the CAW skilled trades volunteers will renovate a new child care centre and build a wheel chair access ramp. In Vancouver's Downtown Eastside Women's Centre a safe drop-in centre will be built. While in Little Salmon/Carjacks Fist Nation in the Yukon, the polluted wells in the community will be repaired to prevent E. coli poisoning. Hargrove said the federal government needs to follow suit.

Buzz Hargrove
CAW National President

       "The federal government should be taking up this challenge itself and working with community groups. Working firstly with the AFN, but also with community groups, trade unions like ourselves and others, to deal with the issues. And you can do it better if it is coordinated on a national basis. Unfortunately this government has no commitment to correcting the problems facing the First Nations."

       The CAW skilled trades have begun work on the first project in Toronto.

CAW "Fighting Back Makes a Difference."


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