The indigenous population of Canada is comprised of First Nations, Inuit and Metis. It is quite diversified and makes up about 5% of Canada’s total population. There are almost 600 First Nations communities living in various parts of Canada and more half of them do not live on reserves. Since the inception of confederation, many injustices have been committed by the Canadian government towards indigenous people.
There is a great disparity in the socioeconomic status of Indigenous communities across Canada. Most of the Indigenous communities are living under the conditions of poverty than the average Canadian population. These communities struggle with serious social problems such as substance abuse, crimes, domestic violence, and mental health issues. They have been deprived of many necessities such as clean water. In addition, there are other major issues including treaty negotiations, housing, and property rights on reserves.
The lack of real private property on reserves is one of the important factors responsible for poverty, issues of housing leading of failure of economic development. The paternalistic Indian Act keeps indigenous peoples in a state of dependency and allows the federal government to control many aspects of their lives.
Although federal government spends more than $20 billion a year on indigenous programs, there is not much improvement in the living conditions of the indigenous communities due to dysfunctional bureaucratic process and lack of participation of effective Indigenous voices. A Centrist government will address these issues by taking into account the needs of the indigenous population.
- A Centrist government will work to replace the Indian Act with a new legal framework that guarantees equal rights to indigenous people as Canadians.
- A Centrist government will work to establish the individual property rights on reserves. This will empower its residents, providing them increased control over their lives.
- A Centrist government will respect our treaties and approve natural resources and infrastructure projects only after full consultations with all affected indigenous communities and will work in partnership with them to ensure they can benefit from these economic opportunities.
- A Centrist government will increase the federal spending to improve the programs dedicated to benefit the indigenous communities
- A Centrist government will ensure that indigenous communities fully participate in management of the services they receive in partnership with the federal government of Canada.