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Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones

First meeting of the Joint Council of Elected Representatives

Aboriginal Chiefs and Québec Ministers at the same table to lay the foundations of a new dialogue

Québec City, October 28, 2003 - Mr. Benoît Pelletier, the Minister for Canadian Intergovernmental Affairs and Aboriginal Affairs, and Mr. Ghislain Picard, the Regional Chief of the Assembly of First Nations of Québec and Labrador (AFNQL), are pleased to announce that the first meeting of the Joint Council of Elected Representatives will be held on Thursday, October 30, 2003.

A tangible result of the Mutual Political Commitment signed on June 17, 2003, by the Government of Québec and the AFNQL, the Joint Council of Elected Representatives is a political discussion forum that is first of its kind in Québec. The discussions between aboriginal chiefs and Quebec government elected representatives will lead to a better understanding of each party’s point of view and will serve to establish general directions for their respective governments.

For this first Council meeting, the Government of Québec will be represented by Mr. Pelletier, along with Ms. Nathalie Normandeau, the Minister for Regional Development and Tourism (standing in for Minister Michel Audet), and Mr. Sam Hamad, the Minister of Natural Resources, Wildlife and Parks. The three elected officials representing the aboriginal side will be Mr. Ghislain Picard, Mr. Raphaël Picard, Chief of Betsiamites, and Mr. Lloyd Oronhiakhété Phillips, Chief of Kahnawake.

The exploratory work of the Council will continue until the spring of 2004. The elected representatives named by Québec and the AFNQL will discuss the following topics: territory and resources, fiscal matters and economic expansion, and services to the aboriginal population living on and off reserves.

« Last June 17th, we jointly committed ourselves to develop and maintain harmonious and respectful relations. Now, we are getting ready, together, to put this commitment in concrete form. The AFNQL Chiefs accept to take on this collective challenge that may be deciding for the future of our Peoples”, stated Mr. Ghislain Picard.

"Establishing the Joint Council of Elected Representatives shows that it is necessary to step up the collaboration between the government and Aboriginal people in Québec. It is a concrete initiative in terms of our political relations with elected representatives of First Nations and it will have a definite and positive effect on Aboriginal people and Québec society as a whole," declared Minister Pelletier.


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Source:
Damir Croteau
Press Officer
Office of the Minister for Canadian Intergovernmental Affairs and Aboriginal Affairs
Tel.: (418) 646-5950

Ghislain Picard
Regional Chief
Assembly of First Nations of Québec and Labrador (AFNQL)
Tel.: (418) 842-5020

Signature gouvernementale
Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones
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