19 SEPTEMBER 2014
(FREDERICTON, NB) – Green Party Leader David Coon stood today on unceded land of the Maliseet, on the banks of the St. John River in Fredericton, to recognize and renew the Treaty Relationships of Peace and Friendship with the Native Peoples in New Brunswick.
"As I stand here beside the Wulustuk River on the traditional land of the Maliseet, I commit our Green Government to legislate the duty to consult with First Nations in compliance with Supreme Court decisions, and to establish the mechanisms for full, free and prior consent in resource development," Coon said. "We will renew the trust and sharing agreements which marked the original intent of the Treaties."
He said that would be just one part of the party's plan to make things right with First Nations by respecting the treaties with the Wabanaki Peoples, which include the Passamaquoddy, the Wolastoqiyik and the Mi'kmaq, as the legal basis for the relationship between the Province of New Brunswick and Native peoples.
Coon also indicated that a Green Cabinet would serve as an ally to the province's First Nations in the dealings with Ottawa.
First and foremost among those dealings, he emphasized the importance of supporting Native language programs by pressuring the federal government to finance native language immersion education in the schools.
Furthermore, a Green government would launch a public education program to build awareness of our historic and current treaty relationship with First Nations. It would establish citizen assemblies where aboriginal and non-aboriginal people in New Brunswick could work together to make recommendations on how our Peace and Friendship Treaties should be respected by our province.
He also spoke of the need for the aboriginal and non-aboriginal people to work together to protect the environment.
"Water is the source of all life, sustaining the great biodiversity and social diversity of New Brunswick," Coon said. "Our government will enact legislation to protect the water, because when we care for the water, we care for each other, and respect our Treaty obligations to each other."