Montreal

First Nations leaders hold rally in Montreal to get attention of political parties

About 100 people gathered in downtown Montreal Friday afternoon to call on federal party leaders to address and discuss aboriginal issues during this election campaign.

Aboriginal leaders say it’s past time their communities’ issues are discussed in the campaign

"We're an afterthought. That has to stop," says AFNQL Chief Ghislain Picard. (CBC)

About 100 people gathered in downtown Montreal Friday afternoon to call on federal party leaders to address and discuss aboriginal issues during this election campaign.

"It's a little shameful from the parties running [in] the campaign that no one has talked about indigenous issues...We should be ashamed of the situation because we are not treating indigenous people with respect," said a woman at the rally, Émilie Joly.

About 100 people attended a rally Friday afternoon in downtown Montreal calling on election candidates to address indigenous issues. (CBC)
First Nations leaders say the issues affecting their communities have been completely overlooked by all the parties in the race.

"We are part of this country — we have been here for a very long time. As we move closer to the election, the voters need to hopefully take a better look at what the parties have to offer when we take a look at First Nation issues in this country," said Akwesasne Grand Chief Abram Benedict.

First Nations leaders at the rally said it's time to tackle issues such as improving access to schools, health care, better living conditions, settling territorial disputes and strengthening the communities' partnership with Ottawa.

"We need to be heard. Once the election is done with, we're an afterthought. That has to stop," said Ghislain Picard, Chief of the Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador.

"What we need to have is a party or government that is willing to sit down and prepare a plan with us."

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.