Saturday, June 02, 2012

Good Luck With That

Workfare for reserves: Tory plan ties benefits for aboriginals to job training
"The Harper government is planning a workfare program that would oblige young aboriginals on reserves to undertake job training in return for a welfare cheque."
This is just an old policy flipped on it's head. Many years ago, when I worked in Northern Saskatchewan, taking a post-secondary course at tax payers expense was just another way to live off the dole. Once the course was finished, none of the people I knew who took such courses entered the workforce or started their own businesses. They simply went back on regular old welfare.
"Ottawa wants to take young natives off welfare rolls before they become too used to receiving social assistance."
Too late for that. Welfare has become firmly entrenched on reserves. It started way back in the early post-WWII era. Young aboriginals today have been raised by people living on welfare, who in turn were raised on welfare and on and on back in time to the 1940s. When I taught school on an Indian reserve back in the mid-1970s, one of the old guys on the reserve used to tell me "Welfare spoiled the Indian." There's nothing new in this policy and it's waaaaay too late to be worried about aboriginal youth being unduly influenced by welfare.
"In the March budget, the Tories said they want to “better align on-reserve Income Assistance programs with provincial systems” in terms of compliance and program requirements. In provinces like Saskatchewan, income assistance is a program of last resort and requires able-bodied welfare recipients to look for work and take training courses when offered.

Yet, despite labour shortages across much of Western Canada, the number of aboriginals on income assistance remains stubbornly high.

Saskatchewan has an unemployment rate of 4.9%, yet 48.1% of natives on reserve are on income assistance. In Manitoba, which has an unemployment rate of 5.3%, half the on-reserve native population is on welfare.

There are pilot projects such as Active Measures in Saskatchewan — a tripartite initiative between First Nations and the federal and provincial governments — that aim to help people off income support by providing better access to career planning, literacy programs, training allowances, transport and child care."
Notice nothing is said about the dismal grade school attendance rate or the disproportionate rate of single teen motherhood, which are the cause of such problems to begin with. But, what the heck:
"Working with willing bands is crucial. While the feds are keen to introduce a degree of uniformity across the system, income assistance is actually distributed by First Nations to their band members.

The government would not confirm any such plan exists but sources suggest First Nations will be encouraged to sign up for the program, attracted by the enhanced funding, but will be encouraged to cut off welfare for those refuse to accept training."
There's money to be had, and where there's money to be had, there is where you will find Indian Chiefs stuffing it into their own pockets and a bleeding-heart justice system:
"The federal government’s ability to unilaterally make any major moves in the realm of aboriginal social policy is limited. A federal court judge in the Maritimes issued an injunction in April that will temporarily prevent Ottawa from reducing social assistance rates for First Nations.

The government wanted to align the rates for First Nations at provincial levels, which would have meant less money for recipients. The judge cited the absence of consultation with First Nations about the policy as the reason for the injunction."
I would say, it's high time we started looking at treaty provisions where breaking the law can be reason to consider the treaties null and void or, gasp, even promises made by Indians themselves that they did not want to be a burden in the future and were eager to learn how to live in the "Whiteman's" economy. Enough with exploiting our government's do-gooder mentality for all it's worth.

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Anonymous MaxEd said...

If memory serves, all treaties bind aboriginal people to keep the peace. Crime is not keeping the peace, therefore treaty-breaking on the aboriginal side should be penalized.

June 03, 2012 11:58 am  
Blogger Louise said...

Certainly the Treaties with Indians on the prairies require Indians to "keep the peace". And the common criminal types that fill up our jails aren't the only ones who have failed to "keep the peace".

A good many Chief and councilor has been caught with their hands in the till and certainly use federal money to reward their followers, and withhold money from families/clans that don't support them.

I remember years ago on a reserve close to where I grew up, a land claim settlement netted a huge sum for the band. But the chief and one of the councilors took the money and absconded with it. More recently, the fiasco with the Board of Directors of the First Nations University in Regina comes to mind.

Of course, they and the academic and legal wings of the Indian Industry, who also benefit from government largess, are quick to jump on the band wagon, sensing that there is money to be made. Just about every government program that has ever been implemented has been a virtual goldmine for lawyers and consultants from universities.

June 03, 2012 5:14 pm  
Blogger Camelia Aprile said...

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The chief and one of the councilors took the money and absconded with it. More recently, the fiasco with the Board of Directors of the First Nations University in Regina comes to mind.

June 07, 2012 3:32 am  

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