The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) called on Prime Minister Harper today to consider bold changes as his government moves forward with future aboriginal policies. The CTF encouraged the prime minister to discuss these ideas with grassroots taxpayers and grassroots people living on reserves to end the cycle of poverty.
“For the sake of kids living in poverty on too many reserves, we don’t need another decade with more social programs and tinkering,” said CTF Prairie Director Colin Craig. “We need a new approach; one that treats all Canadians the same and connects aboriginal people with jobs and opportunities. That’s what we’re proposing with our policy ideas.”
The CTF proposed five policy recommendations to improve conditions for aboriginal people:
1) Treat All Canadians the Same – While abiding by treaty contracts and the constitution, phase out non-treaty laws and programs that single out aboriginal people. A few examples:
2) Give Reserves Full Land/Housing Control – Give aboriginal reserves full control over their land by the end of 2013; no more requiring reserves to seek Ottawa’s permission prior to development, leasing or sale of reserve land (while respecting current environmental laws). Also, transfer ownership of homes on reserves to families living there.
3) Transition Support – Investigate how to help people in remote, economically bleak communities transition to where there are better jobs and educational opportunities.
4) Full Accountability – Reserves must be accountable for public funds they receive. Period. No more situations like Attawapiskat; audit found 81% of files lacking supporting documentation.
5) Fund People on Reserves Directly – Start pilot projects whereby funding to reserves goes directly to band members, with the band council taxing band members to pay for services. This would ensure more funds reach people in need, rather than getting caught in administration.
“Whatever the Harper government decides to move ahead with, it should first discuss the changes with grassroots taxpayers and grassroots people living on reserves,” added Craig. “Changes to create self-sufficiency and end poverty can no longer be ignored.”