Spend more cash at home on First Nations

This year Canada has written a $13-million cheque for Vietnamese farmers.


In addition, there’s another $15 millon for “job training in Africa” and $14.2 million for infrastructure in Indonesia.

There was $2.6 billion gifted to developing nations to combat climate change.

At November’s Summit of La Francophonie in Madagascar, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gave $112 million to Haiti and several African countries. We are also spending $38 million to renovate 24 Sussex Dr.

So how much did the Oneida Nation of the Thames receive for its housing crisis?


“We applied for funding for 50 new homes and we were turned down,” Chief Randall Phillips said at a news conference Thursday. “We were told (to get the money) you have to be up north.”

It was devastating to watch Phillips tear up as he talked about the five people — four children, including a baby — who died in a tragic fire in “one of our older houses” that was like “kindling.”

Phillips said he could not get the funding to replace this kind of house.

Vietnam got its funding. Indonesia and Haiti, too. None for this tiny First Nations community of 2,300 people, 30 kilometres south of London.

I put a late call into Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, but there’s nothing anybody can do to repair this disaster.

“This was an older property and it was just basically kindling,” said Phillips. “First Nations housing is in a crisis and we’ll continue to point to the federal government and provincial government to make sure that they uphold their responsibility to make sure that we have safe homes here.”

Too late in this instance.

It’s sad because over the summer, the government wrote 1,447 cheques to Canadian communities for almost $8 billion. One of those was $13,482 for a picnic shelter in Rockland, N.B, Other grants were made for tennis courts, flagpoles and a gazebo.

And don’t forget the $300 million set aside for next year’s 150th anniversary of Canada celebrations.

Nothing to celebrate for our original Canadians on the Oneida Nation of the Thames indigenous land where there are surviving children who were part of the family which perished.

“They have lost everything,” said their chief.

At some point, Canada must let more First Nations members own their homes and control their destinies. I don’t want to put all the blame on Trudeau because this is not a new problem and it seems none of his predecessors did much to fix this problem.

But I will say that the lesson is clear: Canada is handing way too much of our precious money to foreign countries when we have many of our own people living in dangerous, Third World conditions.

Since there’s nothing looking too important on his itinerary that I can see in the next few days, I suggest Trudeau travel to this hurting community to help these people grieve. He should also direct some of that global warming money for developing nations to this Canadian First Nations community so they can replace their tinder box homes before more people die.

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