OTTAWA – Budget 2017 makes important and positive investments to help close the socio-economic gap for First Nations, but these investments must lead to real change, faster, says Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde. Today’s budget allocates $3.4 billion for Indigenous peoples priorities over five years.
“The positive investments in this budget have to lead to positive results for our children and families,” said National Chief Perry Bellegarde. “First Nations have worked hard to secure key investments in the last two budgets. The need is to see change on the ground. For that, the system must move more quickly and efficiently. I’ll be happy when the gap is finally closed and First Nations enjoy the same quality of life as other Canadians. First Nations can help this government deliver results because we know better than anyone the needs and priorities for our peoples. We can work together to deliver those results and we have to move now.”
The 2017 federal budget unveiled today, titled Building a Strong Middle Class, continues critical investments and support for First Nations in a number of areas including housing and infrastructure, education and training, policing, and health. The budget also referenced the Prime Minister’s commitment, made at the AFN 2016 Special Chiefs Assembly, to co-develop an Indigenous Languages Act and the 2017 budget commits resources to enhance, support and archive Indigenous languages.
National Chief Bellegarde added: “The new investments for Indigenous languages are critical because language is directly connected to the health of our children and the health of our nations. First Nations are the youngest and fastest growing population, representing tremendous opportunity and potential in a society that is aging. Our young people are key to a strong Canada, now and in the future.”