OTTAWA, ON – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde said yesterday’s federal budget fails to deliver on investments needed to improve the lives of First Nations, and instead maintains the status quo that leaves First Nations people lagging behind the rest of Canada in every basic indicator of social and economic well-being.

“First Nations people are treated like second class citizens living in third world conditions,” said National Chief Bellegarde.

“First Nations were not meant to be poor in our own homelands.”

Today’s federal budget is one of the weakest for First Nations tabled by this government, setting out some minimal renewals, most at a reduced level of funding.  The National Chief noted that many Canadians are not aware that the federal government has the same responsibilities to deliver essential services to First Nations that Canadians expect from the federal, provincial and municipal governments.

Bellegarde said the budget is a missed opportunity to close the gap in the quality of life between First Nations and other Canadians.

“The cost of First Nations poverty is too high and everyone is paying for it when we should be investing in our shared future,” said National Chief Bellegarde.

“We need significant investments in social and economic development to address the unacceptable gap in living standards between First Nations and Canadians,” he said.

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