Canadian Labour Congress

Canadian Labour Congress

November 01, 2005 10:58 ET

Solidarity with the people of Kashechewan

Labour calls for solid commitments to lift living standards of First Nations Attention: Assignment Editor, Business/Financial Editor, News Editor, World News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor OTTAWA--(CCNMatthews - Nov. 1, 2005) - Expressing dismay at the lack of clear long-term plans to raise the living standards of Aboriginal people living in hundreds of neglected communities across the country, the senior leaders of the Canadian labour movement, in meeting in Ottawa as the Executive Council of the Canadian Labour Congress release the following statement:

The people of the Kashechewan First Nation are paying an awful price with the loss of their community, their health and the displacement of their families, for decades of neglect, indifference and incompetence.

The tragedy of Kashechewan is only the newest most visible result of a large number of negative social and economic conditions faced daily by Aboriginal communities. These issues include: high unemployment rates, lack of adequate housing, inadequate access to health care, and the lack of support for Aboriginal youth and women education and training requirements and unacknowledged systemic racism.

While the majority of society in Canada enjoys the highest quality-of-life in the world, the social conditions facing Aboriginal peoples in Canada, would place that population among the nations that rank in the lower half of the yearly list of the United Nations' Human Development Index.

The Canadian Labour Congress urgently calls on the political leadership of the country for a complete overhaul of their policies towards Aboriginal communities. This will have to be done in partnership and consultation with Aboriginal leadership and Aboriginal workers.

Canadian working men and women and their unions want to see solid commitments and real plans with goals, scheduled investments and achievable timetables to address the issues of living conditions in First Nations communities. Plans without goals, investments and timetables are not plans at all. Commitments without goals, investments and timetables are not solid commitments.

Currently, there are over one hundred First Nations communities where water must be boiled before it is safe to drink. The cost of doing nothing with a long-term view is already too high and is increasing rapidly.

On behalf of all working women and men, the Canadian Labour Congress joins in solidarity alongside our Aboriginal sisters and brothers in their struggle for full equality, inclusion and justice.

The Canadian Labour Congress, the national voice of the labour movement, represents 3 million Canadian workers. The CLC brings together Canada's national and international unions along with the provincial and territorial federations of labour and 137 district labour councils. Web site:

Contact Information

  • Jeff Atkinson, Canadian Labour Congress
    Primary Phone: 613-526-7425
    Secondary Phone: 613-863-1413