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Canada agrees to emphasize First Nations in Budget 2013

Thursday February 14, 2013

All parties in the Canadian parliament have agreed to make the economic outcomes of First Nations, Inuit and Metis people a central focus of Budget 2013.

An opposition motion moved by the NDP critic for Aboriginal Affairs was passed Feb. 5 with all party support.

The motion stated “that the House, recognizing the broad-based demand for action, call on the government to make the improvement of economic outcomes of First Nations, Inuit and Métis a central focus of Budget 2013, and to commit to action on treaty implementation and full and meaningful consultation on legislation that affects the rights of Aboriginal Canadians, as required by domestic and international law.”

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo said the parliamentary support is welcome for First Nations, as bands across the country continue to seek “transformative” change in the relationship with Canada and Canadians.

“First Nations have clearly demonstrated that the government of Canada cannot continue to make decisions and pass legislation without full and meaningful consultation regarding its impact on Treaties and Aboriginal rights,” Atleo said in a press release. “This approach only furthers unilateralism that contributes to the broken system we must swiftly act now to move away from.”

Atleo added that in his view the government’s motion affirms calls to improve the relationship between First Nations and Canada.

“I urge the government of Canada to provide tangible investments and movement on its commitments to First Nations in Budget 2013,” Atleo said.

Canada’s finance minister Jim Flaherty has gone on record saying that Budget 2013 will avoid “risky spending” and keep taxes low.

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