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Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones

Fourth meeting of the Joint Council of Elected Representatives

Economic development and taxation:
maintain the dialogue and continue the joint work


Québec, May 5, 2004 - The co-chairs of the Joint Council of Elected Representatives, Mr. Benoît Pelletier, Minister for Canadian Intergovernmental Affairs and Aboriginal Affairs, as well as Mr. Ghislain Picard, Regional Chief of the Assembly of First Nations of Québec and Labrador (AFNQL), announce the holding of the fourth meeting of the Joint Council of Elective Representatives, which will take place in Wendake on Thursday, May 6, 2004. On that occasion, discussions will focus on the following themes: economic development and taxation.

The Government of Québec will be represented by Minister Benoît Pelletier, Mr. Michel Audet, Minister of Economic and Regional Development and Research, and Mr. Lawrence S. Bergman, Minister of Revenue. As for the AFNQL, Mr. Ghislain Picard will be accompanied by Mr. Raphaël Picard, Chief of Betsiamites, and Mr. Lloyd Phillips, Chief of Kahnawake.

At the start of the meeting, the members of the Joint Council of Elected Representatives will agree on the terms and conditions making it possible to prepare the first assessment of their work. They will also discuss their interest in pursuing the dialogue next fall.

Mr. Benoît Pelletier will present the assessment of the five years of operation of the Aboriginal Development Fund (ADF). The AFNQL will discuss the First Nations’ experience regarding Québec’s regional economic development structures and the social and economic forum project already addressed during the previous meetings.

Turning to taxation, a first assessment of the work of the Joint Table, set up at the last meeting of the Council, will be presented to the members who will have the opportunity to discuss their points of view on this question. Finally, the members of the Joint Council of Elected Representatives will conclude their meeting by taking stock of two other themes: the approach to managing the territory and its resources, as well as the research mandate dealing with the services offered to First Nation populations living in and outside the communities.

Regional Chief Ghislain Picard stated: “We have given tangible form to our government-to-government relationship with the Government of Québec by finding together a new way of making and implementing government decisions that affect First Nation populations. This is without a doubt one of the main challenges of the Joint Council of Elected Representatives.”

According to Chief Lloyd Phillips, “the First Nations and Québec have everything to gain from clarifying and developing their economic relations. Tax relations are part of our economic relations. On May 6th, the Joint Council will examine tangible solution proposals. I am confident that we are on the right path, one that will lead to lasting harmonious relations.”

For his part, Mr. Michel Audet, Minister of Economic and Regional Development and Research, considers that “some major catching up needs to be done in terms of Aboriginal economic development, as major differences remain in the level and quality of life of the Aboriginal peoples in comparison with other Quebecers.” The Minister will also make known during the meeting the possibilities afforded by the new Economic and Regional Intervention Fund (FIER), with its $300 million budget, for supporting the initiatives of Aboriginal socioeconomic leaders.

“This is a very interesting tool which is in addition to the Aboriginal Development Fund and which will make it possible to increase the socioeconomic development of the First Nations. Moreover, it will promote the emergence of partnerships between Aboriginals and non-Aboriginals, and will contribute to improving quality of life throughout Québec,” mentioned Minister Michel Audet.

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Source:

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

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