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ELECTION PRIORITIES FOR FIRST NATIONS IN ONTARIO

 

OVERVIEW

First Nations in Ontario are left behind by Canada. Our youth are no longer prepared to wait for Treaty Implementation. We are prepared to enforce the Treaties to ensure that there are no more lost generations.

Through close work, collaboration, and true partnership in the spirit and intent of the Treaties, we hope to work with the next Government of Canada to open new opportunities for First Nations in Canada.

The expectations listed below are built upon previous recommendations tabled by the Ontario Regional Chief and members of the Political Confederacy to the leaders of the Liberal Party and New Democratic Party on July 7, 2015, and to the Leader of the Green Party on July 8, 2015.  We are calling on all parties to incorporate our expectations into their platform, and to expand on them to achieve greater outcomes for First Nations peoples.

Our list is not conclusive nor is it meant to be. Chiefs of Ontario recognizes that First Nations citizens must play an integral role in setting the agenda moving forward.  We invite all First Nations citizens and leaders to let Chiefs of Ontario and the Political Parties know what is most important to you by tweeting with the hashtag #better4firstnations.  Chiefs of Ontario will be sending regular updates on First Nations’ priorities to the Party Leaders and will make a rolling list available online at www.chiefs-of-ontario.org.

DEAR PARTY LEADERS:

First Nations citizens and communities expect Canada to repair its relationship with First Nations. This election, First Nations youth and citizens are watching Canadian politics more closely than ever before. That is why Chiefs of Ontario is calling on all parties to lay out their vision for a better future.

Below and also linked is a questionnaire about what you will do to work better with First Nations if you are elected as the next Prime Minister. As a reminder, I have also attached a copy of the key outcomes Chiefs of Ontario has called for from the next government.

CLICK HERE FOR QUESTIONNAIRE

NDP PARTY RESPONSE and QUESTIONNAIRE

LIBERAL PARTY RESPONSE and QUESTIONNAIRE

 

WHAT WE EXPECT

1. A PROTOCOL ON HOW TO WORK TOGETHER

In recent years, the Government of Canada has marginalized Treaty Groups, First Nation Communities, and regional leaders by only working with national level Aboriginal organizations. Our Treaties are between the Crown and our Nations, and the First Nations in Ontario are represented by our Chiefs and Treaty Organizations.

We need to move back to the spirit and intent of our Treaties. We can only do that by creating a respectful protocol between Canada and the representatives of our Nations on how to work together, as we had originally agreed to at the time of the Treaty signings.

2. PARITY FOR POLICING, EDUCATION AND SOCIAL SERVICES

First Nations are underserviced and underfunded. As a result, First Nations communities have insufficient police services, lack educational opportunities, and are missing key social services available in most non-indigenous towns and cities.

Our Treaties guaranteed we would share the benefits of our lands and resources. To date, only Canada has benefitted. It’s time for Canada to fully share revenues it gains from First Nations lands and guarantee to funding and servicing parity across the board.

This means First Nations expect the next government to work with First Nations to find permanent solutions to policing, education, and social service deficits – not merely interim programs or temporary measures.  We expect funding and service parity, and we expect our citizens and youth to have access to the same high quality of life as other Canadians have come to expect.

3. RECOGNIZE FIRST NATION LAWS AS IN FORCE AND VALID

First Nations have their own jurisdiction and traditional laws. We still practice these laws and they’re still in force. Canada must recognize them.

We call on the next government to recognize the equivalency of our regulatory, licencing and approval regimes. We are the rightful authority to review and approve the impacts that projects may have on our lands and waters. We are the rightful authority to approve community projects.

4. LIFT 2% CAP

The 2% funding increase cap on First Nations services was meant to be a temporary measure. Two decades later, it is forcing our communities to decide between houses or food security; energy or education; policing or economic development programming. We simply refuse to administer poverty to our Nations.

The 2% Cap should be lifted within the first 90 days of office, and immediate conversations should begin to create reasonable funding levels after decades of brutal austerity measures.

5. SUPPORT FIRST NATIONS WOMEN

We call for an immediate national inquiry on Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women. We expect the Government of Canada to undertake an honest assessment of what it can do better to end this tragedy and to take immediate actions to do so.

We also call for the next Prime Minister to recognize Indigenous Women as leaders and to foster opportunities to support the development of their skills and potentials.

IMPLEMENTING OUR EXPECTATIONS

Chiefs of Ontario encourages party leaders to meet with all elected First Nation leaders in Ontario to hear their priorities.  Below are some immediate commitments that party leaders can make to support First Nations:

Steps to Reconciliation

  • Work with First Nations on a viable plan and sequence to implement the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission
  • Create a relationship accord with First Nations governments recognizing and reaffirming the commitment of Canada to work directly with rights holders and the representatives that they choose
  • Invest into the development of First Nations’ led curriculum for our youth and children

Legislation Changes

  • Repeal Bill C-51
  • Work with First Nations on new education legislation
  • Amend the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and National Energy Board Act to recognize First Nations approvals processes as equivalent to Federal processes
  • Work with First Nations to amend legislation permitting the disposal of nuclear waste to ensure that the granting of free, prior and informed consent by all First Nations communities in the vicinity of a site and along the waste transportation route is a mandatory criteria for site selection
  • Work with First Nations to amend or repeal statutes that transfer Federal liabilities for failing to fulfil fiduciary duties to First Nations governments (for example:  clean drinking water)
  • Work with First Nations to amend or repeal unfair transparency laws that serve no legitimate purpose

Funding Commitments

  • Increase policing funding to achieve pay parity between First Nations police officers and OPP or RCMP officers
  • Increase police infrastructure funding to allow First Nation communities to respond with the same speed and effectiveness as non-indigenous communities
  • Immediately invest at least $2.6 Billion of funding into First Nations’ run education programs, schools and education infrastructure, along with escalators to ensure First Nations can close the gap on education
  • Increase investments into drug an alcohol counseling so counselors can make the same on reserve as off
  • Increase funding for First Nations health care to ensure First Nations can access the same quality of care and services as citizens living in urban areas
  • Invest in safe housing on reserve to ensure all First Nations youth can grow up in habitable, safe, well-maintained homes.

Service Commitments

  • Reform Non-insured Health Benefits to make sure all First Nations and health care treatments and, when necessary, costs for travel required to receive health care are covered
  • Reform Non-insured Health Benefits to make sure First Nations citizens who must travel to receive health care can be accompanied by an escort
  • Increase access to life saving medical screening for chronic conditions and cancer
  • Increase access to addiction and mental health services

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An indigenous guide to the 2015 federal election

Who are the indigenous candidates and what are the parties offering indigenous voters?

Compilied by CBC - CLICK HERE FOR INFO

 

 

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