The enormous sum of money that is being given to the Indigenous population is staggering. One has to actually look at the official Public Accounts to realize that this is happening. Justin Trudeau’s government is pouring billions and billions of dollars into a bottomless sack held out by Indigenous activists with no accountability.

The Background to this Funding

In 2019, Indian Affairs was split into two departments: the Department of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs (CIRNAC) and Indigenous Services Canada (ISC).

According to public records, in 2017, the federal government directed $9.132 billion to Indian Affairs. Today, the main estimates for 2023-2024 project $48.7 billion in expenditures for Indigenous Affairs, a fivefold increase. This is to be split between the Crown-Indigenous (at $9.1 billion) and Indigenous Services (at $39.6 billion). In comparison, the Department of National Defence’s projected expenditure is $24.8 billion, Infrastructure, $7.3 billion and Foreign Affairs, $7.2 billion.

Canada’s federal budgeted expenditures for 2023-2024 are estimated at $10 thousand per Canadian. Indigenous department expenditures are expected to be $27 thousand per Indigenous person.

According to Public Accounts Transfer Payments, in the fiscal year 2023, Indigenous Services Canada handed out $17.8 billion of its $39.6 billion budget in grants to over seven thousand Indigenous bands, tribes and organizations. In addition to this, Indigenous groups receive further funding from the departments of Canadian Heritage, Health Canada and the feminist Women and Gender Equality, a department of the Government of Canada, which now encompasses Youth and 2SLGBTQQIA+.

Further Indigenous Funding

These huge sums were not the only government payments made to the Indigenous population. Their requests for money have become an industry that is based on as many issues that Indigenous activists can think up. These requests are based on the argument that Indigenous people have historically experienced intergenerational trauma because of colonialism and systemic racism, which have victimized them and caused social and economic difficulties entitling them to compensation.

Since Justin Trudeau became prime minister in 2015, his government has had nine class action lawsuits brought against it by Indigenous groups. These class action suits were encouraged by Trudeau, who repeatedly signalled that he preferred to pay upon negotiation rather than going through the courts. These requests for compensation were not made on the basis of evidence or proof of actual harm, which is required by the courts, but were based on the position that all government policies relating to the Indigenous were made with genocidal intent. This misconception removed any incentive to restrain the Indigenous demands and has resulted in the following payments.

  1. Residential Schools Compensation

This claim for compensation for children who attended residential schools, was initially made prior to Justin Trudeau’s election but it has continued during his tenure.

In 2005, in order to avoid clogging the justice system, the Liberal government of Prime Minister Paul Martin agreed to a settlement with Indigenous people, of $5 billion, to compensate students for supposed harm caused by the residential school system. Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper continued these payments. This money was paid to the students without proof that they experienced actual harm in the residential school system.

Significantly, many of these former students have become noted physicians, lawyers, politicians, teachers, social workers, authors, journalists, musicians, etc. How would this have occurred without the opportunity of the education provided them by the residential schools? This compensation was only the beginning of such demands for compensation.

In 2008, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was established to determine whether Indigenous children, who the Commission inaccurately claimed were seized from their homes and sent to residential schools) were sexually and physically abused and neglected – many dying due to the inhumane treatment. The bodies of many Indigenous children were supposedly buried in unmarked graves on residential school property.

The Commission did not provide any evidence that this had occurred, relying solely on anecdotal stories by some of the students. The Trudeau government provided $ 320 million to Indigenous bands to locate these unmarked graves.

Only one Indigenous band, the Pine Creek band in Manitoba actually carried out a search for the graves. It found no evidence of buried bodies or of any crimes. The Pine Creek Residential School operated in Manitoba from 1890 –1969. No other band has undertaken a search for the “missing graves”. This raises the question as to what has happened to the money set aside for the purpose?

The BC Government, however, has provided death certificates of students who died while attending residential schools in that province. These death certificates indicated that the children who had died while students at the residential schools had all died because of disease or accidents and were buried either on their home reserves or on hospital property.

  1. Indigenous Children Educated in Day Schools Operated on the Reserves

The federal government has paid $1.6 billion to those Indigenous children who attended day schools located on the reserves. These students attended school during the day and returned home to their families after school. They also spent weekends and holidays with their families, speaking their own language and living within their own culture.

According to Professor Tom Flanagan, emeritus professor of Political Science at the University of Calgary, “for all practical purposes, the government of Canada has embraced the position that providing a Canadian education to native children was an injustice deserving of compensation”.

  1. Indigenous Children in the Welfare System

In November 2021, the federal government provided $40 billion to Indigenous children who had been placed in the welfare system. Half of this money went to the children directly, allegedly because of discrimination they experienced under the 1965 Child Welfare Agreement with First Nations.

