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FSIN Chief Bellegarde "Not In Support" of Bill C-33

SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN -- (Marketwired) -- 05/01/14 -- Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN) Chief Perry Bellegarde, having reviewed in-depth analysis from leading legal and constitutional experts on the proposed Government of Canada Bill C-33, has concluded that it fundamentally fails to address the five conditions set out by First Nations leaders from across the country. Therefore, Chief Bellegarde is not in support of Bill C-33 as it is currently written.

Chief Bellegarde says, "Bill C-33, as it stands, would create a system in which the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development has authority but no responsibility. First Nations, on the other hand, would have responsibility since they deliver education services, but no authority. That is a completely unacceptable situation. There is no recognition of inherent or Treaty rights to education, no recognition of First Nations jurisdiction, and no recognition of First Nations as a third order of government. If the Government of Canada truly wants First Nations support, it is essential that it does not pass this Bill as it stands, but rather, engages in a democratic process that includes a meaningful consultation process."

Bill C-33, entitled "First Nations Control of First Nations Education", fails to meet the following conditions that have been communicated previously to the Government of Canada by First Nations leadership:

--  Respect for inherent Treaty Rights and First Nations jurisdiction
--  Statutory guarantee of funding
--  Funding for education that is grounded in indigenous languages and
--  Reciprocal First Nations/federal government control of education, and
--  Future options being developed jointly between First Nations and Canada

Because Bill C-33 fails to meet the conditions on almost all counts, Chief Bellegarde will, in accordance with proper process, forward his views and his recommendation that Bill C-33 not be supported to the FSIN Education Commission, and following that, to the FSIN Joint Executive Council and Indian Government Commission, and then to the Chiefs-in-Assembly for consideration at the May 21 and 22, 2014 Legislative Assembly.

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