The Liberal government tabled its second federal budget on March 22. This Bulletin provides an initial assessment and analysis as well as a brief overview of the budget items of interest to First Nations.
The budget allocates $3.4 billion for Indigenous peoples priorities over five years. This budget makes additional investments to help close the socio-economic gap for First Nations, on top of the $8.4 billion in Budget 2016 over five years. However, the key issue is that these investments must lead to real change on the ground in the very near future. First Nations have worked hard to secure key investments in the last two budgets. We know our families cannot wait. Change and results must happen faster and that means the system must move more quickly and efficiently. We must see continued investments to close the gap. We must ensure First Nations enjoy at least the same quality of life as other Canadians and we are fully exercising our rights. First Nations can help this government deliver results because we know better than anyone the needs and priorities for our peoples. We can work together to deliver those results, and we have to move now.
This budget continues key investments and support for First Nations in a number of areas including housing and infrastructure, education and training, policing, and health. The budget references the Prime Minister’s commitment from the AFN 2016 Special Chiefs Assembly to co-develop an Indigenous Languages Act, and this budget commits significantly needed resources to enhance, support and archive Indigenous languages. These new investments are critical because language is directly connected to the health of our children and the health of our nations. We are the youngest and fastest growing population, representing tremendous opportunity and potential in a society that is aging. Investments in our people are investments in our shared future.
We are attaching a summary of the investments and announcements, and also noting areas that require further analysis. We will continue to keep you informed of developments across all these areas.