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Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones

New guidelines concerning aboriginal affairs



QUÉBEC CITY, April 2, 1998
- The Minister of State for Natural Resources, Minister for the Regions and Minister responsible for Aboriginal Affairs, Guy Chevrette, confirmed the Québec government's commitment to allocate $125 million to an economic and community development fund to carry out concrete projects in aboriginal communities. Mr. Chevrette made this announcement today while releasing the Québec government's new guidelines concerning aboriginal affairs.

"The Québec government will provide financing for this fund for five years," the Minister stated, at the same time inviting his federal counterpart to invest a similar amount in the fund. "Should the federal government accept the invitation, government contributions to the fund would amount to $250 million. This economic development vehicle, to which aboriginal people would also be invited to contribute, would serve to foster the development of aboriginal communities."

The fund will have two sections, one to support aboriginal economic development initiatives (assistance for entrepreneurship, business start-ups, and job creation), and the other for community infrastructure projects. Aboriginal people will be involved in defining and implementing the fund.

The assistance provided under the economic development section will support concrete development projects through grants, loans or loan guarantees. It may also contribute to the implementation of local funds by communities, groups of communities or nations.

Amounts provided under the community infrastructure section of the fund will be added to those of existing regular programs of both levels of government. They will top up the financing of projects according to community needs. These investments in aboriginal communities will have a two-fold impact by responding to pressing infrastructure needs in some communities while contributing to job creation.

"The difficult socio-economic situation of aboriginal people merits special attention. With this fund, it will be possible to eliminate significant disparities," the Minister maintained, emphasizing that many aboriginal communities faced significant socio-economic difficulties. "Concrete measures like the creation of a development fund will enable aboriginal people to move towards greater self-sufficiency and give their young people hope for a better future."

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Shirley Bishop
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Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones
905, avenue Honoré-Mercier, 1er étage - Québec (Qc)  G1R 5M6 - 418 643-3166
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