CONSERVATIVES CAN’T IGNORE CANADA’S ABORIGINAL PEOPLE

New Democrats today blasted the Conservative government for what they say is a lack of attention being shown to the quality of life of Canada’s indigenous peoples. The NDP is calling on the federal government to devote more resources to the study and improvement of aboriginal health.

“These recent studies show the critical need for action on aboriginal health issues, particularly in Arctic communities,” said Linda Duncan the New Democrat Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development critic. “The Harper government may argue it shares responsibility for health with the provinces but the federal government is 100% responsible for aboriginal health. These new statistics are completely unacceptable in a developed country such as Canada.”

Duncan was reacting to recent studies that show an increasing disparity between the health of aboriginal people and those of the rest of Canada. She noted that although Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq has granted $21 million to study health equity, none of that money has been allocated to examine and most importantly, address Aboriginal health.

Dennis Bevington, the Member of Parliament for Western Arctic, echoed Duncan’s concerns, noting that Stephen Harper has his priorities backwards particularly when dealing with Inuit in the far north.

"Arctic sovereignty, which Conservatives claim is important to them, becomes meaningless if Canada’s Northern indigenous communities are being put at risk," said Bevington. “The Conservatives must not turn a blind eye to these issues. Immediate action is required to avoid a health crisis in Canada’s North.”