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Assembly of First Nations Tells House of Commons Committee about Dange...

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    ... From: CNW Portfolio System To: Portfolio E-Mail Sent: Thursday, February 10, 2005 2:01 PM Subject: Assembly of First Nations Tells House of Commons
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 10, 2005
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      ----- Original Message -----
      From: CNW Portfolio System
      To: Portfolio E-Mail
      Sent: Thursday, February 10, 2005 2:01 PM
      Subject: Assembly of First Nations Tells House of Commons Committee about Dange...



      CNW Group Portfolio E-Mail





      ASSEMBLY OF FIRST NATIONS


      Transmitted by CNW Group on : Feburary 10, 2005 15:45
      Assembly of First Nations Tells House of Commons Committee about Dangers of Asbestos-laden Vermiculite Insulation in Reserve Housing

      OTTAWA, Feb. 10 /CNW Telbec/ - On behalf of the Assembly of First Nations
      and his community, Chief Lance Haymond of Eagle Village First Nation today
      made a presentation to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Aboriginal
      Affairs and Northern Development detailing the dangers of the asbestos-laden
      vermiculite insulation used in hundreds of on-reserve houses.
      Chief Haymond discussed the dangers of vermiculite and the urgent need
      for a swift response to deal with a crisis that expands well-beyond the scope
      of earlier Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) estimates.
      Chief Haymond pointed out that an INAC search "identified 28 homes in the
      Quebec Region with possible Vermiculite contamination and zero in Eagle
      Village, (but) Eagle Village underwent its own self-identification process and
      identified 17 homes with Vermiculite contamination." Indian and Northern
      Affairs Canada have stated that 597 homes nationally are contaminated by
      vermiculite.
      Chief Haymond also detailed Eagle Village's response to their vermiculite
      crisis.
      "We completed a study on removal and chose to train our own people,
      creating the in-house capacity to provide remediation services," said Chief
      Haymond. "However, this is not an option for many communities, due to a lack
      of appropriate resources."
      Given the state of much on-reserve housing, Chief Haymond said the
      federal government's statement that "the insulation will not pose a risk if
      left undisturbed" is inadequate.
      "This recommendation assumes that the housing unit is... in an average
      state of maintenance," said Chief Haymond. "The Auditor General's Report noted
      that, of the entire First Nations housing stock, 44% requires renovation. To
      say 'do not disturb the insulation' is not adequate."
      Chief Haymond pointed out that AFN estimates for a National Vermiculite
      Remediation Program would require a one-time investment of $9 million. In
      addition, Chief Haymond called on the Standing Committee to support funding to
      address the critical shortfalls in on-reserve housing highlighted by the
      vermiculite crisis, as well as support for the development of First Nations-
      led housing programs and authorities, as detailed in the AFN's Pre-Budget
      Submission.
      Assembly of First Nations National Chief Phil Fontaine stated that
      improving housing and creating new units to deal with the massive shortfall on-
      reserve are urgent priorities for First Nations and the AFN.
      "In light of the long-standing condition of First Nations housing and the
      information about asbestos-laden insulation, it is not going too far to say
      that this is literally a life and death issue," said National Chief Fontaine.
      "We need to see a commitment immediately in the upcoming federal budget to
      address this issue, as well as working together to support First Nations
      taking control over local housing issues. This means we need resources to
      cover the management and administration of a Housing Program under the
      direction of regional First Nations organizations, Tribal Councils, bands and
      the AFN."

      The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing
      First Nations citizens in Canada.



      -30-

      /For further information: Don Kelly, AFN Communications Director,
      (613) 241-6789, ext. 320 or cell.: (613) 292-2787; Ian McLeod, AFN Bilingual
      Communications Officer, (613) 241-6789, ext. 336 or cell.: (613) 859-4335;
      Nancy Pine, Communications Advisor, Office of the National Chief,
      (613) 241-6789, ext. 243 or cell.: (613) 298-6382/

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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