THUNDER BAY, ON, March 19 /CNW/ - Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief
Stan Beardy is disappointed only a fraction of what's being called the budget
for every Canadian is designated for the country's First Nations.
"Given the build up to Budget 2007, I was hopeful the Harper government
would address the need to close the gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal
Canadians on a larger scale," said NAN Grand Chief Stan Beardy following
federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's speech today in the House of Commons.
"The Government of Canada needs to address the fiscal imbalance on a more
comprehensive scale that includes First Nations along with provinces similar
to the all-encompassing package committed to in Kelowna November 2005."
The First Ministers Meeting on Aboriginal Issues, which took place in
Kelowna, B.C. November 2005, had former Prime Minister Paul Martin's Liberal
government announcing contributions of more than $5 billion over the next five
years to close the gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians in the
areas of education, health, housing, and economic opportunities.
Today's Budget specifies supportive measures to provide training and job
opportunities for Aboriginal Canadians, assistance in home-ownership for First
Nation members, improvement of drinking water, and enhancing the Aboriginal
Many of the 49 First Nation communities represented by NAN, such as
Pikangikum (water and sewer) and Kashechewan (clean drinking water) First
Nations, have made national news coverage in recent months showing living
conditions similar to the Third World.
"Increasingly, the honour of the Crown outlined in James Bay Treaty 9 is
being denied, as First Nation people in NAN territory are not being provided
adequate resources to meet a basic standard of life," said Beardy.
The opposition is expected to vote on the Budget in the next two days.
For further information:
For further information: Jenna Young, Director of Communications,
Nishnawbe Aski Nation, at (807) 625-4952 or (807) 628-3953 (mobile)