The federal government’s new proposed budget is being praised for committing money to a number of crucial areas, while at the same time, criticized for excluding key populations.
Released Monday, the Liberals new economic spending plan is its most ambitious to date with over $100 billion in new expenditures.
Although Budget 2021 has some ground breaking new initiatives like a $30 billion affordable federal childcare plan, it has opposition parties complaining it is unnecessarily overspending.
Some Indigenous leaders are also critical saying the new budget is disregarding important communities.
Jocelyn Formsma is the executive director of the National Association of Friendship Centers.
She says while there is a lot being planned for Indigenous communities, Indigenous people off-reserve are being over looked.
“We’re happy for every support that our family members and our kin get,” Formsma told APTN News. “But just making sure that we’re not inadvertently creating a larger gap for Indigenous people living in urban settings.”
Formsma says an individual’s residency and physical geography should not prevent them from being able to access supports and services that would otherwise be available to them.
She wants to ensure urban Indigenous have every opportunity that is available to both mainstream Canadians as well as Inuit, Mètis and First Nations people on reserve.
Lorraine Whitman, president of the Native Woman’s Association of Canada also has concerns, among other things, for Indigenous women in urban locations.
Like everyone, Whitman sees a lot of good things in the budget but is concerned with transparency and how promised funds will be administered.
“Are they doing gender based analysis and what are the barriers and limitations that could be presented to the Indigenous women living off reserve?” Whitman said.
The new budget pledges a whopping $18 Billion for Indigenous spending going forward.
Manitoba Mètis Federation President David Chartrand applauds the new initiative and gives the Liberal proposed budget an “A+” grade.
He admits it’s not perfect but is pleased to see Mètis, who have long gone overlooked, getting the recognition they deserve.
“It’s something we’re very proud of,” Chartrand says. “It’s taken us 200 years to truly be treated in such respect and it’s a long journey we’ve been on. For us it’s really big to be referenced in that fashion.”
Chartrand met with Finance and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland the day before the budget was presented and conveyed his gratitude for the extensive inclusion for Metis wellbeing and says it is a credit to the federal government’s commitment to the Nation to Nation relationship.