Renewed Nation-to-Nation Investments in Budget – AMC Grand Chief

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Assembly of Manitoba Grand Chief Derek Nepinak
Assembly of Manitoba Grand Chief Derek Nepinak

Assembly of Manitoba Grand Chief Derek Nepinak
Assembly of Manitoba Grand Chief Derek Nepinak

WINNIPEG – Grand Chief Derek Nepinak believes that if it takes deficit spending to bring back balance, the Assembly of Manitoba Grand Chief is alright with that process.

AMC states, yesterday, Finance Minister Bill Morneau invested 8.4 billion dollars over five years in Indigenous communities with the announcement of the Liberal Government’s first budget, marking the start of a new “fiscal relationship” with First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities that will assist in seeing untapped potential realized.

Morneau began his budget announcement saying, “Canadians told us two things: they said ‘help me and my family’ and ‘make investments for the future.’”

These sentiments have been expressed by Indigenous Peoples since the two percent cap on annual funding increases began in 1990. Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) Grand Chief Derek Nepinak said, “With the renewed nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous Peoples the Liberal government committed to, these investments for the future are a good start and the budget is positive.”

Naysayers will look to it and they state boldly, “this is an example of reckless spending”…. This is because they do not see that the intangible future potential of human beings cannot be monetized in today’s dollars. It is a near-sighted politically expedient statement to denounce the budget because of its deficit position. I would take a deficit in Canada for the next 20 years if I knew that it was funding tomorrow’s potential today.”

Grand Chief Nepinak states, “The investments are not insignificant. Politically speaking, there is considerable strategy worked into the reporting of numbers. This will always be the case with populist governments relying on votes every four years. In terms of real investment, there is enough seeds being put down to help us direct our energy in the right places”.

“That is, in making investments for our children in education and in the grips of the child welfare system. Investments in child welfare reform speak directly to the AMC policy position on bringing our children home,” adds the Grand Chief. “That is, investments in prevention and child safety before apprehension. This will take considerable effort to design into the current Manitoba system that uses a deficit approach to funding, resulting in motivation and financial incentive for apprehensions”.

“While there is considerable political strategy worked into the budget, the numbers are not insignificant, and although deficit budgets are often viewed as reckless spending”, the AMC’s Grand Chief Derek Nepinak said, “I would take deficit spending in Canada for the next 20 years if I knew that it was funding tomorrow’s human potential today.”

In terms of real investment, the 8.4 billion dollars for Indigenous Peoples will help direct energy in the right places for some of the most pressing issues facing communities, such as education and children caught in the grips of the child welfare system. Investments in child welfare reform speak directly to the AMC policy position on Bringing Our Children Home and the AMC Family Advocates Office. That is, investments in prevention and child safety before apprehension. This will take considerable effort to design into the current Manitoba system that uses a deficit approach to funding, resulting in motivation and financial incentive for apprehensions.