Biblitz delivers advise

ASK Biblitz about Aboriginal Funding in Canada.

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How much does Canada spend on aboriginals each year? How effective is the spending?

Biblitz replies:

Let's start with how many people are contained in the demographic described by the term, aboriginal:

Dept. of Indian and Northern Affairs and Canadian Polar Commission:

A major factor in Canada's changing demographic landscape is the growing Aboriginal population, which is young and increasing twice as fast as the Canadian population overall. (emphasis added) (From Indian and Northern Affairs Canada and Canadian Polar Commission Performance Report/For the period ending March 31, 2009/ESTIMATES, p. 11)

Assembly of First Nations:

The on-reserve Status Indian population is young, with a median age of 22, compared with a median age of 36 for all Canadians. Over 50 percent of the on-reserve population is under 23 years old. The on-reserve Status Indian population is growing at a rate of 2.3 percent per year, nearly three times the overall Canadian rate. It is expected to increase by 49 percent between 2005 and 2021, compared with 11 percent for the Canadian population as a whole. (emphasis added) (From First Nations Population Fact Sheet, Assembly of First Nations, accessed online Feb. 8/10)

Statistics Canada:

'... What does this make me? I see! I'll be the .... '

Aboriginal identity 1,172,790 (The derived Aboriginal identity concept refers to those persons who reported identifying with at least one Aboriginal group, that is, North American Indian, Metis or Inuit, and/or those who reported being a Treaty Indian or a Registered Indian, as defined by the Indian Act of Canada, and/or those who reported they were members of an Indian band or First Nation.) (From the typical convoluted, Kafka-esque government report entitled, Aboriginal Peoples Technical Report, 2006 Census, Second Edition, accessed online March 2/10)

Actual beneficiaries number fewer than 1.2 million, a tiny fraction of Canada's population of 34 million.

That's right! Yet in spite of this see the boggling array of programs, subsidies and the legions of bureaucrats, mostly lawyers, no doubt, who manage them!

Click on the Indian and Northern Affairs Canada - Program Activity Architecture gif separating grift confusingly into five sections: The Government, The People, The Land, The Economy and now something quite new to Biblitz called The Office of the Federal Interlocutor.


INAC is one of the 34 federal government departments responsible for meeting the Government of Canada's obligations and commitments to First Nations, Inuit and Metis, and for fulfilling the federal government's constitutional responsibilities in the North. INAC's responsibilities are largely determined by numerous statutes, negotiated agreements and relevant legal decisions. Most of the Department's programs - representing a majority of its spending - are delivered through partnerships with Aboriginal communities and federal-provincial or federal-territorial agreements. INAC also works with urban Aboriginal people, Metis and non-Status Indians (many of whom live in rural areas) through the Office of the Federal Interlocutor. INAC's mandate and wide-ranging responsibilities are shaped by centuries of history, and unique demographic and geographic challenges. (From Indian and Northern Affairs Canada and Canadian Polar Commission Performance Report/For the period ending March 31, 2009/ESTIMATES, p. 3)

Check out the bazillions INAC alone spent on behalf of aboriginals in 2009!

Total Operating Expenses $1,661,839,000

Total Liabilities $931,432,000 ...

... INAC's employees participate in the Public Service Pension Plan, which is sponsored and administered by the Government of Canada. Pension benefits accrue up to a maximum period of 35 years at a rate of 2 percent per year of pensionable service, times the average of the best five consecutive years of earnings. The benefits are integrated with Canada/Quebec Pension Plan benefits and are indexed to inflation.

Both the employees and the Department contribute to the cost of the Plan. For the year ended March 31, 2009, the expense amounts to $43,660,000 ($37,978,000 in 2008), which represents approximately 2.0 times (2.1 in 2008) the contributions by employees. ...

... The nature of INAC's activities can result in some multi-year contracts and obligations whereby the Department will be obligated to make future payments when the goods or services are received. ... (in 2010) $1,549,000,000

Related Party Transactions $85,698,000 ... ad nauseam. We're just scraping the surface! (From the Indian and Northern Affairs Canada Financial Statements for the Year Ended March 31, 2009 (Unaudited), accessed online March 4/10)

With so many resources devoted exclusively to them, Canada's aboriginals must be living like kings, right?


