PROGRAM TO COMBAT POVERTY ON FIRST NATIONS CUT IN HALF: HUGHES

Ottawa – Cost cutting measures are creating big holes in First Nation Budgets for programs and services that combat poverty, says Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing MP, Carol Hughes.

Hughes caught the government flat-footed with her question about the 50% cut in the child benefit reinvestment program for First Nations in Ontario, yesterday.

“Recently First Nations in Ontario learned that the national child benefit reinvestment program has been slashed by 50%,” said Hughes. “This benefit helps support child care initiatives and food banks, and was used to combat poverty.”

Hughes notes the government’s legislative agenda commits First Nations to spend precious resources in specific areas making it harder to redirect funds to programs like child care which helps more parents remain employed.

“Now communities are scrambling to make up the shortfall, programs are at risk, and the job prospects of First Nation parents across Ontario are looking worse,” said Hughes.  “Why are Conservatives cutting this crucial funding? And, what is their plan to help First Nations communities with the shortfall?”

The question caught the government off-guard with the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister in Aboriginal Affairs admitting no knowledge of the cut and stating he would have to look into it.