Natives and Inuit are worried about being hurt in the Canadian government’s reform of the country’s social-safety net, reports Windspeaker.
The Assembly of First Nations and the Native Women’s Association of Canada say they haven’t been given enough time or money to consult their members. The AFN was given only $50,000, which National Chief Ovide Mercredi calls “totally reprehensible.”
Janis Walker, recently elected as president of the Native Women’s Association, said women will be hard hit by the social reforms, which means it’s important they are heard.
The reforms will make sweeping changes to Canada’s social policies, touching everything from welfare, unemployment insurance, social services and job creation. The reforms are designed to reduce the deficit.
Many of the proposed reforms will hit Natives especially hard. One idea is to make still more reductions in UI payments. This would especially hurt Natives who have an unemployment rate twice the Canadian average.
The Inuit Tapirisat of Canada is also worried that Ottawa may try to wiggle its way out of its financial obligations to the Inuit. The Inuit want the government to do much more to help protect the traditional Inuit economy of harvesting wildlife.