[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 June 2007, 22:38 GMT 23:38 UK
Canada PM in land claims pledge

Stephen Harper - file photo June 2007
Mr Harper said it was time for a new approach to land claims
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has announced plans to overhaul the system for land claims launched by the country's aboriginal groups.

There are currently 800 unresolved claims by native groups across the country for land and resources.

Mr Harper said he wants to cut the average time taken to resolve claims from 13 years to three years.

Legislation will be tabled after discussions between federal government officials and native leaders.

"This announcement today represents hope for First Nations people," said Phil Fontaine, chief of the Assembly of First Nations, an umbrella group representing Canada's aboriginal people.

A recent official inquiry into the 1995 death of a native protester urged officials to deal with land claims more fairly and swiftly.

There have been warnings from native groups that Canada is heading towards a summer of protest as frustrations over unresolved land claims increases.

There are some 1.3 million people in Canada with aboriginal ancestry out of a total population of 33 million, according to the 2001 census.

Many live on impoverished reserves where unemployment, suicide and drug and alcohol abuse levels are much higher than the national average.

Some native leaders have promised a day of action for 29 June to raise awareness of the conditions their people are living in.


SEE ALSO
Blame laid in Canada native death
01 Jun 07 |  Americas
Native Canadians fight eviction
21 Apr 06 |  Americas
Abuse payout for native Canadians
23 Nov 05 |  Americas
Canada's troubled native children
31 Jul 02 |  Americas
Abuse in Canada
28 Dec 00 |  Americas
Country profile: Canada
01 Nov 05 |  Country profiles

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific