For Immediate Release
March 12, 2018
TREATY ONE TERRITORY _ Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister announced the 2018/19 budget today.
Grand Chief Arlen Dumas of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs states:
“The announcement of today’s budget doesn’t come as a surprise. The provincial government has been saying for a while now they are moving towards a balanced budget and slightly lowered income taxes.”
On First Nations Child and Family Services:
“The Province of Manitoba committed to increase funding for child and family services by $35 million in this year’s budget but where is this money coming from? Minister Friesen in the May 22, 2017, Hansard record says the Children’s Special Allowance (CSA) claw back for 2017-2018 is anticipated revenue of $31 million.
It is the AMC’s position that CSAs should not be put into provincial general revenue. Those are funds meant to be used towards the care of children in CFS care.
With the Province planning to “fix” the CFS crisis in Manitoba, this absolutely requires returning CSA funds so it can be used to care for our children and also requires the investment of new dollars. With their rhetoric surrounding their plan to fix the CFS crisis, I would expect more from them than this.
The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs remains committed to the inherent right to full jurisdiction of our First Nations children and families. We will continue to push the Memorandum of Understanding that we signed with the Government of Canada in December 2017, to be honoured, and we, along with our First Nation communities, will lead reform of the federal First Nations Child and Family Services Program accordingly.”
On Indigenous and Municipal Relations:
“In the last budget, the Province put Indigenous and Municipal Relations together at $451 million. This time, they have broken it into Indigenous and Northern Relations as a line item at $34 million; while Municipal Relations is on its own at $366 million. Until we can dig into the budget and see specifically how the province plans on investing in Indigenous and Northern Relations, it would be pre-mature to comment on this, until we better understand it.”
“I think First Nations students will welcome the opportunity for a provincial bursary to help offset their post-secondary educational costs. Although this $1 million for low-income Indigenous students is good, it is unclear how many First Nations students will benefit from this announcement.”
“This is a step in the right direction. First Nations policing has been chronically under-funded for years and the federal government has even faced legal challenges due to this fact. The investment of an additional $6.8 million for community and First Nations policing is long over due.”
“We still have four First Nations in Manitoba that depend on diesel for their power. Recently the federal government postponed northern and rural infrastructure in their budget; and now we find out the province is increasing diesel by 6.71 cents per litre. With the already high price of food in northern communities combined with an increase in diesel, our First Nations citizens will suffer even more and struggle harder to provide a life comparable to their southern counterparts.”
About the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs
The AMC was formed in 1988 by the Chiefs in Manitoba to advocate on issues that commonly affect First Nations in Manitoba. AMC represents 62 of the 63 First Nations in Manitoba with a total of more than 151,000 First Nation citizens in the province, accounting for approximately 12 per cent of the provincial population. AMC represents a diversity of Anishinaabe (Ojibway), Nehetho (Cree), Oji-Cree, Dene and Dakota people and traditions.
For more information please contact:
Director of Communications
Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs