(Ottawa ON, May 3, 2012) Members of the Land Claims Agreements Coalition today rejected a proposal from the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) to replace negotiated self-government fiscal financing arrangements with a formula financing approach.
To date, few concrete details have been provided on how the proposed Fiscal Harmonization Policy will adhere to the Constitutionally-protected requirements contained in existing modern treaties. What is clear, however, is that the policy’s design and purpose are narrowly focused on addressing administrative challenges expressed by the Government of Canada, not on the capacity requirements of Aboriginal signatories.
“Strong governance institutions are integral to the long-term stability and vitality of Aboriginal communities,” said Mitchell Stevens, co-chair of the Coalition. “Funding arrangements must be grounded in our treaties; the real costs of governing, and the social, economic and cultural needs of Aboriginal peoples. They are not to be based on what is merely convenient for federal government administration.”
All parties agree that the fiscal renewal process for modern treaty organizations is not working. Multiple-year delays, lack of negotiating mandates by federal negotiators and chronic underfunding for Aboriginal governments are just a few of the objections that modern treaty signatories have to the current process. But these problems can be fixed by the Government of Canada taking its existing obligations seriously.
Modern treaties – also known as comprehensive land claims agreements- are Constitutionally-protected agreements between Aboriginal signatories, the Federal government, and in some cases territorial and provincial governments. Modern treaties address close to half of Canada’s lands, waters and resources, and when fully implemented benefit all Canadians.
For more information:
Patti Black, Coordinator
Land Claims Agreements Coalition