By Randy Lundy, The Leader-Post
I write regarding the federal government's defence of funding cuts to FSIN (Feb. 1 Leader-Post).
Whatever one's opinions regarding the work of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, a $2-million funding cut in the past year is part of a disturbing trend. (And the loss of 66 jobs is no small matter). Similar cuts have been imposed on the Assembly of First Nations (50 per cent), the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (80 per cent) and First Nations organizations across the country. These levels of cuts are crippling, as they would be to any organization, family, or individual.
What is particularly worrisome is that such cuts have targeted not only First Nations organizations, but also environmental, women's and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender organizations as well.
"Targeted" is a perfectly appropriate a term in this context, in that any organization that might raise a voice of political opposition to the current government in Ottawa becomes a target. This is not healthy for democracy in our country - and it is our country, not that of the federal government.
Using federal tax dollars as both carrot and stick, to reward the government's friends and silence any individual or organization that might have policy differences with the government is both inappropriate and dangerous. The current governing party seems to have forgotten that those tax dollars belong to us, the Canadian people.