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.
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).