Our audit found that Indian and Northern Affairs Canada does not have assurance that the First Nations Child and Family Services Program funds child welfare services for on-reserve First Nations children and families that are culturally appropriate and reasonably comparable with those normally provided off reserves in similar circumstances. In most provinces we visited, many on-reserve children and families do not always have access to the child welfare services defined in relevant provincial legislation and available to those living off reserves. (From Chapter 4 - First Nations Child and Family Services Program - Indian and Northern Affairs Canada of the 2008 May Report of the Auditor General of Canada, accessed online March 1/10)

The First Nations Land Management Act (FNLMA) is intended to enable First Nations to make timely business and administrative decisions and to accelerate their progress in economic development, resources management, and land use planning. However, less than a quarter of the First Nations who were expected to take advantage of FNLMA programming have been able to do so. INAC has been unable to fund the full implementation of this program.

INAC and Environment Canada have not addressed significant gaps in the regulatory framework that protects reserve lands from environmental threats. Provincial and municipal environmental regulations and zoning laws that protect communities off reserves do not apply to reserve lands.

... While regulations exist under the Indian Act to cover solid waste management, most landfill sites on reserves operate without permits, monitoring, or enforcement by INAC. Similarly, while these same regulations apply to liquid waste, INAC does not issue permits or monitor and enforce compliance with the regulations for sewage treatment and disposal. (From Chapter 6 - Land Management and Environmental Protection on Reserves of the 2009 Fall Report of the Auditor General of Canada, accessed online March 1/10)

... Lengthy processing times have the potential to negatively affect First Nations' plans for economic development on land selections, as this development may not be possible until the land is converted to reserve status. The Brokenhead Ojibway Nation in Manitoba is an example of a First Nation that is at risk of having to delay projects while waiting for land to be converted to reserve status. (From Chapter 4 - Treaty Land Entitlement Obligations - Indian and Northern Affairs Canada of the 2009 March Status Report of the Auditor General of Canada, accessed online March 1/10)

We found that federal organizations had not established the necessary processes to meet significant obligations, and that as a result, some of the obligations had been left unmet. For more than a decade, most federal organizations were largely unaware of their contracting obligations under the Agreement. The five federal organizations that were within the scope of our audit still do not have systematic means of monitoring their contracting activities within the Inuvialuit Settlement Region and thereby ensuring compliance with their obligations under the Agreement. Furthermore, INAC has not developed a process for returning to the Inuvialuit control of lands that belong to them. It has also taken no measures to address issues stemming from a 2001 economic measures review, despite repeated commitments to do so. (From Chapter 3 - Inuvialuit Final Agreement of the 2007 October Report of the Auditor General of Canada, accessed online March 1/10)

... Parliament is not adequately informed about the results of Canada's participation in the B.C. treaty process. (From Chapter 7 - Federal Participation in the British Columbia Treaty Process - Indian and Northern Affairs Canada of the 2006 November Report of the Auditor General of Canada, accessed online March 1/10)

The Life Chances of Aboriginal People

More on Tom King's hilarious Dead Dog Cafe Comedy Hour, which made frequent reference to the report below.

The third volume of our report, Gathering Strength, probes social conditions among Aboriginal people. The picture it presents is unacceptable in a country that the United Nations rates as the best place in the world to live.

Aboriginal people's living standards have improved in the past 50 years - but they do not come close to those of non-Aboriginal people:

- Life expectancy is lower.
- Illness is more common.
- Human problems, from family violence to alcohol abuse, are more common too.
- Fewer children graduate from high school.
- Far fewer go on to colleges and universities.
- The homes of Aboriginal people are more often flimsy, leaky and overcrowded.
- Water and sanitation systems in Aboriginal communities are more often inadequate.
- Fewer Aboriginal people have jobs.
- More spend time in jails and prisons.

Aboriginal people do not want pity or handouts. They want recognition that these problems are largely the result of loss of their lands and resources, destruction of their economies and social institutions, and denial of their nationhood.

They seek a range of remedies for these injustices, but most of all, they seek control of their lives.

