Ontario government press release ...
Budget 2007 - Aboriginal Highlights
The government is working on initiatives to close the socioeconomic gap between Aboriginal Peoples and other Ontarians.
- In June 2006, the government released draft guidelines for ministries on consultation with Aboriginal Peoples related to rights and treaty. This Budget includes $7 million to support the government’s capacity to engage in productive consultations with Aboriginal Peoples.
- The government launched the Aboriginal Education Strategy, investing $13 million to improve achievement by First Nations, Inuit and Métis students.
- The government is allocating $80 million to housing for Aboriginal Peoples living off reserve; see Section A: Expanding Opportunities for Children and Families.
- The Province is investing $2 million to support the implementation of “Keeping the Land, a Land Use Strategy” for the Whitefeather Forest in Ontario’s Far North, in collaboration with the Pikangikum community. Keeping the Land has been created in good faith between Pikangikum First Nation and the Government of Ontario. Rooted in mutual respect for the aspirations of both partners, this strategy provides guidance for future land use activities in the Whitefeather Forest and adjacent areas.
The First Nation community of Attawapiskat will benefit from the construction of Ontario’s first diamond mine and from the creation of 375 full-time jobs once the facility begins operations in the spring of 2008.
Section A: Expanding Opportunities for Children and Families
New Housing Initiatives
With the $392 million federal Affordable Housing Trust and Off-Reserve Aboriginal Housing Trust, the Ontario Government proposes to launch three new housing initiatives to assist low-income families in Ontario. The first will immediately provide $127 million to municipalities for new affordable housing or to rehabilitate existing housing.
To help low-income working families with children pay rent, the government’s second new initiative would create a new provincial housing allowance program that would provide up to $100 per month, for a maximum of five years, to eligible families.
This five-year, $185 million program would begin in January 2008 and create more than 27,000 new housing allowances for low-income working families. This would bring the total number of new housing allowances to 35,000.
Full details, including information about the application process, will be provided by the Ontario Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing later this spring.
The third new housing initiative would provide $80 million in funding for up to 1,100 off-reserve housing units for aboriginal families that the government would allocate in partnership with aboriginal communities. This would enable Aboriginal Peoples to participate in the determination of how affordable housing is delivered in their communities, building a sustainable future and better quality of life.
Canoe.ca article ...
Native rhetoric blasted - Minister 'fearful' of violence
By JORGE BARRERA, NATIONAL BUREAU
Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice says First Nations leaders will be responsible for the consequences if they continue their heated rhetoric about a coming summer of "barricades, blockades and balaclavas."
Many First Nations leaders across the country reacted with outrage to the federal budget, which they say ignored the misery in many of their communities. They warned of impending confrontations if government does not start taking them seriously.
'ON THEIR HEADS'
"I think people should be responsible in their public comments. I don't agree with or condone people who are calling for those kinds of things because I am fearful that somebody will get hurt," said Prentice. "If that happens, it will be on the heads of people who are calling for that kind of conduct."
Members of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte community planned last night to reclaim a quarry 20 km east of Belleville that sits on land they say the federal government has admitted was stolen.
The Assembly of First Nations has also called for a national day of action June 29 that is expected to shut down some rail lines, highways and ports across the country.
Nunavut Liberal MP Nancy Karetak-Lindell, an Inuit, said it's the Conservative government triggering the unrest. She said Prentice "doesn't respect" aboriginal people.
'HE DOES NOT LISTEN'
"I don't think he actually cares about them. He does not listen to the people," said Lindell, usually a soft-spoken MP. "What I see from this government is a 1960s style of doing things for us again, without input."
The increased strife overshadowed what should have been a good news day for the Conservatives, who unveiled a progress report on First Nations drinking water. The government cut the number of "high-risk" water systems to 97 from 193 over the past year, said the report. Prentice, however, could not guarantee all on-reserve Natives would have clean water by next year.