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Federal Health Funding Cuts will be Disastrous in the Long Term

For Immediate Release:
May 11, 2012

London, ON – The Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians (AIAI) urges the Federal government to reconsider the cuts being made to the Indigenous Peoples in the areas of health.

While the AIAI can appreciate the economic climate and the current focus on austerity by the Government of Canada, it is outraged that the government would target one of the poorest populations to achieve this goal.The government continues to make unilateral decisions that have significant impacts on the health status of Indigenous Peoples. This is evident in the funding cuts to the national organization of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and to regional organizations such as the AIAI.

In essence, the cuts will discourage health care services and programs from taking a preventative and coordinated approach to addressing Indigenous health issues.

The gap in health status between Canadians and Indigenous Peoples will only widen with the elimination of direct and in-direct health care services. While planned health cuts will result in small immediate savings, long term health care costs will far outweigh any short term benefits.

Since Health Canada is possibly the largest federal department, it is surprising they are unable to absorb the budget reductions internally.

A letter has been sent to the Federal Minister of Health, Leona Aglukkaq formally requesting that funding be re-instated to the respective areas and calling for a stop of further reductions to the regions.

Grand Chief Denise Stonefish cautioned, “Any health funding cuts to Indigenous communities or organizations will result in disastrous long term consequences.” In a time when the Indigenous population is already at an extremely disadvantaged health status on a daily basis, the government would be wise to heed the warning.

The AIAI is mandated as a political territorial organization to defend and enhance the Indigenous and Treaty rights of its eight member First Nations. Visit them online at www.aiai.on.ca ,https://twitter.com/#!/aiai_comms , www.facebook.com/aiai.pto , www.youtube.com/user/AIAIAdmin .

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For more information, please contact: John Jones, Communications Coordinator – AIAI at 519-434-2761 or [email protected] .