Programs cut by up to 100%

EDMONTON – Linda Duncan, Member of Parliament for Edmonton – Strathcona and New Democrat Critic for Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development has expressed outrage at the Harper government decision to strike yet another low blow to long standing health programs for First Nations, Métis and Inuit.

All funds are immediately cut to the Health Department of the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) who for 30 years have provided targeted health program for Aboriginal women. Also cut are health programs led by Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada, and by the Assembly of First Nations and the Inuit Tapirisat.

These cuts are announced just days after withdrawal of all federal support to the National Aboriginal Health Organization and the First Nations Statistical institute. These organizations were disbanded despite the best efforts by First Nation, Metis and Inuit leadership to work cooperatively to seek viable solutions to continue the important work.

According to Duncan, “In the same breath that the government committed to pursuing partnerships with Aboriginal peoples towards a more respectful relationship, they cut support to the very organizations who could deliver the programs to address critical health needs. The government has killed the very organizations that could have provided the expertise and coordination capacity to engage Aboriginal peoples in consultations on the next Health Accord.”

“Aboriginal communities will be forced to add to the demands on already strained budgets – education, housing, safe drinking water – addressing critical health issues. Aboriginal peoples face lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality rates, a six fold higher suicide rate, higher rates of diabetes and heart attack, 16 times higher rate of Tuberculosis than other Canadians.”

Duncan is calling on the government to reverse these cuts on the backsides of our most vulnerable communities.