More talks, instead of action, from the federal government 'is beyond sickening, it's neglectful,' critic says

Posted
December 16, 2016
Article Source
National Post

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and a trio of indigenous leaders Thursday called for patience and more time as they committed themselves to more negotiations and more study to improve the lives of Canada’s indigenous peoples.

Trudeau and leaders from the Assembly of First Nations, Inuit Taparit Kanatami and the Metis National Council met on Parliament Hill Thursday morning where they agreed that Trudeau and his ministers would meet regularly over the coming years with members of each organization.

Trudeau also announced $10 million for the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba, a research group set up to track the implementation of the recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

But many other indigenous leaders as well as political opponents of the federal Liberals are becoming impatient and frustrated at the continued tweaking of processes and a perceived lack of concrete action that could improve the lives of indigenous Canadians.

"This announcement is not an act of reconciliation," said Pam Palmater, the chair of the indigenous governance program at Ryerson University in Toronto and one of the leading critics of not only the federal government but also of the Assembly of First Nations. "This is the same old delay tactic used by previous governments to make it look like they are doing something when faced with growing criticism that they are not doing enough."

Perry Bellegarde, the national chief of the AFN, cautioned that "it was not realistic" to think the gap in quality-of-life standards between indigenous Canadians and non-indigenous Canadians was going to close in Trudeau's first year on the job.

Both he and Trudeau pointed to a handful of projects that have improved conditions in indigenous communities that got started over the last year.

"We know there's a strategy and plan moving forward. To close this gap is not going to happen in 12 months. Long-term sustainable investments — that's the trick. That's the thing," Bellegarde said.

Read more: More talks, instead of action, from the federal government 'is beyond sickening, it's neglectful,' critic says