The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is holding a town hall meeting on April 27 with AFN National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo and representatives from Canada’s political parties to discuss issues in the upcoming federal election.
Room 105 of the University of Toronto’s Sandford Fleming Building at 10 King’s College Road, Toronto, will be the site of the 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. ET event, which will be webcast at the AFN’s site.
“This debate will be moderated to ensure it is respectful to all parties and their positions,” the AFN’s flier said. Invitations have been sent to all political parties. It was not certain early Wednesday which ones would attend.
Canadian politicians are being called to task by aboriginal leaders who say their concerns are being ignored. Among the major issues are education, drinking-water quality and bridging funding gaps between aboriginals and the rest of Canada.
The AFN has already issued a list of four priorities that First Nations and the rest of the country’s aboriginal population need action on:
Affirmation: Recognizing rights and responsibilities and enabling First Nation governments to move beyond the Indian Act, implementing treaties and agreements and settling claims.
Education: Investing and enabling a sustainable, equitable First Nation education system supportive of aboriginal language and culture.
Partnership: Unlocking the economic potential of First Nations, supporting First Nation economies and new energy opportunities and affirming environmental responsibility.
Safety and Community Health: Addressing critical foundations of community health and safety, including housing, drinking water, emergency response, justice, and intervention to affirm and protect the vital role of women and children.
In a recent conference call with reporters, Atleo said that none of the parties come close to hitting the mark.
“Even if we took all of them together, it still falls very short of where we need to go with the four priorities,” he said.