Liard First Nation nervous about social assistance cheques

Members of the Liard First Nation are anxiously waiting to see if they'll receive their social assistance cheques tomorrow, two weeks after the First Nation responsibility of the welfare program back to the federal government.

Members of the Liard First Nation are waiting to hear if they'll get their social assistance cheques tomorrow morning.

The First Nation relinquished control over the social assistance program two weeks ago, handing it back to the federal government. But there's been no word from either the department of aboriginal affairs or chief Liard MacMillan as to what happens tomorrow.

"A lot of people are really stressed, worried," says Margaret Stone, who relies on the monthly cheque to feed herself and her two children. "It's affecting a lot of people, affecting elders, people with disabilities, you know? When you start messing with people and start taking food away from them and shelter like that, that's the end of the rope."

Stone is angry that MacMillan turned back the program without consulting the members of the First Nation. Other members of the First Nation say they want the chief and council to hold a meeting, to tell people how they can get their social assistance cheques.

Agnes Chief isn't on social assistance. But she worries about those who do need it. She says chief Liard MacMillan must explain what's going on. "I'd like him to be more compassionate and more empathetic and doggone have a public meeting with the people and explain," she said.

The department of aboriginal affairs had earlier issued a brief statement, saying it will ensure that the community's needs are met, but it has not said how that will happen.

About 100 members of the First Nation receive social assistance.


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