Tories would live up to aboriginal agreements: Prentice
Last Updated: Tuesday, January 10, 2006 | 3:34 PM ET
Jim Prentice made the commitment while in Yellowknife to campaign with local Conservative candidate Richard Edjericon.
However, the head of an organization representing Canada's aboriginal people says he's concerned about Tory promises to First Nations.
Phil Fontaine, grand chief for the Assembly of First Nations, says responses from the Conservatives to a seven-question letter he wrote to all the parties has few guarantees the Tories will keep Liberal commitments.
While he says the Tories would keep the commitment to residential school survivors, the same can't be said about promises made at the Kelowna first ministers' conference in November.
"On Kelowna, they agree with the targets, but they are not so clear and certain about the resources attached to each of the targets, so that is a bit of a concern," he says.
Fontaine says his organization will send out its analysis of the parties' responses to his questions to all First Nations in the country. He hopes to encourage aboriginal people to vote in the election.
Prentice says he was at the meeting in Kelowna when the Liberal government announced $2 billion for residential school victims, and billions more for improving living conditions for aboriginal people.
He says the Conservative Party is very committed to following through on the agreements made at the meeting.
"The challenge is to go the next step and decide how those targets are going to be met, how the funds that the government has available are going to be spent, how it's going to be divided up amongst the various aboriginal organizations, and how it's going to be split up across Canada," he says.
Prentice, who toured a local day-care centre and held private talks with the candidate, also said the Conservatives support devolution, aboriginal self-government and a Mackenzie Valley pipeline.
"If we commit that we're going to get something done we're going to get something done and it certainly will apply to the devolution negotiations."
Devolution talks have been on hold waiting for a federal response on resource revenue sharing. Last week, Liberal MP Ethel Blondin-Andrew said a devolution deal transferring power over land and resources from Ottawa to the territory was only days away... a claim disputed by several other parties at the table.