(From Highights from the Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, released in 1996, accessed online March 3/10)


Watchdog Biblitz, doing his best to separate aboriginal Jacob, who is locked in mortal combat with a less than angelic Crown, which created both the game and the rules of play. Not unlike Eugene Delacroix's masterpiece, which apty formed the motif for Sally's Potter's arthouse conceit, The Tango Lesson, raising the question: Are they dancing or are they fighting? Although legions of bureaucrats have found lively and immensely profitable sport in the arrangement, the numbers don't lie. Literaly countless billions earmarked for fewer than 1.2 million beneficiaries rarely make it past the lawyer's desk in Ottawa, as successive royal commissions and auditor general's reports reveal. In many cases, trustees are somehow unable to provide even the most basic of life necessaries! Time to take wisdom from the Enemy - Public Enemy, that is: Shut 'em, shut 'em down, shut 'em down! Tired of enriching endless tiers of negligent fiduciaries? Tell the prime minister at

How should Canada should fix the aboriginal funding 'gap'?
It should be clear by now to all Canadians that government fiduciaries are unable to meet even the most basic obligations to aboriginal beneficiaries, who are hog-tied to the Crown in a doomed co-dependancy made laughably famous in the novels of P.G. Wodehouse! Government lawyers, by number and by stealth, have duped Parliament into believing that aboriginals are somehow unfit to manage aboriginal lands, which strangely requires adherence to a set of special rules the lawyers created along with a vast network of bureaucracy to enforce them - ka-ching

For the sake of aboriginals and taxpayers alike

'Shut 'em down, shut 'em, shut em down!'

For aboriginals Once a land claim is settled, cede the property to its rightful owners to determine themselves what to do with it - sell it if they like! As long as owners respect the law, the Crown should have no further interest in the transaction as the Rule Against Perpetuities wisely suggests.

For taxpayers Set a deadline to complete land claim settlements, after which only qualified applicants may compete for programs and subsidies available to all taxpayers equally, with the exception of certain affirmative action programs, which may continue subject, of course, to periodic government review.

On assimilation: This is difficult for everyone who comes from somewhere else, as most of us do. Very few of us, it seems, enjoy the luxury of being able to stay in the place we were born. Most of us struggle daily to maintain cultural, religious and family traditions.

On injustice: When the Indian Residential School Settlements are finally complete and the special tribunals at last disbanded, claimants might thank taxpayers, who facilitated these costly proceedings though few of us had anything to do with the awful program.

How the Crown hog-ties Indians to aboriginal lands:

British and Canadian courts have sought to define the nature of the legal interest in the land of Canada's Aboriginal peoples for many years. Under now long-established general principles developed in the case law, the Aboriginal interest in land may be surrendered or alienated only to the federal Crown, at which point it passes to the provincial Crown (assuming surrender outside the territories) as an unencumbered Crown title. ...

Lamer C.J. identified the sui generis (i.e., unique) nature of Aboriginal title as the unifying principle underlying its various dimensions. These are: inalienability, in that lands held pursuant to Aboriginal title may be transferred or surrendered only to the Crown: this does not mean, however, that Aboriginal title "is a non-proprietary interest which amounts to no more than a licence to use and occupy the land and cannot compete on an equal footing with other proprietary interests" (par. 113);

source, in that Aboriginal title arises from(1) occupation of Canada by Aboriginal peoples prior to the Royal Proclamation of 1763: under common law principles, the physical fact of occupation is proof of possession in law; and (2) the relationship between common law and pre-existing systems of Aboriginal law;

communal nature, in that Aboriginal title is a collective right to land held by all members of an Aboriginal nation.

These features cannot be explained fully under either common law rules of real property, or property rules of Aboriginal legal systems. ...

In the Chief Justice's view, these considerations are also relevant to the inalienability of lands held pursuant to Aboriginal title, in that alienation would terminate both entitlement to occupy the land and any special relationship with it. Inalienability suggests that the lands in question are more than a commodity. Rather, they hold inherent value for the community with Aboriginal title and cannot be put to uses by that community that would destroy that value. ...

In short, the Delgamuukw decision established an unprecedented theoretical framework that represents the basis for developing the law of Aboriginal title in Canada, rather than the culmination of the law s development. The law of Aboriginal title will continue to evolve as principles of the Delgamuukw framework are implemented. (From ABORIGINAL TITLE: THE SUPREME COURT OF CANADA DECISION IN DELGAMUUKW v. BRITISH COLUMBIA, by Mary C. Hurley, Law and Government Division, January 1998, Revised February 2000, accessed online March 3/10)


Canadian Geographic

No reservations

The Landmark Treaty of British Columbia's Tsawwassen First Nation will abolish its reserve, add to its land base and end the tax exemption that has long defined Indian identity in Canada. Opposition is fierce, but the province's chief negotiator argues that the agreement will give Tsawwassen what they seek most - control of their destiny.

