Tories Try To Clarify Stance On Kelowna Agreement

Wednesday, January 11, 2006 at 15:44



On the heels of some backlash from Aboriginal groups to comments made by the Tory finance critic, the Conservatives are attempting to clarify their position on a deal reached at November’s First Ministers Meeting in Kelowna.


Monte Solberg has indicated the Tories would scrap that deal if they came to power, and come up with a new one for Aboriginal Canadians.


A Conservative Party press release issued today states that the Tories support all of the objectives, targets and principles as laid out in that agreement. However, it also says there was no agreement on how the $5.1 billion committed to Aboriginal groups would be spent.


It goes on to say that a Conservative government would “stand up for Aboriginals and taxpayers with an agreement that clearly lays out both responsibilities and targets for all stakeholders”.


Desnethe-Missinippi-Churchill River MP Jeremy Harrison admits the Conservatives are less than enthused with the Kelowna Agreement, as it stands now.


Harrison agrees with Solberg that the agreement was put together at the last minute, and says the deal will see a lot of money given to lawyers and lobbyists instead of the Aboriginal people who really need it.


Harrison says the priority areas identified at the First Ministers Meeting will be priority areas for a Conservative government — including Aboriginal housing, health, education and economic development.


However, Harrison says the Tories don’t agree with the part of the agreement that calls for a new relationship with Canada’s Aboriginal people. He feels that’s already been decided through the treaties, which he says should be honoured.


Harrison is pledging the money the Conservatives spend on Aboriginal issues will actually get to the citizens that need it most.