Liberals face pressure to invest in First Nations child welfare

The government wants to phase spending in over time in order to give agencies time to expand their capacity

OTTAWA — The federal government is under more political pressure to step up its financial commitment on First Nations child welfare — this time from an indigenous member of Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s economic advisory council.

In a letter obtained by The Canadian Press, entrepreneur Carol Anne Hilton says the NDP’s motion on child welfare creates a “pressure point” for the federal government to respond to a decision on the matter by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.

The motion — expected to be supported by all parties when it is voted on later today — calls on the government to immediately invest an additional $155 million and to establish a long-term funding blueprint.

While the government says it will support the motion, which was introduced by the opposition NDP, it wants to phase the spending in over time in order to give agencies time to expand their capacity.

Hilton’s letter notes that while Prime Minister Justin Trudeau talks about Ottawa’s relationship with indigenous peoples, it has taken political pressure to force action to end discrimination against First Nations children.

The letter, along with the vote, come as the government releases its fall economic statement, a closely watched status report on the state of the Canadian economy and the government’s plan to manage it, due later today.

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