2023 Alternative Budget for First Nations in Manitoba

March 31, 2023

Treaty One Territory, Manitoba

AMC Communications

Canada has stated it is committed to a new fiscal relationship with First Nations. If Canada follows such words with action, a Manitoba First Nations-led approach to addressing chronic underfunding and widening gaps can commence. The way forward was wisely foreseen by Manitoba First Nations elders, knowledge keepers, and leadership.

In 1971, the need to respect Treaty and inherent rights, approach First Nations on a Nation-to-Nation basis, and operate within a context of fiscal self-determination was elegantly articulated in Wahbung: Our Tomorrows. This vision has been reiterated and championed in present day by the proponents of this Alternative Federal Budget, we the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and Assembly of First Nations Manitoba Region. The 2023-24 Manitoba First Nations Alternative Federal Budget is a starting point for a new relationship between Canada and Manitoba First Nations to co-develop transformative programs and policies.

Sufficient fiscal resources are needed for First Nations to achieve self-determination. The 2023-24 Manitoba First Nations Alternative Federal Budget requires a minimum of $8 billion in total federal spending to support and advance the priorities of First Nations in Manitoba. Committed, substantial funding would shepherd health transformation and selfgovernance initiatives, address persistent and chronic community health needs, expand urban transition services, and move Child and Family Services to a preventive model governed by First Nations.

It is essential that the Government of Canada recognize First Nations as the best stewards of their futures. Manitoba First Nations must be given the ability to assert their inherent jurisdiction across policy areas via authority over funding. Canada must dismantle past colonial funding relations and eliminate the use of nonFirst Nations intermediaries in program funding for First Nations.

The annual federal budget offers an opportunity for Canada to realize its stated goals of reconciliation. Co-developing programs and fiscal policies with Manitoba First Nations is one pathway Canada can meaningfully demonstrate its commitment. Fiscal self-determination for First Nations in Manitoba is only the beginning of this renewed relationship and understanding.

Read the 2023 Alternative Budget for First Nations in Manitoba here.

Over the last two years, the Assembly of Manitoba has attempted to initiate a budgetary process with Canada that could lead the way for First Nations in Manitoba wellness and a new fiscal relationship.

AMC tabled an Alternative Budget for First Nations in Manitoba in March 2022, submitted a 2000-word pre-budget submission to the Standing Committee on Finance in October 2022, and then sent out the 2023/2024 Alternative Federal Budget for Manitoba First Nations in March 2023.

I want to thank the Assembly of First Nations Manitoba Region (AFN) for working with the AMC in creating the second Manitoba First Nations Alternative Budget 2023. We tabled this document in Ottawa well in advance before the budget to ensure First Nation voices are heard. It is tough for the AMC to respond to a budget for a “strong middle class” when the notion of “middle class” is tone-deaf to First Nations realities.

Grand Chief Cathy Merrick

Read AMC’s News Release response to the 2023 Federal Budget Announcement here.