CHISASIBI, EEYOU ISTCHEE QUEBEC (July 7, 2010) – The Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non‑Status Indians was in Quebec to sign an agreement and announce major infrastructure projects on a tour of the province, which concluded today.
Minister Strahl made three major announcements for First Nations in Quebec: the signing of a framework agreement for tripartite collaboration aimed at improving the administration and delivery of income assistance; the signing of the Eeyou Marine Region Land Claims Agreement; and the investments planned under Canada's Economic Action Plan .
"Our government is committed to improving the lives of First Nation communities in Quebec," said Minister Strahl. "From income assistance to the settlement of land claim agreements we are working in partnership with provincial governments and First Nations to deliver real results."
"The announcements made by Minister Strahl during his visit to Quebec clearly illustrate that our partnerships with the Government and First Nations of Quebec are successful. Major agreements have been signed and substantial investments have been announced, all with a view to improving living conditions for Quebec's First Nations," said Steven Blaney, MP for Lévis-Bellechasse.
In Quebec City, representatives of the Government of Canada, the Government of Quebec and the First Nations of Quebec signed a framework agreement to increase collaboration with regard to the administration and delivery of income assistance in First Nations communities in Quebec. The purpose of the agreement is to identify and promote solutions for improving the program's management as well as the range of active employment assistance measures and services. The agreement is for a three-year period.
In Chisasibi, Minister Strahl, Grand Chief of the Grand Council of the Crees Matthew Coon Come, and Nunavut Premier Eva Aariak signed the Eeyou Marine Region Land Claims Agreement (EMRLCA). This agreement will help resolve land claim disputes that have persisted since the signing of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement in 1975. The agreement recognizes the ancestral rights of the Crees of Quebec to the land and resources in the Eeyou Marine Region.
Lastly, as part of his visit, Minister Strahl took the opportunity to announce the investments planned for Quebec under Canada's Economic Action Plan (CEAP). More than $50 million over two years has been invested by the Government of Canada for various infrastructure projects in Quebec's First Nation communities. For example, in February 2010, INAC announced an investment of $6.4 million for the renovation and expansion of the Uauitshitun School in Natashquan. Investments under CEAP have made it possible to allocate funding to four other major infrastructure projects for the communities of Kahnawake, Betsiamites, Kitigan Zibi, and Manawan, and in various housing projects for 30 Aboriginal communities in Quebec.
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