Federal transfer payments should flow directly to First Nations says Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs

December 10, 2018

Treaty One Territory, Manitoba

AMC Communications

Treaty One Territory, MB. _ Canada’s Department of Finance has released federal transfer figures for the next fiscal year, 2019-2020. These figures show Manitoba is set to receive $2.3 billion from the federal government.

“There are funding dollars that are being transferred to Manitoba that are earmarked and belong to First Nations. Those transfers should therefore should come directly to First Nations,” said Grand Chief Arlen Dumas of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs.

“If Canada truly wants to establish a nation-to-nation relationship, fiscal transfers directly to First Nations would give meaningful action to its words. We don’t need the Province of Manitoba to act as a third-party manager, doling out funding as they see fit. First Nations should not be expected to subsidize infrastructure, schools, or health care for some Manitobans while our northern First Nations have services being cut and roads not being maintained or upgraded.”

The AMC has made it clear that First Nations in Manitoba are sovereign territories. As such, they have inherent jurisdiction to receive federal transfers directly. The federal government insists there is a new nation-to-nation relationship but when they talk about funding formulas to the provinces, it is the status quo — nothing has changed.

Currently there is no mechanism in place for receiving the kinds of transfer payments that address the disparities First Nations face. This includes the continued lack of clean drinking water, emergency management services, social services, housing and infrastructure, with First Nations being treated differently than others in the province being serviced by federal transfer payments.

“If the federal government immediately invested in First Nations we would bring forward tangible outcomes immediately to issues like education, housing, health, and child and families. Canada needs to finally give effect to what nation-to-nation means, and start working with First Nations as the true Treaty partner that we are,” said Grand Chief Arlen Dumas.