Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Reviewing the New Democratic Party’s ‘Indigenous’ Platform:

Today the NDP released what it dubbed its ‘Indigenous’ Platform at an AFN meeting and if one quickly looks at the document it sure looks amazing. However, if you look into it more thoroughly you realize quite quickly that half of it is not Indigenous focused but rather general platform promises that may assist Indigenous peoples alongside Canadians. This is not a problem, many promises from the Greens and Liberals do the same thing – the difference however is neither the Greens nor the Liberals try to paint it as ‘Indigenous’ policy/platform promises.

For instance:
·      The NDP promise $250M in relation to Federal Student Grants Over 4 years for students in the most need, which INCLUDES Indigenous Post-Secondary students. In other words, some of the $250M will be accessible to Post-Secondary Indigenous students but it is not explained how much is specific for Indigenous Post-Secondary students
·      They mention their promise of a $15.00 a day Child Care (again, not specific to Indigenous Peoples)
·      They will phase out interest on student loans (not Indigenous centric)
·      Repeal C-51 (not specific to Indigenous peoples)
·      Ensure full involvement of Indigenous Communities in Emergency Prevention Management and Mitigation Agreements (In other words, Indigenous communities can participate in this alongside Canadian municipalities)
·      $2.7B over four years for affordable housing and homelessness ACROSS CANADA (AKA: For all communities within Canadian boarders, not just Indigenous)
·      Provide $500M in incentives for construction of affordable rental housing across Canada (again, not just for Indigenous peoples)
·      $5M in grants for Indigenous communities AND Municipalities for Job Training
·      Investing in community based health clinics, including development of mobile clinics that improve access in RURAL AND REMOTE COMMUNITIES (not just Indigenous communities)
·      Investing $100M in Mental Health Innovation Fund for Children and Youth with Additional $5M per year for suicide prevention strategy to serve at-risk populations (Not just Indigenous peoples)
·      Will work towards a Universal Drug Plan
·      Work towards a National Diabetes Strategy
·      Access to Affordable and Nutritional food in Northern, Isolated communities with $32M to fix and expand Nutrition North (this isn’t just for Indigenous Communities)

(Also See: )

None of these above points are specific to Indigenous peoples but rather includes them alongside all Canadians. Similar points can be made from some of the Liberal platform. For instance:

·      The Childcare Plan from the LPC will benefit both Canadians and Indigenous peoples
·      Will increase the amount of the Canada Student Grant that is accessible to low-income students – $3k for Full time & $1800.00 for Part time
·      $20B over 10 years in Social Infrastucture
·      $40M to Nutrition North
·      Investing $3B over four years to develop better homecare services
·      High quality mental health services will be available to Canadians who need them

(To name but a select few - there are many more that could be added)

(Please See:

The Green Part of Canada (And I include them because the NDP does not like having them heard) also can be included in a few things that will benefit Canadians and Indigenous peoples. For instance:

·      Abolishing Tuition fees for all Canadians and Indigenous peoples
·      Promises to deal with Canada’s crumbling infrastructure
·      A National Housing Strategy
·      Rescind Bill C51

(To name but a select few - there are many more that could be added)

(These are but a select few. Please see: )

As can be witnessed from above, these promises reflect more then just Indigenous peoples. And there is nothing wrong with that – portraying it as a segment of an ‘Indigenous Platform,’ however, is a major problem and misleading to voters and Indigenous voters/non-voters alike. Thus, lets see what the three opposition parties are offering specifically to Indigenous peoples (and I apologies to the Green Party as I may not be able to do it justice).

Promises from the NDP, LPC, and GPC to Indigenous Peoples Specifically:


The NDP Promise:
o   $1.8B to FN Education over 4 years (The do express another $3B if the are in power for a second term – aka post 2019 election)
o   They Will work with FNs to develop new education policies for FNs

 The Liberals Promise:
o   2.6B new investment in FN education over 4 years – including, fro how I read it, $515M in K-12 funding and $500M for Education Infrastructure – aka the ability to upgrade, fix, and build schools (following the 4 years the growth in funding will match and be in line with inflation and increasing demand)
o   An additional $50M in Annual funding for Post Secondary Student Support Program (A program that is specific to Post Secondary Students who are Indigenous)
o   Promise of First Nations control over First Nations Education 

 The Greens:
o   I could not find something specific but I would argue their Abolition of Tuition means 100% subsidized education for Indigenous peoples and Canadians alike.

·      ALL THREE (3) agree the 2% cap must be revoked.

Culture and Language:

 The NDP Promise:
o   $68M over 4 years for language revitalization

The Liberals Promise:
o   They are committed to more funding and assistance for language revitalization (I am still waiting to see a funding amount)

The Green Promise:
o   They are committed to more funding and assistance for language revitalization (I am still waiting to see a funding amount)

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls:

 The NDP Promise:
o   They will Call a National Inquiry in the first 100 days ‘of forming government’ (funding not listed)

 The Liberals Promise:
o   The will call a National Inquiry & commit $40M to it over 2 years.  
o   (Please also see the policy passed by the LPC at the 2014 Convention – written by Naomi Sayers, former Womens’ Representative of the LPC’s Aboriginal Peoples’ Commission - )

 The Green Promise:
o   Will launch an inquiry and fight to ensure that structural violence against Indigenous communities is addressed.