The other half of this grant, according to the Minister of Indigenous Relations, Mark Miller, was because of “thirty years of failure and discrimination towards Indigenous children and the child welfare system, for a denial of service: This is 30 years of the cost of failure and that cost is high.”

  1. Indigenous Female Murders

The Trudeau government provided $54 million to establish a National Inquiry for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Its purpose was to expose that white men had murdered most of these Indigenous women. The official report of this inquiry called the deaths of these women “a Canadian genocide”. According to chief Commissioner, Marion Buller, there was a “deliberate race, identity and gender-based genocide”. Statistics Canada, however, has contradicted this conclusion. In December 2023, Statistics Canada reported that nearly all of the murdered women (86%) were murdered by Indigenous men.

Where has All the Funding to Indigenous People Gone?

With all this money distributed to Indigenous people, it is only reasonable for taxpayers to inquire “where has all this money gone”? It clearly has not been used to alleviate the problems and suffering of the individual Indigenous people still living on the reserves. Most of these people continue to live in overcrowded housing that is in grievous need of serious repair. Between 1995-2007, there were 713 water advisory warnings, requiring the boiling of water. Currently, there are still 52 advisories to boil water. Tragically, polluted water has caused physical and mental health problems for individuals living on these reserves.

On December 13, 2023, Indigenous Services Minister, Patty Hajdu introduced a bill providing $6 billion to establish a Commission consisting of the federal government and First Nations members to provide infrastructure and water standards for reserves. Hopefully this will alleviate some of the water problems, but it does not help those under water advisories today.

Who is Benefiting from the Indigenous Funding?

The above raises the question as to who is actually benefiting from this government funding. Is it the professional Indigenous advocacy groups, the professionals assisting them, and sundry others such as Indigenous leaders?

Prime Minister Harper did try to answer this question by passing, in March 2013, the First Nations Financial Transparency Act, which required band chiefs and councillors to provide audited financial statements, including their salaries and expenses. This seemed to be effective. However, one of Prime Minister Trudeau’s first actions, after his election in 2015, was to repeal this legislation, claiming that it was not necessary.

Indigenous Problems Increasing

Despite these billions of dollars paid out in compensation to the Indigenous population, their problems keep increasing, evidenced by a 2019 Statistics Canada survey that disclosed that Aboriginal children are much more likely to experience violence (16%) than non-Aboriginal children (5.2%). The survey also revealed that Indigenous children under 15 are ten times more likely than non-Indigenous children to be taken into child welfare care (11% vs 1.3%) because of child maltreatment or neglect. The survey also disclosed that 26% of Indigenous women experience sexual violence during their childhood, compared to 9.2% of non-Indigenous women. Also, according to this survey, in 2015 -2019, the average homicide rate involving Indigenous victims was six times higher than the homicide rate involving non-Indigenous victims.

Incarceration Rate of Indigenous Males

It is significant that the incarceration rate of Indigenous individuals is much higher than non-Indigenous. On November 30, 2022, Corrections Service Canada provided a report entitled Ethnocultural Offenders in Federal Custody: An Examination of Admission, In-Custody Indicators among Men. The report stated that, although Indigenous men represented 5% of the Canadian public, they were 25% of the offenders in custody. The Supreme Court of Canada tried to reduce the Indigenous incarceration rate. In 1999, in the case R.v Gladue, the court, although well intentioned, was utterly naïve in that it required judges sentencing Aboriginals to consider any background that caused them “historical injustice”, such as attending residential schools. The decision also stated that judges sentencing Indigenous offenders must consider alternative “restorative justice” based on Indigenous community beliefs. This included the use of healing circles and lodges. The latter are notorious for the high rate of disappearance of offenders from such premises.

In 2019 and 2021, the Trudeau government amended the Criminal Code to provide that parole and bail provisions be less restrictive for Aboriginal offenders and other racialized groups. As a result of these legal changes, Aboriginals are allowed to be unaccountable for their illegal acts. As a result, the number of Indigenous offenders has increased, with a high rate of recidivism (repeat offences), resulting in a 28% increase in indigenous offenders in custody.

Indigenous Live in Disturbing Circumstances

There is something seriously disturbing about Indigenous culture that is causing so many social calamities. It is simplistic to blame the cause of Aboriginal crime and violence on suffering due to ill treatment by society. Rather, it seems that there has been a noticeable absence of stable family life, which has left a sad legacy. Promotion of strong Indigenous families is the only way to affect meaningful and lasting change for the better. It is mistaken and dangerous to create policies that turn the Indigenous people into victims.

The tragedy of our Indigenous people will continue to increase no matter how much money is handed over to them. Instead, policies must be developed to address the heart of the problem, a collapse of stable, family life. Such help would genuinely allow Indigenous people to live in dignity and safety.