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Smith statement on National Aboriginal Day

NANTON, AB (June 21, 2013): Wildrose Official Opposition Leader Danielle Smith released the following statement on National Aboriginal Day: “I want to encourage the Alberta government on National Aboriginal Day to take stock of its relationship with Alberta First Nations and explore ways in which it can be improved.

“We are coming off a spring session in which the government rammed an aboriginal consultation bill through the Legislature, sadly, without consulting aboriginal leaders.  The government has consistently failed to reach out to build its relationship with First Nations – instead only engaging when there are difficult issues to work through. As a result, conflict and not respect has come to define Alberta’s relationship with this aboriginal leaders and communities. “There remain several socio-economic issues in aboriginal communities that need addressing. For example, according to a recent study more than half of Canada’s status First Nation children live in poverty.  Alberta can do its part and start making strides by committing to a new era of co-operation, consultation and respect with our aboriginal leaders. “Alberta’s aboriginal people are truly remarkable. Their history, culture and traditions form part of what makes our province and country so great. On this day, I thank them for their contributions to our society and call on all levels of government to do what they can to help improve the quality of life in aboriginal communities for their fellow citizens.”