CUPE National President Paul Moist praised the western premiers and territorial leaders for pledging to do more to improve the lives of aboriginal people. His response to a CBC news item also criticized the Harper government for refusing to honour the Kelowna Accord.
I am glad to see that Canada’s western Premiers, as well as those from the territories, are setting aside party differences and making justice for Canada’s Aboriginal peoples a priority. This is yet another example of provincial governments showing leadership and understanding that our Federal government lacks.
In refusing honour the Kelowna Accord – a funding commitment intended to close the standard of living gap between our Aborginal population and the rest of Canada – Stephen Harper is making his priorities clear. He is not concerned that one in four Aboriginal children live in poverty, that close to 100 Aboriginal communities must boil their water before they can drink it, or that overcrowding in inadequate housing has lead to a tuberculosis rate in the Aboriginal community that is nearly 10 times what it is in the rest of Canada.
Our western Premiers recognize this crisis. Why does our Prime Minister not?
I hope that all provincial governments continue to pressure our federal government on this issue, and join forces this August when they all meet at the Council of the Federation’s summer meeting in Moncton.