Reconciliation and Guelph
May 30, 2019
Since we formed government, the Liberal government has fundamentally transformed the relationship between Canada and First Nations, Inuit and Métis. We still have a lot of work to do but we have come a long way since 2015.
PArt of this is shown by $21.4 billion of new funding for Indigenous peoples – the most ever by any government in Canadian history. The 2019 Budget represents the next step in the ongoing path towards reconciliation and a better future for Indigenous peoples, Northerners and all Canadians. The government has dedicated $4.5 billion over the next 5 years in new funding towards Indigenous peoples. This investment represents the largest single line item in this year's budget and confirms the governments commitment towards Indigenous peoples.
86 long-term drinking water advisories have been lifted on reserve, with 57 still to go. We’re on track to eliminate all of them by March 2021 – just as we said we would – so that every community has access to safe, clean drinking water.
We also prevented 126 short-term drinking water advisories from becoming long-term advisories by acting quickly and working with communities. We finally started funding Indigenous children’s education at the same level as non-Indigenous children- that’s 107,000 First Nations kids on-reserve. Additionally, we’re funding language and cultural programs, full-time kindergarten and special education.
The Liberal government is putting control of Indigenous child and family services back where it belongs – in the hands of each community. We worked with Indigenous groups to develop this new framework. During our first term, we approved 240,000 requests under Jordan’s Principle for health, social, and educational services for First Nations children. Before 2015, that number was zero.
To help Inuit children to get better health, social and educational supports, we created and funded the new Inuit-specific Child First Initiative. 16,000 housing units are either being built or being renovated on-reserve. At the same time, we’re developing specific housing strategies for First Nations, Inuit, and Metis.
We are building on the success of Metis small and medium-sized businesses by giving increased support to the Metis Capital Corporations. In fact, we’re supporting Indigenous economic development across the board.
The Liberal government has also helped create 52 new Mental Wellness Teams serving 344 First Nations communities and support for the Inuit-led National Inuit Suicide Prevention Strategy. This isn’t a one-off. In fact, these investments in Indigenous communities will continue to grow to more than $17 billion in 2021-22 – an increase of nearly 50% from 2015-2016, when we formed government.
Reconciliation will not happen overnight. But we are focused on it. We are committed to it. And, we will press on, because this is too important. We know that when Indigenous peoples can succeed, Canada will succeed.