The federal Liberal budget contains billions in new spending for aboriginal programming, including money to address
issues including education, boil water advisories and child and family services.
The spending commitments are considered one of the central themes of the government’s first fiscal blueprint, with $8.4-billion over the next five years aimed at bringing about “transformational change.”
The budget also says the spending represents a significant increase over the investments that would have been made under the Kelowna Accord, which was negotiated by former Liberal prime minister Paul Martin.
Part of the government’s commitment involves spending $2.6-billion on First Nations education and almost $2-billion in
water and wastewater infrastructure over the next five years, the latter project part of an effort to end boil-water advisories on reserves.
Finance Minister Bill Morneau says Canada can’t be successful as long as indigenous peoples are not given every chance to succeed, noting the arguments are irrefutable in economic terms.
Craig Alexander, vice-president of economic affairs at the C.D. Howe Institute, says it is encouraging to see the government spending on Aboriginal Peoples, but says money is only part of the solution.