THUNDER BAY – Batchewana First Chief Dean Sayers states, “ Prime Minister Trudeau made several commitments to the Native Leaders of this country at the AFN meetings in Gatineau last December. We are enthused to see a new budget that attempts to improve the quality of life for our people and reflects the sentiments of the Prime Minister. We look forward to continued dialogue to address Treaty issues.”
With its first budget, the Government of Canada vowed to take a different path, and indicated its intention to adopt a new approach to economic and fiscal policy.
Batchewana First Nation Chief and Council are encouraged to see positive attempts towards rekindling the relationship between First Nations Governments and the Government of Canada.
The new budget attempts to address issues First Nations have been trying to garner attention to for decades.
Proposed investments in budget 2016 include improving social infrastructure, housing conditions, access to early learning and health care.
Batchewana First Nation currently has 230-250 individuals on the housing waiting list in need of immediate housing. Chief Dean Sayers was relieved to see $554.3 million allocated (over two years) to address urgent housing needs on reserve, but expressed concern as to how the funds would be dispersed to the over 640 First Nations across Canada.
Chief Sayers commented, “We acknowledge that these investments are just the start, what we look forward to is long term solutions such as a true Nation-Nation relationship that will facilitate an effective long term approach to many of the issues on the table”.
The leadership of Batchewana First Nation are optimistic about budget 2016 for recognizing the importance of developing a strategy that addresses First Nations in a holistic way to create inclusive growth.