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Fact Files

Saturday, Feb. 4, 2006



Department: Indian Affairs and Northern Development
Robert Nault
Nault at a glance:
• MP for Kenora-Rainy River in Ontario
• Appointed indian affairs minister in 1999.

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Robert Nault
Indian or aboriginal

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• Indian Affairs and Northern Development Canada - home page

Minister in charge: Robert Nault

What happened: The budget allocates $185-million over the next two years for Aboriginal child care, increased funding for children on reserves who have special needs at school and programs aimed at combating fetal alcohol syndrome.

Financial details: In last January's speech from the throne, the government highlighted aboriginal issues saying, "too many continue to live in poverty, without the tools they need to build a better future for themselves or their communities." The speech proposed broad changes under what it called the aboriginal agenda, ranging from improved housing and Internet access to lower incarceration rates and better social programs. The Liberal's red book also proposed an aboriginal head-start program, promising $90-million a year to fund that measure and another program dealing with special needs children.

Responsibilities: The primary responsibility of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada is to meet the federal government's constitutional, treaty, political, and legal responsibilities to First Nations, Inuit and Northern Canadians.

What to expect: Like almost everything else, Aboriginal issues have been edged out of the foreground. With costly measures expected for security and the economy, there is likely to be little left over for social spending. Aboriginal issues will also probably take a hit if the government pulls back on spending on innovation and a proposed $1-billion high-speed Internet network, which would have linked rural areas in the country.

Critics:
Canadian Alliance: Reed Elley
Bloc Québécois: Richard Marceau
New Democratic Party: Pat Martin
PC/DR Coalition: Deborah C. Grey


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