MCA & QUEBEC POLITICAL MOU - Mohawk Council of Akwesasne and Quebec officials formally signed a political memorandum of understanding today, December 15, 2014. Left to right: MCA District Chief Larry King (Kana:taken District), District Chief Karen Loran (Tsi Snaihne District), Grand Chief Mike Kanentakeron Mitchell, Quebec Minister responsible for Native Affairs Geoffrey Kelley, Member of the National Assembly for Huntingdon Stephane Billette, District Chief April Adams-Phillips (Tsi Snaihne District) and District Chief Joe Lazore (Tsi Snaihne District).
Québec – The Minister responsible for Native Affairs, Geoffrey Kelley, and the Government Whip and Member of the National Assembly for Huntingdon, Stéphane Billette, visited the Mohawk community of Akwesasne today to sign, along with the Grand Chief of the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, Michael Mitchell, a political memorandum of understanding between the Government and the Council. The minister also announced financial assistance of $723,522 to assist the community in diversifying its economy.
“I am particularly pleased to officialise this agreement today. The discussions that led to the establishment of the protocol were conducted in the most respectful manner and with the objective of achieving pleasant and effective collaborations for the next ten years. In addition, I am convinced that new and innovative projects will be developed as a result of this diversification funding and help Akwesasne’s economy,” said the Minister.
The memorandum of understanding will serve as a framework for discussions between Québec and Akwesasne over the next ten years. The purpose of this protocol is to ensure constructive and harmonious exchanges between both parties, while considering issues such as justice, health, education, and public safety.
The purpose of the financial assistance, allocated under the Aboriginal Initiatives Fund II from the Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones, is to support native communities in their economic, social, and community development. Projects with strong economic potential will see the light of day thanks to the additional revenues now available to the Council.
“The signing of a memorandum of understanding and the substantial grant awarded to Council to diversify its economy are welcomed news for the community and the region. Not only will the Akwesasne community and the Government of Québec benefit from constructive exchanges for the improvement of the quality of life of the people of Akwesasne, but new projects will also be developed and stimulate the economy. The creation of businesses, consolidation and creation of jobs, and training of the local workforce will all lead to tangible results that I look forward to observing,” added Mr. Billette.
Grand Chief Michael Mitchell said he was satisfied with the meeting today. The financial assistance will enable members of his community to develop stimulating projects, thus creating optimal economic conditions. The memorandum of understanding guarantees harmonious and effective exchanges with the Government of Québec and will contribute positively to the development of the Akwesasne community.
“The Akwesasne Economic Development Fund has had a positive effect on Akwesasne by diversifying and strengthening our community’s economy and, most importantly, by serving as a catalyst for local entrepreneurs seeking financial assistance to initiate or expand their business ventures. Many new businesses and new partnerships with funding agencies have developed that would not have otherwise had the opportunity to begin or expand without AEDF match funding. It has provided over two hundred job opportunities within Akwesasne since 2007 as a direct result of our local businesses utilizing AEDF funding,” said Grand Chief Mitchell.