By Kiwi treaty negotiating champ, Katherine Gordon
April, 2008

See also Gambling Kahnawake - maverick Mohawks outside Montreal are cashing in on the super-sized online gambling industry - with or without government approval. Easier to beg forgiveness than to seek approval!

The federal government exerts its control over qualifying aboriginal people in Canada with a 132-year-old statute known as the Indian Act. The legislation provides a tax exemption for Indians living and working on reserves and annual program funding delivered by INAC. But the Indian Act also has significant drawbacks. INAC's $5.5 billion budget for the services it provides to Indian reserves is split among more than 1,200 organizations across the country, including 640 Indian bands, or First Nations (again, no more than 1.2 million people). INAC funding is never adequate to meet community needs, and it is difficult for bands to raise their own revenue. Nobody on a reserve owns land outright, either individually or collectively, making it next to impossible to borrow money from a bank to build or buy a house or start a business on a reserve. Band governments, in the form of elected chiefs and councils, have limited bylaw-making powers and are shackled by a heavy-handed federal bureaucracy that sets priorities for how government funding is spent on reserves. Bands must troop, hat in hand, to Ottawa for permission to undertake major initiatives. ...

(Chief Kim) Baird's vision for the treaty included three principal elements: land for housing, community and economic ventures; self-government; and finally, cash. ...

Baird proposed, for example, that the treaty include 1,172 hectares of crown land - representing less than one per cent of the territory to which the Tsawwassen claimed aboriginal title - far in excess of what the two governments had in mind. The same was true of cash. The governments offered $10 million, a quarter of what Baird and her financial advisers had asked for. As for governance, the Tsawwassen wanted to ensure their powers would have constitutional protection: an abhorrent idea to the provincial government in power at that time.

In the end - nearly five years later - the Tsawwassen came down on land, the governments went up on cash and the province caved on constitutional protection of self-government. At the signing of the treaty in December, 2006, Jim Prentice, then Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, acknowledged in front of the Tsawwassen community that the sun had finally set on his role in their lives: "This treaty will provide you with the tools and authority to take control of your own future." ...

... Farmers in Delta are fiercely protective of the municipality's dwindling agricultural lands and want to prevent possible development on the property the Tsawwwassen will assume as part of the treaty, much of which falls on prime vegetable and berry farmland. Farming associations criticized the transfer, as did most Vancouver area municipal governments and several members of the provincial legislature. ... In 2004, the municipality (Delta) launched legal action against the provincial government in an unsuccessful attempt to stop it from signing the treaty. (For more on the encroachment of valuable agricultural land, see p. 44 of the treaty).

Opposition to the agreement from other First Nations has been equally emphatic. Numerous groups have asserted that the Tsawwassen's treaty lands lie withinin their own traditional territories and should not be transferred until their own rights to those lands have been addressed. The Semiahamoo First Nation in nearby White Rock and an alliance of Vancouver Island First Nations launched legal proceedings in June 2007 in an attempt to halt further progress on the treaty. Their case was rejected in the B.S. Supreme Court in November, 2007.

Closer to home, at Canoe Pass on the Fraser River, where the Tsawwassen will have ownership of several parcels of land, Raymond Wilson is at the forefront of a drive by the Hwlitsum First Nation to gain its own land. Fearful that there will be none left for his people, Wilson has fought the Tsawwassen every step of the way during the past 14 years. He, too, has so far been unsuccessful.

Nor is the opposition just local. First Nations from the Fraser Valley that have begun their own treaty negotiations have banded together with those on Vancouver Island in an attempt to force governments to change what have, until now, been non-negotiable mandates, such as the policy on removing the tax exemption. A unified front, they say, is essential to success; in agreeing to accept such policies, the Tsawwassen First Nation has let them down.
Others outside the process are just as adamant. ...

In addition to the external resistance, 30 Tsawwassen residents actively opposed the deal. ...

Some feared losing their government overseers, on whom they have come to depend. "We'll be losing INAC's responsibility for us," says Bertha Williams. ... "Who will we turn to then?" ... She considers the tax exemption to be part of her identity. "It's who we are now. There's no other place in the world where people have a special status like this." (emphasis added) (-- pgs. 54-60)