Native Leaders Demand Explanation From Tories

Thursday, January 12, 2006 at 14:40



FSIN Chief Alphonse Bird has some strong words for the Conservatives, and in particular, Tory finance critic Monte Solberg.


Solberg has said that the Conservatives would scrap a $5.1-billion deal reached with Aboriginal groups at last November’s First Ministers Meeting.


Bird says to equate that agreement with some sort of election promise is short-sighted and “absolutely false”, given the many months of work that Aboriginal leaders and governments put into those commitments.


Bird is also suggesting Solberg is “simply pandering to anti-Aboriginal sentiment as a means to draw votes”.


The Conservatives have since issued a news release, stating the principles and objectives of the Kelowna Accord will be honoured by a Tory government, but in a way that clearly lays out responsibilities and targets for all stakeholders.


The national chief of the Assembly of First Nations says the Conservatives are offering conflicting and confusing statements regarding the Kelowna Accord.


Phil Fontaine is asking Conservative leader Stephen Harper to set the record straight once and for all in terms of the Tories’ intentions.


Fontaine also says if the Conservatives have a plan of their own, then clearly it was not developed with any input from First Nations.


He says he’s concerned that will lead to another attempt to impose solutions on First Nations people — an approach he says has been disastrous in the past.


Fontaine also wonders why the Conservatives would want to walk away from agreements endorsed not only by Aboriginal groups, but the premiers, as well.