The NDP Promise:
o   To reintroduce the protections of lakes and rivers that were removed by the Omnibus bill in 2012

The Liberals Promise:
o   To reintroduce the protections of lakes and rivers that were removed by the Omnibus bill in 2012

 The Greens Promise:

Infrastructure: (I will now mainly focus on NDP and LPC here)

The NDP Promise:
o   Figure out a framework to recognize First Nation Police Services as essential services.
o   Housings needs in REMOTE communities will be funded by $100 of critical infrastructure funding to double the number of new houses built and renovated on reserve in their first year as government (again, only REMOTE communities)
o   $375M of new investment over 4 years for housing, schools, and clean water
o   $96M over 4 years for local infrastructure transvers and more specifically a total of $800M for infrastructure projects for Indigenous communities over 20 years.

The Liberals Promise:
o   $500M in funding for building, modernizing, and renovating Schools on reserve (this was already mentioned in the education section)
o   The LPC has agreed to push forth the Kelowna Accord with the spirit and intent it was built from (in other words they will renegotiate it to reflect todays inflation and challenges) – if we need a potential price for infrastructure then we can state $1.6B (in 2005 dollars), including $400M (in 2005 dollars) to address the need for clean water in Indigenous communities
§  See Policy Passed at LPC 2014 Convention that goes along with this idea:
o   ADDITIONALLY – LPC has recently promised to deal with the drinking water and sanitation issues within the first five years with proper funding (which they have not highlighted yet). 

Health and Social Services:

The NDP Promise:
o   Implement Jordan’s Principle and commit to an equitable funding formula
o   Work with Local Child Services Organizations to reduce number of Indigenous children in care
o   Work with Friendship Centres and Urban Indigenous Orgs to Renew the Urban Aboriginal Strategy
o   Work with Indigenous peoples to make a plan to close the gap in health outcomes and ensure quality and accessible health-care
o   $30M in a Palliative Care Fund for Indigenous Communities

The Liberals Promise:
o   Again There is many things for all Canadians and Indigenous Peoples but the specific part on health care would relate to the Kelowna Accord, this focused on $1.315B (in 2005 dollars) towards Indigenous Health care services.

Nation-To-Nation Relations: (Which Trudeau first began using in 2012 - Mulcair in August 2015)

The NDP Promise:
o   Cabinet level committee chaired by the Prime Minister
o   Implement UNDRIP
o   Remove the 2% cap on funding (as listed above)
o   Take action on the Truth and Reconciliation Recommendations on priority basis established in consultation with Indigenous communities and provinces – will include $8M in funding over 4 years for National Centre of TRC
o   Deal with Treaties and uphold Crown’s ‘Duty to Consult’
o   Work on Land Claims
o   Work with First Nations for development and implementation of community safety plans and restorative justice
o   Work towards potential revenue sharing agreements between Canada, Provinces, and First Nations
(An important concern they havent responded to yet is how their endorsement of Quebec's right to seperate with 50+1% impacts Indigenous nations whose land Quebec is one and thus is inherently and continues to be Indigenous lands)

The Liberals Promise:
o   Implement UNDRIP
o   Remove the 2% cap on funding (as listed above)
o   Work towards implementing all 94 TRC recommendations
o   Redo Bill C51 to make sure sections that impact Indigenous peoples are removed because, as Trudeau said at the AFN AGA in July 2015: “Indigenous peoples fighting for their rights are not terrorists”
o   Deal with Treaties and uphold Crown’s ‘Duty to Consult’
o   Work on Land Claims
o   Establish a new fiscal relationship that is built together in proper and respectful consultation
o   Building a federal reconciliation framework with Indigenous nations
o  Give First Nations control over First Nations education (as listed above)
o   Acknowledging the Party’s past mistakes in the Indigenous/Canadian relationship. For instance, see the following policy on rejecting the White Paper of 1969 that was unanimously passed by the Liberal Party at its most recent Convention:
o   Also See:
(Important Note: Liberals have also offered specific details in relation to the Metis Nation - a first from my research in Canadian politics since the 1870s)

Now the above information is just some things to consider when looking at a party, its promises, and its platforms. However, what this post shows is that it is not just the NDP who are listening (as they have tried to claim). Additionally, there are things the LPC and the Greens are promising which are better then the NDP – and yes, I will state there is a few things that the NDP promise which are great.

However, I will again reiterate that meshing general platform promises (the NDP Platform is actually titled: “Tom’s Plan”) is deceitful, manipulative, and a misrepresentation to Indigenous peoples. I had hoped that APTN would do a comparative assessment but it was made to see that this would not be the case with retorts and responses from one of its reporters (whom kept stating the NDP were the first to release a platform on Indigenous peoples when BOTH the Greens and Liberals had actually introduced their platforms, including their sections on Indigenous relations, prior to the NDP.

And this, alongside the misrepresentation of an ‘Indigenous Platform’ that is only half in relation to Indigenous peoples solely is no different then taking advantage of people like that of a used car salesman.


Yes, many of you will have read this and noticed I lean Liberal. This does not mean that my points are invalid. My point is about utilizing and representing facts and truth rather then misleading (which is why I have listed all 3 opposition parties and their platforms above). Doing otherwise makes a political party and its leader no better then Stephen Harper and the Conservatives (whom use these tactics like its a bible verse). I urge you all to look at each party and thoroughly their platforms before voting. Take the time to read the fine print and remember to always consider whether or not these political parties are learning from their colonial pasts. 


Other Sources:

1 comment:

  1. Good work and needed saying. Correcting the record.