APTN National News
ENOCH, Alta.—An NDP government would invest $1.8 billion new dollars for First Nations education and ensure all federal government decision respect treaty rights, inherent rights and the principles in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), the party’s leader Thomas Mulcair said Wednesday.
Mulcair unveiled his party’s Indigenous issues platform at the River Cree Resort in Enoch, Alta., during an Assembly of First Nations open forum on First Nation issues.
The NDP is the only party with a full platform on promises for Indigenous communities and people.
The party released its northern platform Tuesday which promises to add 50 communities to the Nutrition North program, which aims to reduce the cost of health foods in Northern communities. The party is putting $32 million toward the program.
The AFN invited all party leaders to the forum, but only Mulcair showed up. The Liberals sent their Aboriginal affairs critic Carolyn Bennett.
The NDP, which is currently trailing behind the Conservatives and Liberals in recent polls, said it would invest $1.8 billion into First Nations education over the next four years and $8.4 billion over the eight years as a result of an annual escalator.
An NDP government would create a cabinet committee, chaired by the prime minister, to focus specifically on First Nation issues to ensure all government decision respect treaty rights, inherent rights and UNDRIP principles.
The party re-announced its commitment to hold a public inquiry into the high number of murdered and missing Indigenous women within its first 100 days in power.
The NDP is putting $50 million toward holding the inquiry.
The NDP is promising $68 million to revitalize Indigenous languages and $8 million for the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation which will hold Indian residential school documents and survivor testimonies gathered by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
The party is promising to remove the two per cent funding cap on social transfers to First Nations along with investing $375 million in new dollars targeting housing, schools and clean water over four years. The NDP is also aiming to strike a housing agreement with First Nations that could see it draw from the $2.7 billion fund the party would create for affordable housing.
Infrastructure on reserves could also see a $96 million in funding over four years and $800 million over 20 years.
The NDP would put $5 million a year for a suicide prevention strategy as part of a $100 million mental health innovation fund for children and youth. It will also put $20 million toward a national diabetes strategy.