Liberals, NDP Pan Aboriginal Budget Items

Thursday, March 19, 2009 at 14:34



Yesterday’s provincial budget has no plan on how to make life better for Aboriginal people, according to Saskatchewan Liberal Leader Ryan Bater.


Bater notes the budget does include $5.9 million for an Aboriginal Workforce Development Fund and $250,000 for a First Nations health and well-being plan and Métis relationship table.


But Bater says those initiatives are not part of a coherent plan.


Bater says the problem is that money for Aboriginal people seems to be thrown in as an afterthought.


Instead, he says programs to help the Aboriginal population should be a central part of the budget.


Meanwhile, a northern Saskatchewan politician says the provincial government has effectively gotten rid of Northern Affairs with yesterday’s budget.


Athabasca NDP MLA Buckley Belanger says the former department was greatly affected by cuts announced yesterday, adding it’s been essentially “done away with”.


Belanger is also disappointed northern road projects the NDP announced during its time in office appear to have been shelved.


Meanwhile, Belanger says any gains northern municipalities may get with the new Municipal Operating Grants program will be “miniscule”, because the $1.5 million in extra funds will be shared by 45 communities.


The new program will see municipalities get a share of the provincial sales tax, replacing the old revenue-sharing formula.