Cuts to Aboriginal political organizations will re-focus priorities

Blog, Aboriginal Futures, Joseph Quesnel

Aboriginal Affairs has announced it will be changing the way it funds Aboriginal political organizations, which includes a reduction in project funding in the 2013-2014 fiscal year.

The Assembly of First Nations (AFN), for example, will see its project funding reduced by 30 per cent.

The AFN and other organizations are already expressing frustration with the cuts. AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo said they undermine the “potential for progress.”

The government, has said the cuts will allow Aboriginal organizations to focus on projects with clear results and will help avoid duplication.

As stated in this past Frontier Centre column, Aboriginal political organizations do not provide front line services in First Nations communities. They are essentially lobby groups, and First Nations leadership-driven ones at that.

Thus, these cuts should cause these organizations to re-think their project priorities.

Perhaps Aboriginal Affairs could channel those dollars into new education and economic development initiatives that will greatly benefit the grassroots.

There is no evidence that these cuts will undermine progress. That is more about good will and compromise than project dollar amounts.