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(Ottawa) Aboriginal leaders must be invited to participate fully in the upcoming health care meetings in Ottawa, says Paul Moist, National President of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

Aboriginalleaders have been requesting to be admitted as full participants at the September 13-15 health care meetings between Prime Minister Paul Martin and the Provincial and Territorial leaders. Yesterday, Martin rejected that request, inviting the leaders instead to yet another Prime Ministerial photo-op.

Paul Martin promised aboriginal people that the principle of collaboration would be the cornerstone of their new partnership with the federal government, said Moist. Martin has yet to live up to his promise.

Martin promisedaboriginal people a full seat at the table in their future dealings at a major meeting between the federal government andaboriginalleaders last April. Septembers health care meetings are seen as the first real test of that new partnership.

CUPE supports the full participation ofaboriginal leaders at the health care meetings and calls on Ottawa to come clean in its efforts to address the urgent health issues of aboriginal communities across the country.

Martin has a sorry track record for making grand promises at photo-ops to address issues of concern toaboriginal people and failing to come through, said Moist. It is past time for the Prime Minister to walk the talk when it comes to honesty with aboriginals in this country.

For more information:

Paul Moist, National President, CUPE, cell (613) 558 2873
David Robbins, CUPE Communications, cell (613) 878 1431