OTTAWA, March 15, 2012 /CNW/ - Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo today continued calls for concrete investments in First Nations' priority areas as an economic imperative for Canada, while commenting on the Alternative Federal Budget (AFB) presented by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives in Ottawa this morning.
"As identified in the Alternative Federal Budget, one of the ten ways to make the federal Budget work for everyone is to invest in First Nations," said AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo. "First Nations have set clear goals and are ready to implement solutions in the areas of education systems, health services and community infrastructure. With concrete action and support for First Nation-driven approaches in these and other priority areas, First Nations can and will be stronger and better able to build our own economies and contribute to the Canadian economy in general."
Proposing structural changes and significant investments in the areas of fiscal relations, education, infrastructure and health services, the AFB states that reforms and investments "will not only help the Government of Canada meet its financial and fiduciary obligations, but will also lead to a stronger and more prosperous Canada through the strengthening of healthy, safe and prosperous First Nations".
The AFB suggests that sweeping changes to improve support for First Nation governments and significant investment in community infrastructure, health services and education systems is the most fiscally responsible course of action. It specifically cites that "without immediate action, Canada risks abandoning an entire generation to poverty at a time when we have the resources to eliminate poverty in our lifetime".
"Whenever there are austerity measures, too often, it is the most vulnerable who are affected most deeply. As everyone braces for cuts in the upcoming budget, we stand firm on the necessity of investment in our communities and for our children. They deserve every opportunity to fulfill their true potential, starting with access to fair and equitable, stable and secure education systems," said National Chief Atleo. "We all know the consequences of not acting now, for a better future for our children and all our nations. Now is the time to make the investments that will generate lasting change for the most vulnerable and for all of Canada."
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @NCAtleo, @AFN_Comms, @AFN_Updates.
For further information:
Jenna Young, Assembly of First Nations Communications Officer
613-241-6789, ext 401 or cell: 613-314-8157 or email [email protected]