December 12th 2020
Hon. Chrystia Freeland
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance
House of Commons
Dear Minister Freeland,
It is with great concerns that I’m writing to you today regarding the numerous challenges that First Nations communities face in light of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. As you know, any crisis tends to exacerbate the inequalities already existing in society. For Canada one of them is the socio-economic gap between non-Indigenous Atlantic Canadians and First Nations.
The challenges faced by these communities are now even greater than it was a year ago and the efforts by the federal government to assist First Nations in the recovery will need to be all the more important. The pandemic has halted long-lasting efforts to build strong, economically independent communities and reduced own-sourced revenues drastically.
This situation in turn, impacts the financial stability and capacity of communities to respond to community needs.
Numerous witnesses at the standing committee on Indigenous and northern affairs have raised the same concerns as the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nations Chiefs (APCFNC). Naming challenges such access to health care and education through digital infrastructure, safety and housing issues as well as access to food.
The study conducted by APEC presents some of the solutions that can be implemented to help First Nations communities. This is why I’m writing to you today to show my support for a First Nations recovery plan. I hope that you will listen to First Nations to better answer the current needs of communities as they are best placed to advise on how to allocate resources.
I hope to see your government show the leadership it has shown on health files through the pandemic and assist First Nations in the recovery from the pandemic,