FEDERAL BUDGET SHORT ON DETAILS AND HIGH IN RHETORIC FOR INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

Posted by: Ira Timothy
in: All News

London, Ontario April 8th, 2022 – The 2022 Federal budget has not changed much from previous years in terms of Canada’s commitments to Indigenous Peoples and further lacks details on how to meet our substantive needs. A strong focus in this year’s budget is Jordan’s Principle and, Housing in Indigenous Communities however, there is a substantial focus on initiatives, with little to no details on how they will be fulfilled.

The Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians (AIAI) Grand Chief Joel Abram states “The government continually talks about how many long-term drinking water advisories have been lifted and claims it is on the way to resolving the remaining 34. It is generally positive and sounds like a good ratio except that it should not have been an issue in the first place or one that has gone on this long.

They speak about the need for updated legislature and recognition ‘of their past sins’, however it is to be noted that they have failed to include a number of issues in this budget that were outlined in last year’s budget. In 2021, there was a poignant mention of responding to the tragedy of MMIWG and to reduce the overrepresentation of Indigenous Peoples in prison both of which are not mentioned in this budget. This year they are making special notice of Residential Schools and the recognition of the unmarked burial sites and this sounds more like jumping on a hot button topic when it’s convenient for them to make it sound like they care. One can only hope that these were oversights and that there will be monies to advance these other issues.”

AIAI Deputy Grand Chief Stacia Loft states “They continue to use the term ‘Reconciliation’ quite loosely in attempts to demonstrate they are working with Indigenous Peoples and communities but this is not the reality. The government asserts they are ready to commit to resolving these longstanding issues but the fact remains that these priorities are not new, and have remained unresolved for decades. Pledging money to Justice Canada to appoint a special interlocutor or to the RCMP for community-led responses is not appropriate action. By doing so they are basically saying they are not willing to entrust us in managing burial sites on our Territories or to establish our own laws, on our terms.

The budget provides numbers but when you look further at the wording, there are few details on how these needs will be prioritized, how funds will be distributed, who will qualify, nor any established outcomes. The budget encourages consultation with Indigenous communities regarding economic development, natural resources and climate concerns, but does not address issues surrounding the right for companies to drill, build, or to continue to take resources from our Territories. While they are ‘consulting’ with Indigenous communities companies can proceed with their projects regardless of what First Nations have to say about it.”

The 2022 Federal budget contains numbers, promises and words on past tragedies, sins, and mistakes but aside from the mentions in the end they are just words. Words that will mean nothing unless a complete plan that is transparent, detailed, and properly consulted upon with Indigenous Peoples is acted upon faithfully and with full intent and commitment to see it through.

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AIAI is mandated as a Political Territorial Organizations (PTO) to defend and enhance the Indigenous and Treaty rights of our seven member First Nations. Our member nations include: Batchewana First Nation, Caldwell First Nation, Eelunaapeewii Lahkeewiit, Hiawatha First Nation, Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte, Oneida Nation of the Thames, and the Wahta Mohawks. Learn more at www.aiai.on.ca, on twitter @AIAI_comms and on Facebook
For more information and media inquiries please contact Ira Timothy, Communications Coordinator for A.I.A.I at (519) 434-2761 or email at Itimothy@aiai.on.ca

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