© Mitch MacDonald/The Guardian
Eagle Island Singers drum group perform during the National Aboriginal Day celebrations in Confederation Landing in this Guardian file photo.
OTTAWA - 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.
- Read more special articles:
- Liberals' maiden 'sunny ways' budget showers spending, deficits
- Premier says federal budget will help Islanders of all ages
- Charlottetown mayor says delivery of federal dollars critical
- Budget revamps tax benefits for families, focuses on low and middle income
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.
He says Canada's indigenous population continue to face long-standing cultural barriers.