Targets Set To Raise Aboriginals’ Quality Of Life

Monday, November 28, 2005 at 15:27



The prime minister and the premiers have signed a $5.1-billion deal with various Aboriginal organizations in the country aimed at improving the quality of life in Native communities.


The agreement was reached on Friday in Kelowna, BC at the First Ministers Meeting on Aboriginal Issues and sets targets in areas like health, housing, education and economic development.


Those targets include a goal to eliminate the graduation gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal high school students within 10 years, and to narrow the post-secondary gap by half in that same timeframe.


The governments are also pledging to double the number of Aboriginal healthcare professionals within a decade, and to reduce the gap between Natives and non-natives in areas like infant mortality, youth suicide and diabetes by 50 per cent over 10 years.


There has also been some mid-range targets set in all those areas to be reached within five years.


While the various levels of government committed to spend over $1 billion to improve healthcare to Aboriginal people, they weren’t able to come to an agreement regarding the health-related responsibilities of the federal and provincial governments to various Aboriginal groups.


Meanwhile, northern Saskatchewan MP Jeremy Harrison says the Liberal government has failed to act on at least two key issues.


Harrison says he likes a lot of what came out of last week’s First Ministers summit, but he says it’s something that should have happened a long time ago.


He also says the issues of violence against Aboriginal women and outstanding land claims should have been addressed.