BUDGETS NOT SURPRISING FOR AIAI
For Immediate Release:
March 30, 2012
London, ON – The Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians (AIAI) is not surprised by the release of the provincial or federal budgets this week.
There are some items in both that highlight a desire to advance the collective position of First Peoples. However, both budgets still underscore areas in which each respective government is not interested in working with First Peoples on a government-to-government level or reestablishing the relationship that once existed between nations.
While the province emphasized improving education and clean drinking water, it is unfortunate that the province has chosen to target tobacco trade among First Peoples. The budget is quick to state that the implementation of Bill 186, the regulation of raw leaf tobacco, would increase revenues $375M over the next three years, but of course makes no mention of the financial or community impact this will have on First Peoples. The province also fails to point out the fact that most First Peoples tobacco producers are already in full compliance with Federal regulations. In a time when the relationship between the province and First Peoples is already on shaky ground, this direction is not the most prudent.
The 2012 federal conservative budget announced a 3 year $275M investment in education. This will do nothing to close the 28 year education gap between First Peoples students and their counterparts, which was identified by the Auditor General in 2004.
While the Attawapiskat housing crisis sparked world-wide attention, no funding has been identified to address housing in this budget.
A proposed First Nation Education Act and Privatization of Reserve land law demonstrates the federal government is continuing their policy’s of assimilation by legislation.
While the AIAI understands the current economic realities, this should not undermine the reestablishment of the original relationship, or the opportunity to assist in positioning Canada properly for the future. So, given the extensive history with both levels of government to date, the release of budgets offers no real surprises. “We will continue the task of reestablishing the original relationship and carving a path for our Peoples to move forward,” stated Grand Chief Denise Stonefish.
The AIAI is mandated as a political territorial organization to defend and enhance the Indigenous and Treaty rights of its eight member First Nations. Visit them online at www.aiai.on.ca , https://twitter.com/#!/aiai_comms , www.facebook.com/aiai.pto , www.youtube.com/user/AIAIAdmin .
For more information, please contact: John Jones, Communications Coordinator - AIAI at 519-434-2761 or firstname.lastname@example.org .