Indian Affairs reviewing controversial loan program

A controversial Indian Affairs economic development program accused of knee-capping Aboriginal banks is being reviewed by a Quebec consultant, Indian Affairs Minister John Duncan said.

APTN National News
OTTAWA
–A controversial Indian Affairs economic development program accused of knee-capping Aboriginal banks is being reviewed by a Quebec consultant, Indian Affairs Minister John Duncan said.

The news comes on the heels of an announcement by a Manitoba credit union that it was pulling out of the $15.5 million loan-loss reserve pilot program because it just wasn’t working.

Duncan said Wednesday during question period that the loan guarantee program for on-reserve businesses was under review, but he also defended his department’s decision to shut-out Aboriginal lending banks, known as Aboriginal Financial Institutions (AFIs).

“The loan loss reserve pilot program was created to address to address a gap in larger-scale commercial lending. This was an area in which (AFIs) were generally not in,” said Duncan, in a response to a question from NDP Aboriginal affairs critic Jean Crowder.

Duncan said that the preliminary results of the review would be used in the “renewal” of the program.

Michelle Yao, a spokeswoman for Duncan, said Thursday morning that management consulting firm Auguste Solutions and Associates Inc., based in Chelsea, Que., was reviewing the program.

An Indian Affairs department spokeswoman said the consulting firm was also reviewing another program that deals with major resources and energy development.

Manitoba-based Assiniboine Credit Union president Al Morin told APTN National News that the loan-loss reserve program was outdated and ineffectual. Morin said part of the program’s problem was the exclusion of AFIs, which have decades of experience giving loans to on-reserve businesses.

Alan Park, Chief Executive Officer of TWCC, has said the department was putting Aboriginal lenders in jeopardy by giving mainstream lenders a “golden-brick road” into the on-reserve lending sector through the program.

TWCC has also launched a federal court challenge against the department over the program arguing Indian Affairs did not consult before picking seven mainstream banks and credit unions to participate in the program.

Online Producer / Ottawa

Before moving to become the APTN News social media producer, Mark was the executive producer for the news in eastern Canada. Before starting with APTN in 2009, Mark worked at CBC Radio and Television in Newfoundland and Labrador and Ottawa.

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1 thought on “Indian Affairs reviewing controversial loan program

  1. Debt is not the answer. I’m sympathetic for those First Nations suffering from poverty and lack of infrastructure, but debt is not the answer. Debt is captivity.nnCanada’s economy is the envy of the world right now, but the problem lies to the south. Take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Think outside the box for a minute.nnThe U.S. is in extreme trouble with its economy. It is printing up $600 BILLION dollars to keep itself from falling into the deepest Depression the world has ever seen (you think it’s bad now? You ain’t seen anything yet). And they printed that up after printing up $300 Billion or so earlier. And then their leaders say “Oh, look, the economy is recovering.” But it’s not. It’s recovering for the rich. The rich are getting richer while the poor are getting their faces grinded.nnCanadau2019s economy is simply not strong enough to stand apart from the U.S., so if the U.S. goes down (which it is, itu2019s just that everyone is in denial u2013 just like when no one believed the Titanic could sink) Canada is going down with them.nnWhen the Canadian economy is dragged down by the U.S. economy, then interest rates will rise along with unemployment. Those debts that First Nations take upon themselves today will become a major burden for them when debt payments skyrocket and become unmanageable. Today itu2019s easy for those First Nations to get into debt, but tomorrow itu2019ll be impossible for them to get out of debt. Then itu2019s captivity and oppression all over again.nnI may be ridiculed for saying this, but Iu2019d rather starve and suffer today than go back to the days my parents lived in. My parentsu2019 generation went through so much oppression and captivity, and debt is only going to drive us back there. If my Nation (which is wealthy today, but is beginning to spend stupid) should ever even just mention going into debt, I will do everything within my power to prevent it.nnFirst Nations cannot expect to depend on the Canadian government for much longer. Take what money we can get today, because tomorrow there may be nothing. It may come to the point when they come knocking on our doors (and maybe we’ll find that’s an understatement, when have they ever been so polite?) for what little we have to spare. There is so much to be said.nnJust remember, debt is captivity, whether in your personal life or on a First Nations level. A great huge storm is on the way, and maybe some of you have seen it in your dreams like I have.n

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