Aboriginal Economic Board Demands Conservatives to Focus on Unemployment

Chief Clarence Louie of B.C.’s Osoyoos Indian Band has highlighted that the government should focus on its efforts to provide employment among First Nations if the fortunes of Canada’s native communities are to improve. Chief Louie provided a detailed report to back up his case and mentioned during an interview that “it comes down to that word: jobs” adding that “to deal with the deplorable state of First Nations people in this country, our people need employment.”

Chairman of the National Aboriginal Economic Development Board, Louie, released the new report on the large social and economic gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians, which says that First Nations have made modest gains during the five-year span of 2006 and 2011 but “significant gaps remain” between the two groups. The report underlines that the gap has widened between First Nations members living on-reserve and non-Aboriginals in areas such as employment, reliance on government transfers, and college and university completion rates.

Conclusively, the report referred to the social and economic indicators from the five-year period of the study, including income, employment and education statistics. Therefore, Louie recommended that the government needs to focus more time and effort on building up on-reserve programs. He pointed out that the issue dates back to when the reserve system was created and Aboriginal people were “shoved out of the economy.” He stated that “the colonial approach toward First Nations has always been native people don’t need the best land, the settlers do.”

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