First Nations 'specific claim' settlements not helped living standards

by Steve Randall25 Jun 2018

Ottawa should set a deadline to settle ‘specific claims’ filed by First Nations communities against Canadian governments for breaching the Indian Act and treaties.

That’s the call from Tom Flanagan, Fraser Institute senior fellow, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Calgary, and author of a report called ‘Specific Claims and the Well-Being of First Nations.’

The report reveals that settlements with First Nations have not improved the living standards of Indigenous peoples and Flanagan says there are better ways to boost the prosperity of First Nations communities.

Using Statistics Canada’s Wellbeing index (CWB) which assesses living standards using income, employment, housing, and education indicators; Flanagan found that those First Nations who have reached a settlement have score of 59.2 – and so do those who have not.

While some of the claims date back 100 years or more, there are more still being filed. So far 450 have been settled (as of November 2017) totalling $5.7 billion and 530 are ongoing.

“Ottawa should set a deadline for filing specific claims so that the government and First Nations leaders could focus instead on programs that would do more to improve the living standards and prosperity for both current and future Indigenous peoples,” Flanagan said.

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