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THUNDER BAY, ON: Further to the Your Vote Matters! Campaign launched on October 14, 2015, the Matawa Chiefs today expressed their encouragement for the increased Indigenous voter turn-out in the five (5) ridings of in the Matawa region during the October 19, 2015 federal election. “The people in the electoral districts in Matawa have spoken, they want a complete change in government—we are proud that they have lent their voice,” said Chief Cornelius Wabasse of Webequie First Nation.

Within the ridings in the Matawa region, three (3) new MPs, all from the Liberal Party, were elected in the Thunder Bay-Superior North, Thunder Bay-Rainy River and Kenora ridings. “We welcome the new federal government and congratulate Prime Minister Trudeau and MPs Patty Hajdu, Don Rusnak and Bob Nault on their election and look forward to working with them for a better relationship,” said Chief Allen Towegishig of Long Lake # 58 First Nation.

Two (2) New Democratic Party incumbents from the Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing and Timmins-James Bay ridings received overwhelming support. “We congratulate MPs Carol Hughes and Charlie Angus on their victories and we look forward to our continuing work together,” stated Chief Bruce Achneepineskum of Marten Falls First Nation.

Prior to the election, the Matawa Chiefs Council raised their seven (7) priorities with all candidates seeking specific commitments. In addition to overall general First Nation commitments made by the Liberal Party, Liberal MP elects Bob Nault, Patty Hajdu and Don Rusnak made other commitments having a more immediate impact the Matawa region such as:

  • Ending First Nations boil water advisories (BWAs) within five (5) years, including specific commitments for Neskantaga and Marten Falls First Nations which have been on BWA for twenty (20) years
  • Doubling federal infrastructure investment to $125 billion from the current $65 billion over the next decade for housing, all weather road and grid connections to northern communities;
  • Provide matching funds or loan guarantees similar to those offered in the Upper Churchill to develop infrastructure in the Ring of Fire
  • Substantial support to First Nations education, and investments of $50 million per year in the post-secondary education program
  • Respectful inclusion of First Nations into an improved environmental assessment process.
  • A public inquiry and follow-up action into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women
  • Work towards resource revenue sharing agreements
  • Developing a process on jurisdiction of our lands and resources based on our Aboriginal, Treaty and Inherent Rights

“In addition to overall commitments made to First Nations across Canada, we expect nothing less than a timely and complete fulfilment of specific commitments within the Matawa region as we build our new relationship,” stated Chief Celia Echum of Ginoogaming First Nation.

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