Making Poverty History For First Nations

Port Elgin, Ontario

April 14, 2007


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Making Poverty History For First Nations

Poverty among Canada's First Nations people is unacceptable and the Canadian Auto Workers Council has officially joined the Making Poverty History For First Nations campaign.

Chief Phil Fontaine, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations spoke to the delegates in Port Elgin of the plight of Canada's 756,000 First Nations people.

Phil Fontaine
Chief Assembly of First Nations

"First Nation's poverty is rooted in the fact that our historic treaties and agreements with the Crown and with Canada have not been honoured. Instead federal policy has aimed to eliminate our government, to subjugate and divide our nation and to limit our access to our land and our resources."

Chief Fontaine outlined the facts regarding the abject poverty that First Nation's people are living in, including 190 communities that have to boil their drinking water, the massive unemployment and the lack of healthcare.

Phil Fontaine
Chief Assembly of First Nations

"We have to come to organizations such as yourselves, and to ask you, to plead with you to join with us so that our people, especially our young people can be like any other in the country, hoping and dreaming of a bright hopeful future."

The request for support did not fall on deaf ears. The Council unanimously approved $50,000 and is launching a skilled trades' effort similar to the Katrina Relief program to work with the First Nations to help improve their housing conditions.

In introducing Chief Fontaine, CAW national president Buzz Hargrove said the federal government's cancelling of the Kelowna Accord was wrong.

Buzz Hargrove
CAW National President

"The commitment of $5 billion in Kelowna, called the Kelowna Accord, was not made by the Liberal Party of Canada. It was made by the government of Canada and by God I agree, no government should be able to change that without going to the people of Canada and saying we want to change it."

Hargrove pledged to stand with the First Nations in their fight with the Harper conservative government.

Buzz Hargrove
CAW National President

"We want to join with the leadership of the First Nations in saying to Mr. Harper and Mr. Prentice, by God you have an absolute obligation to live up to the commitment that the government of Canada made to the Assembly of First Nations and First Nations Peoples across this country."
CAW "Fighting Back Makes a Difference."


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