OTTAWA, March 19, 2015 /CNW/ - Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde expressed support for the key investments and a new approach based on recognizing First Nations rights that will support a better quality of life for First Nations as set out in today's Alternative Federal Budget, "Delivering the Good", released by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
"My key priority is closing the gap in the quality of life between First Nations and Canadians because that will benefit all the peoples of this land," said AFN National Chief Bellegarde. "Today's Alternative Federal Budget would be a step in that direction. It calls for investments based on real needs and costs supported by a new fiscal relationship that recognizes and respects First Nations rights, Treaties and title. Our people were not meant to be poor in our own homelands. Our priorities are Canada's priorities. It would be good for all Canadians if the upcoming federal budget is informed by the strategic, targeted approach in this Alternative Federal Budget."
The Alternative Federal Budget (AFB) calls for removing the 2% cap on funding increases to First Nations that has been in place since 1996. The cap does not keep pace with needs, population growth or inflation and the results are devastating to First Nations people, communities and economies. The AFB calls for removal of the 2% cap to be replaced by funding based on real needs and costs as well as a new fiscal relationship that reflects the spirit and intent of the Treaties and inherent First Nations jurisdiction.
"The Alternative Federal Budget is a holistic, strategic approach to investing in First Nations and giving life to our rights and Treaties," said National Chief Bellegarde. "It is a real plan and a real alternative to the current federal approach which faces serious challenges given the living conditions among First Nations. We will all benefit from a real plan for progress and change."
The AFB sets out targeted investments and approaches across the broad themes of Implementing First Nations Rights (including a new fiscal relationship, removing the 2% cap and Treaty implementation and recognition of First Nations rights), Removing Barriers to Education and Economic Opportunities (action and investments in education, employment and training), Meeting Basic Needs (investing in health, housing and drinking water), and Ensuring Safety and Security in First Nations Communities (action to prevent violence against First Nations women and girls including a national inquiry, support for Indian residential schools survivors, initiatives in justice and corrections including support for First Nations justice systems and First Nations policing).
The chapter of the AFB on First Nations is available at: https://www.policyalternatives.ca/afb2015chapters/First_Nations.pdf
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Comms, @AFN_Updates.
SOURCE Assembly of First Nations
For further information: Don Kelly, AFN Communications Director, 613-241-6789 ext. 200, 613-292-2787 or firstname.lastname@example.org