Ottawa Citizen - First Nations need more accountability: focus groups
- From: " JJ.Bear" <jj.bear@...>
First Nations need more accountability: focus groups
OTTAWA - Most non-aboriginal Canadians think First Nations and Canada would
be better served by a system that enhances accountability for
decision-making by native people, a report prepared for the federal
Reforms were seen as a way to make progress on the "problems faced by
Aboriginal Peoples," said the draft report by Ekos Research Associates,
based on focus groups in Toronto, Winnipeg and Halifax.
"The bottom line on this issue for most participants is simple: Ownership of
decision-making, including the accountability for decisions, is a worthwhile
objective to pursue."
For some in the focus groups "the perceived poor performance of First
Nations governments is part and parcel of the cycle of dependency on federal
funding," said the report. "Other participants, however, take a broader and
more sympathetic view," it said, adding that for those participants, "the
alleged failings or shortcomings of First Nations governance have more to do
with paternalism on the part of the federal government and, by corollary, a
lack of knowledge and technical/administrative know-how on the part of First
For most people in the focus groups, governance remains a very abstract
concept, the report said, but most participants "recognized the need and
desirability of involving First Nations in devising the changes to existing
The focus groups were conducted in January. In April, Robert Nault, Minister
of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, announced the federal
government's plan to modernize its relationship with aboriginal people,
beginning with the First Nations governance initiative. The $13-million plan
includes discussions with grassroots aboriginal people on how to update the
19th-century Indian Act.
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