Auditor chastizes Ottawa for lack of progress
The federal government has not done enough to improve the lives of Canada's aboriginal people, says the country's auditor general.
In a report released Tuesday, Sheila Fraser says the government has only acted on some of the 37 recommendations she made several years ago regarding the management of aboriginal programs.
Although progress has been made in some areas, Fraser says little has been done to eliminate serious problems, such as house mould in aboriginal homes.
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The grand chief of the Council of Yukon First Nations is spearheading a strategy to get Ottawa to live up to its commitments.
Andy Carvill says the auditor general's report highlights many of the same concerns they have with the federal government.
"We're currently working on a lobbying strategy to go down to Ottawa with a group of chiefs and look at lobbying the federal government and letting them know, in the north, we are a government, " says Carvill.
"We have entered into agreements with Government of Canada, therefore we have to start putting life into those [land claim] agreements."
Teslin Tlingit Chief Eric Morris says it seems Ottawa wants to cut ties with First Nations which have settled land claim agreements.
She says Ottawa has also failed to examine the inappropriate use of prescription drugs and why aboriginal people die after taking certain medications.
Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice was quick to defend his government in the House of Commons on Tuesday.
"In the past 100 days, this government has done more for aboriginal Canadians than the Liberals did in 13 years," says Prentice.
But Nunavut MP Nancy Karetak-Lindell, who belonged to the former Liberal government, says work was being done to help aboriginal people.
"A lot of the things that we do as a government – you are not going to see the results for years, years and years," says Karetak-Lindell.
"So if there are any benefits to be seen next year, it's really because of the consistent work that our past federal government has done."
Fraser's report says part of the problem is poor co-ordination of government efforts. Moving ahead with land claims and economic development will help aboriginal people take control of their lives.