OTTAWA, Nov. 22, 2018 /CNW/ - Following yesterday's Fall Fiscal Update released by federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau, Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde says commitments and investments in First Nations priorities show progress, but much more needs to be done to build stronger First Nations for a stronger Canada.
"It's positive to see targeted investments for First Nations and First Nations children, our most valuable resource," said AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde. "I look forward to further discussions with Minister Morneau and others at the upcoming First Ministers Meeting in December on how sustained investments and tangible action can maintain momentum and continue progress on closing the gap between First Nations and Canadians."
Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau released the Fall Fiscal update late yesterday. It outlined Canada's plans to accelerate investment and address deficits. Some highlights include an announcement of $14 billion in tax cuts to accelerate business investment and $3 Billion in new spending beyond the measures in Budget 2018 for items such as strategic innovation and increasing access to new markets for exports. The update references $297 million in 2018-19 for Jordan's Principle, Nutrition North ($63 million over 5 years), and a response to the interim report of the National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
First Nations have successfully advocated for a total of $17 billion in federal funding directed to critical First Nations priorities in the past three federal budgets, but a huge gap in living standards between First Nations and Canadians remains.
"Recent federal budgets have shown unprecedented investments in First Nations priorities, but progress does not equal parity," said National Chief Bellegarde. "I look forward to First Nations being part of real progress in key areas like child welfare and First Nations languages before the end of this year. First Nations have been working together with the federal government on these priorities with the goal toward a better future for our children, and I'm keen to discuss this further with federal and provincial ministers next month. Stronger First Nations will mean a stronger Canada."
The AFN participated in the pre-budget submission process, detailing areas that require investments.
The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.
SOURCE Assembly of First Nations
For further information: Jenna Young Castro, Senior Communications Advisor, Assembly of First Nations, 613-241-6789 ext. 201, 613-314-8157 (cell), firstname.lastname@example.org; Monica Poirier, Bilingual Communications Officer, Assembly of First Nations, 613-241-6789 ext. 382, 613-292-0857, email@example.com