APTN National News
OTTAWA–The Native Women’s Association says it will be “denouncing” the Conservative government over its decision to slash 10 per cent from core funding to Aboriginal organizations across the country.
NWAC president Michele Audette says her organization will show the country the government’s true colours.
“I’ll make sure that Canadian society sees what this government does to an organization that is really important,” said Audette. “They know that family violence is an epidemic in our communities, they know that women are being murdered, we are the ones pushing on this every day. I will make sure people know.”
The department of Aboriginal Affairs announced this week it would slash 10 per cent from the core funding to Aboriginal organizations.
The department announced on Tuesday it would be changing the funding formulas for so-called “Aboriginal Representative Organizations” and tribal councils. On Wednesday, Michael Wernick, deputy minister for Aboriginal Affairs, sent letters to band councils, tribal councils the heads of the AROs, which includes NWAC and Assembly of First Nations, outlining the cuts.
The department, however, couldn’t say how much the cuts would save or provide an official to explain the move.
According to Wernick’s letter, on April 1, 2014, core funding for national Aboriginal organizations will be cut by 10 per cent and regional organizations will face the same cuts and be put under a $500,000 core funding cap.
Wernick said the department would also be reducing money available for “proposal-based” projects, which was one of the sources for NWAC’s much-vaunted Sisters in Spirit initiative. Wernick said only proposals in line with the department’s priorities, like education, economic development and infrastructure, will be considered.
“We are ensuring that government funding is directed primarily at the delivery of essential services and programs for Aboriginal peoples,” said Wernick.
Tribal councils will also face funding changes for the first time in 30 years, said Wernick, in the letter. Tribal councils will no longer receive money for “advisory services” to member First Nations. The department will now focus funding for tribal councils that “support increased delivery of Aboriginal Affairs…programs and services to communities.”
Audette said that the 10 per cent cut will take about $67,000 from NWAC’s core budget, which is a major hit for their small organization.
“For them, it’s probably not that much, but for what we do every day … it is going to impact us a lot,” she said.