National Chief welcomes today's 2007 Alternate Federal Budget's commitment to close the First Nations poverty gap with rest of Canada



    OTTAWA, March 15 /CNW Telbec/ - The 2007 Alternate Federal Budget,
released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, allocates a
total of $6.1 billion in spending for First Nations over the next three years.
    "This represents an ideal budgetary response to the needs of First
Nations. It meets the requirements of First Nations after years of failed
promises and commitments that have not been met. It is also consistent with
what was promised in the 2005 Kelowna Accord," said National Chief Phil
Fontaine. "This is a fair, reasonable and achievable response to the kind of
investments that First Nations are seeking in the next three years. It will
enable us to be real contributors to Canada's economy."
    The alternate budget addresses critical funding issues such as First
Nations child welfare, housing, land claims, education, environment, and Non
Insured Health Benefits. The budget also eliminates the Department of Indian
Affairs' two per cent funding cap that has been strangling First Nations
communities since 1996.
    "I can only hope that this Monday's federal budget will closely resemble
the fiscally prudent and balanced alternate budget presented to Canadians
today," said National Chief Fontaine. "First Nations want to assume their
rightful place in Canada - socially and economically. This alternate budget
addresses the current loss of First Nations economic potential, as well as the
loss of labour force potential that our young and growing population
represents.
    "Chiefs are tired and frustrated with managing First Nations poverty,"
commented the National Chief. "The bottom line is that we want to create
opportunity and become much stronger contributors to the economic fabric of
this country. I'm sure this sentiment is shared by all Canadians."
    For the 2007-8 fiscal year, the Alternate Federal Budget allocates
$801 million for fiscal sustainability; $500 million for land claims;
$420 million for housing, $405 million for NIHB; $200 million for education,
$125 million for health, $125 million for child welfare; $110 million for
environmental stewardship; and $38 million for economic development - a total
of approximately $2.9 billion in First Nations spending.

    The 2007 Alternate Federal Budget is available at
    www.policyalternatives.ca.

    The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing
First Nations citizens in Canada.




For further information:

For further information: Bryan Hendry, A/Director of Communications,
(613) 241-6789, ext. 229, cell (613) 293-6106, bhendry@afn.ca; Nancy Pine,
Communications Advisor - Office of the National Chief, (613) 241-6789, ext.
243, (613) 298-6382, npine@afn.ca


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