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Proposed National First Nations Education Legislation is a Threat
News Release. March 14, 2013

(Coast Salish Territories / Vancouver. March 14, 2013) Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs Executive members Grand Chief Stewart Phillip and Chief Bob Chamberlin attended the Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development (AANDC) Session on Canada’s Proposed National First Nations Education Act in Vancouver B.C. on March 8, 2013.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs stated "The Harper Government's current 'consultation' process is not sufficient, meaningful or the least bit effective. A meeting here and there or an online web-form does not fulfill the Harper Government's legal duty to consult with First Nations who all have a right to be heard on this issue. It is another illustration of the Harper Government’s ham fisted, heavy-handed and arrogant approach toward First Nations people."

Chief Bob Chamberlin, Vice-President of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs remarked "This one-size-fits-all approach blatantly denies the cultural diversity of First Nations. It completely undermines the good-faith discussions and community-based work arising from the January 2012 Tripartite Education Framework Agreement between the First Nations Education Steering Committee, Canada and B.C."

Many First Nations share the firm belief their constitutionally-recognized rights encompass the inherent right of self-government, including an inherent authority over matters related to the education of our children. The proposed First Nations Education legislation will greatly impact on this right. The Harper Government has a legal duty to consult with all First Nations and fully accommodate the interests and concerns in a manner that upholds the honour of the Crown and is consistent with the common law.

Grand Chief Phillip continued "Like the two omnibus bills, Bill C-38, the Budget Implementation Act, and Bill C-45, Jobs and Growth Act, the Harper Government expects it can legislate itself out of its duties to consult and accommodate our inherent Title, Rights and Treaty Rights. Like the omnibus bills, the Harper Government will try to ram the proposed First Nations education legislation through Parliament citing an expedited 'consultation' process that did not allow for truthful examination, deliberation and consideration that such significant and substantive changes demand. This short shrift process threatens existing education jurisdiction agreements and is a continuation of the Harper Government's attack on our collective and inherent Title, Rights and Treaty Rights."

For further comment contact:
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President, Union of BC Indian Chiefs: (604) 684-0231

UBCIC is a NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

 

 

 

 

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