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Otipemisiwak Métis Government responds to Budget 2024

Otipemisiwak Métis Government responds to Budget 2024

Canada NewsWire

EDMONTON, AB, April 16, 2024 /CNW/ - With the largest and most successful Indigenous-owned housing corporation in the country, the Otipemisiwak Métis Government has been working with Canada since 1982 to address the housing needs of Métis Albertans. Unfortunately, the needs continue to far outweigh supply. Today's Budget includes many new housing initiatives that will continue to aid in our joint efforts, and the Otipemisiwak Métis Government looks forward to continuing to work with Canada to address the housing needs of our citizens.

We were also pleased to see Budget 2024 include important investments in economic development through the recapitalization of the Métis Capital Corporations. Important gaps remain, however, in distinctions-based funding in critical areas such as health, justice and emergency management.

Métis Albertans already know that wildfires will be a bigger problem this year given the current conditions in Alberta. As more Métis Albertans come to the Otipemisiwak Métis Government for support, we need additional capacity to ensure we can address their needs. Alberta Métis citizens are disproportionately affected by the increasing frequency and severity of climate emergencies, and currently do not have access to any federal funding to mitigate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergencies. It is disappointing that this was not provided for in Budget 2024.

Additionally, our ability to address the health and wellness needs of our Métis citizens continues to be ignored. And while the federal government committed to an Indigenous Justice Strategy and passed the United Nations Declaration Act, without dollars to back these up in this Budget the effort falls flat. The justice system remains inequitable for Métis people.

An investment into the Otipemisiwak Métis Government is an investment in Alberta and Canada. Addressing socio-economic disparities will reduce the strains on healthcare, policing, and justice, and in turn reduce costs associated with those services.

"The Otipemisiwak Métis Government needs stable and predictable funding to be able to deliver the programs and services our citizens need," said President Andrea Sandmaier. "While we welcome the investments in housing and economic development within this budget, this Budget does not reflect the promises made by this government towards reconciliation. The swift passing of Bill C-53, along with funding for our programs and services would be reconciliation in action."

The Otipemisiwak Métis Government remains optimistic about the potential for meaningful collaboration with the Government of Canada, including self-determining, long-term, sustainable, and distinctions-based funding investments that empower our Métis Government to meet the needs of our citizens. And we look forward to the passage of our self-government implementation legislation, Bill C-53.

SOURCE Métis Nation of Alberta

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