Wednesday, April 11, 2007

liberal resurface:military base for natives?????

Coderre urges military base for natives
11/04/07 Canadian Press

Liberal defence critic Denis Coderre is calling on the federal government to build a Canadian Forces base for native soldiers.

"I think that we have to show sensitivity since Canada is also composed of first nations," Mr. Coderre said yesterday.

"The Canadian Forces have always reflected what Canada is," he said.

The base, which would be a first in Canada, would be built in the Restigouche area of northern New Brunswick.

The idea was first floated by Serge Noel, a local resident who noticed that many natives from the area were crossing the border to join the armed forces in the United States.

"The Canadian Forces have taken steps in the past to attract more aboriginals to their ranks and have achieved a certain level of success, but not as much as they would have hoped for," Mr. Noel said.

Mr. Noel added that Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor has already rejected his idea.

However, Mr. Coderre said the issue could resurface during the next election campaign.

"I promise to speak about this project with our leader, St├ęphane Dion, and I hope that it can become a campaign promise," Mr. Coderre said.

Mr. Coderre also said he plans to meet aboriginal leaders to gauge their support for the native base.