Interesting article on econ. development spending

Canada’s Aboriginals are not happy with the recent Federal budget:

“As sure as spring follows winter, Stephen Harper’s Budget 2007 shall trigger a summer of Aboriginal protests from one end of this country to the other,” predicted Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs.

Now, I don’t want to wade into a debate about the plight of Canada’s Aboriginal population. However, I was curious about one statistic cited in this press release:

Further, economic development needs to become a major priority within Federal Government spending. Currently, economic development represents only 4% of Federal Government Aboriginal program spending,” stated Phillip.

4%.

Can you imagine if the Government of New Brunswick spent 4% of its budget on economic development? On a $6 billion budget, that would be $240 million. That would be a little increase over the $28 million today, don’t ya think?

And that 4%, by the way, is considered pitiful by the Aboriginal leadership.

So how about 5%? Or 10%?

Maybe New Brunswick should follow the lead of the country’s Aboriginal population and get economic development spending into a reasonable range for a province looking to become ‘self sufficient’ within 20 years.

Governments can talk all day about economic development and self sufficiency but ultimately the true test of commitment comes down to funding. Bernard Lord bragged about putting $2.5 billion more into health care – on a slightly declining population. It is clear where his priority was. It will be interesting to see where the Liberals put their real emphasis (i.e. where they spend the money).

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0 Responses to Interesting article on econ. development spending

  1. Anonymous says:

    Keep in mind that Chiefs don’t always speek for their ‘constituents’. Many of them will clamour for more money, because often it goes into their pockets. A similar threat was said about barricades after the rejection of the Kelowna Accord but little came of it. However, land rights, such as in Six Nations, almost always gets out the protestors.

    However, for many natives ‘our’ version of economic development is what they want to avoid. If you are native and setting up an individual company you can get all kinds of government money thrown at you. It’s that damn native ‘sharing the resource’ that our government hates so bad. So take a look at many reservations when they brought in the allowable cut, at least one reserve that was studied adopted government directives of clear cutting because they were worried that otherwise they wouldn’t get access.

    The government doesn’t mind native ED so long as it operates like OUR version of ED. There’s a correlation very evident in that the more ‘traditional’ economic system that natives attempt to build, the less support they will get from government. If natives came out and said ‘we want this land to clearcut the hell out of it’, they’d get all kinds of support.

  2. Scott says:

    Aboriginal plight in Canada will not be solved through increased spending, even though they did receive increased money in this budget.

    I think the solution lies in self-government where an elected senate and commons guarantee that their voice is heard through First Nations elections.

    In other words, we need to allot a specific amount of seats in both the upper and lower chamber so that they can administer their own affairs within the federalist system.