Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) has released a statement about Stephan Harper's recent public apology to the aboriginal residents of Canada for the harm done by the residential schools system. They point out that fine words have to be backed up by action. Will the Harper government actually do and not just talk ? Time will tell. Here's the statement.
After the apology, action is needed
CUPE sent a letter this week to Prime Minister Stephen Harper acknowledging the important apology he made to First Nations people this week for the residential school program.

But the union’s national leaders noted that actions will now be the measure of the sincerity of the federal government’s apology.

After all, Paul Moist and Claude Généreux said, we have a long way to go:

• In more than 100 First Nations communities across Canada, water must be boiled before it can be used.
• Fifty-four percent of Aboriginal children live in housing Statistics Canada deems substandard.
• One in four children in First Nations communities lives in poverty.

CUPE calls on the Harper government to immediately:
• move on the Assembly of First Nations’ “7 Point Plan for Change” for meaningful steps towards addressing the needs of First Nations people;
• increase funding, awareness, and action on the Sisters in Spirit campaign of the Native Women’s Association of Canada; and
• revive the Kelowna Accord, declare a commitment to bring it to effect, and reconvene the same participants to negotiate and oversee the process.

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