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NEWS RELEASE · 31st March 2010
MP Nathan Cullen - Ottawa
Funding will end today for a program the government acknowledges to be “excellent” in assisting survivors of residential school trauma, despite an emotional six-hour emergency debate in Parliament last night called by the NDP.

“The cynicism to cut the Aboriginal Healing Foundation in the budget, then release a report the very next day that says what a fantastic program it is, smacks of a hypocrisy to the First Nations communities that I represent and those all across this country,” Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen told the House of Commons at midnight last night.

Cullen, who was on his feet several times to ask questions, also delivered a 10-minute speech in which he urged Prime Minister Stephen Harper to live up to commitments he made in the National Residential Schools Apology two years ago.

“The apology was meant to be followed by action. That is what we asked the Prime Minister for when we all sat in this place and listened to him apologize,” Cullen said.

“Now we find out the AHF, which my honourable colleague says is one of the best programs the government has ever run, is being cut at the same time the government maintains it wants to support the healing process.

“The way the government can support healing is to continue funding the AHF.”

Cullen said a vague reference by the government to have Health Canada take over the work of the AHF and focus on individual rather than family and community-based support is fraught with problems and a step in the wrong direction.

The decade-old AHF assists aboriginal people and communities cope with ongoing residential school trauma. Funding expires at federal fiscal year-end today.

Six of the 17 BC-based AHF projects are in the Northwest, in Skidegate, Terrace, Kitwanga, Smithers and Fort St. James. The program funds over 130 projects across Canada.

Hear the full text of Cullen’s speech last night at his website
Legitimate Concern
Comment by Sylvia Stephens on 5th April 2010

I agree, I attended Edmonton Residential School in the 1960's. All I can say is that a review should be done on all the monies spent on Aboriginal Healing Foundation, who got healed?

Why do I care? I think monies could be better spent on education, housing and economic development.

Please refrain from drawing any conclusion that I don't want to see us living in a healthy society, I do care. Our monies can be better spent on activities that will promote healthy living, I have one son and four grandchildren and I like what I see in them. They are living for today and not yesterday, the world changes and we should not dwell in the past.

In conclusion, there should have been legislation in place for a time-frame for these funded projects. For homelessness in large cities, why don't our Chiefs and Councils attempt to try get their own people back to their original homelands?

Thank you for your open-mindedness. I will copy and paste this into my Facebook page where I have almost 800 friends online.
How Long?
Comment by Jim Ippel on 3rd April 2010
I know as I write this that I will be slamdunked as a racist, among a lot of other names not polite enough to print here.
My question is ``HOW LONG``are we going to give council (financial) to the survivors of the Residential Schools.
We now are into the third generation, and my question is: how long is this going to carry on. When can the offspring of these students get it on, and make a life for themselves,or is this something that is going to carry on forever at the expence of the taxpayer.
If the taxpayer keeps giving, there is no incentive for the offspring to try and better themselves. It is about time they try to stand on their own.