Accountability of aboriginal peoples : Ottawa wants to be reassuring

News 23 January, 2018
  • Photo Boris Proulx

    QMI agency

    Tuesday, 23 January 2018 17:48

    Tuesday, 23 January 2018 17:48

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    OTTAWA – Ottawa ensures that the changes it intends to make to the funding system for aboriginal communities in Canada do not undermine the accountability for the expenditure thereof.

    Rather than give are one-off, the federal government announced in December a new tax policy that should allow a hundred communities in good financial health to qualify for federal subsidies over 10 years. It is not, for the moment, as a plan, whose details and mechanisms will be in place by 2019.

    This reform would also have the effect of reducing the number of forms and reports that must be provided by the indigenous communities at the federal level.

    Some, including the canadian taxpayers Federation, have since raised concerns that it could reduce accountability and transparency of this expenditure, arguing that it is contrary to responsible management of the taxpayers ‘ money.

    In an information session on Tuesday, the minister of aboriginal Services Jane Philpott and his assistant minister, Jean-François Tremblay tried to be reassuring, insisting on the fact that it is not a question of eliminating the accountability for the same. They intend rather to simplify reporting and reduce unnecessary paperwork.

    At the present time, “there is a lot of information [in the reports], but the information is not necessarily on the results. The idea is really to come up with indicators that are more simple, which are much more focused on results and not just reports on the bureaucratic,” said Mr. Tremblay.

    “We don’t talk about no longer make accounts. We talk about better accountability,” she said Ms. Philpott, arguing that at the present time, communities must fill out sometimes more than a hundred reports annually.

    The precise mechanisms for accountability need to be developed in the coming months.

    Destined to disappear

    This proposal for a new funding model is part of the goals of the new ministry of aboriginal Services on which the minister has made the point on Tuesday. His department was created last August, when Justin Trudeau was split into two-that of aboriginal Affairs.

    Ms. Philpott said that his ministry was for the purpose of improving the quality of life of aboriginal peoples in Canada, while promoting their transition to self-determination.

    Thus, “what we want to do, is that this ministry become a fault. This ministry should disappear eventually. Services to aboriginal people should be provided by aboriginal people. This is the goal,” added Mr. Tremblay.

    The minister took advantage of the meeting to revise upwards its commitment to the removal of drinking water advisories on reserves by 2021. She indicated that the priorities of his ministry for the coming years are: health, education, infrastructure, the family and the native communities financing.