Four national union leaders joined NDP Aboriginal Affairs Critic Jean Crowder today to tell the federal government that it will take more than an apology to improve conditions in Canada’s Aboriginal communities.
CUPE National President Paul Moist, CUPW National President Denis Lemelin, PSAC National President John Gordon, USWA National representative Pat Van Horne, and Crowder met at the National Press Gallery in Ottawa to ask for urgent action from the federal government on key Aboriginal rights issues.
The press conference concludes a joint postcard campaign by CUPE’s Aboriginal Council and their counterpart at the PSAC, which will see thousands of signed postcards delivered to the Prime Minister outlining four things the government can do to improve Aboriginal human rights.
Recommendations include honouring the Kelowna Accord, fixing the water crisis in First Nations’ communities, signing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, and ending gender discrimination against First Nations’ women and their families.
With 600,000 members from coast to coast to coast, Moist says that CUPE members can play a vital role in raising awareness about Aboriginal rights issues in their communities.
CUPE has also campaigned extensively for safe, public water as a basic human right.
“At least 85 First Nations’ water systems have been classified ‘high risk’. On Yellow Quill First Nation Reserve in Northeast Saskatchewan, they have been under a boil water advisory for nine years,” said Moist.
“The fact that over 100 communities cannot drink their water is a national disgrace. Sometimes, sorry is truly not enough. It’s time for action, now.”