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March 7th, 2024

NDP calls on Liberals to reverse cuts to Indigenous services in the upcoming federal budget

OTTAWA – On Thursday, NDP critic for Indigenous Services Lori Idlout (Nunavut) and deputy critic for Indigenous Services Niki Ashton (Churchill—Keewatinook Aski) called on the Liberals to reverse the $7.6 billion in cuts to essential programs Indigenous peoples rely on in the next federal budget on April 16th. While many of those programs will sunset, the Liberals have shown no signs or willingness to extend them.

The NDP says this must change.

“The Liberals continue to underfund Inuit, First Nations and Métis peoples,” said Idlout. “Indigenous peoples have been neglected by Liberals and Conservatives over the last decades—and they’re paying the price until this day with a housing crisis, lack of health care services and cuts will make matters worse. The Liberals must reverse these harmful cuts in the next federal budget.”

In their 2023-2024 Departmental plan, the department of Indigenous Services estimated $7.6 billion in cuts by 2025-2026 as programs sunset and are not renewed. This includes programs like Jordan’s Principle, dealing with the harmful and destructive legacy of the Residential School System and funding for mental health and wellness programs. Meanwhile, there’s a $349.2 billion infrastructure gap facing First Nations the Liberals promised to close by 2030 but are nowhere near being on track.

“The Liberals’ two-faced approach towards Indigenous peoples is on display yet again—on the one hand, they talk a good talk on reconciliation while on the other they cut desperately needed funding for Indigenous communities,” said Ashton. “Many communities in my riding are living in extreme poverty and can’t afford these Liberal cuts. When will the government stop forcing Indigenous communities to bear the brunt of Liberal failure?

“And make no mistake, Pierre Poilievre’s cut-and-gut Conservatives won’t make things better. When they were in power, the Conservatives’ cuts in services had catastrophic impacts on Indigenous peoples. New Democrats will continue to use our power to fight for Indigenous communities.”