The New Democratic Party has released their platform today in an effort to reach a broad audience, including First Nations.  Sadly, their $9 billion commitments will once again fail to pursuade the broader electorate.

It is commendable that Jack Layton and his party have given First Nations some priority in their “Leadership in Canada” section.  Those of us with the hope of a coalition would be pleased to see this form part of a governing mandate.

From the NDP platform:

5.1 Building a New Relationship with First Nations

We will build a new partnership on a nation-to-nation basis with First Nations, Inuit and Métis people across the country to restore a central element of social justice in Canada and reconcile the hopes of Aboriginal people with those of all Canadians;

We will establish this new partnership by forging a new relationship with First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples, fostering economic opportunity and lasting prosperity, ending the discrimination still faced by Aboriginal people in Canada and supporting the process of healing the harms of past injustices. We will begin by:

Increasing access to capital for aboriginal business development so that First Nations, Inuit and Métis people can fully participate in the Canadian economy;

Improving physical infrastructure such as housing, drinking water facilities, roads and other essential services;

Removing the punitive 2 per cent funding cap on Indian and Northern Affairs Canada transfers to aboriginal communities;

Addressing the education deficit with a $1 billion per year investment over the next four years, inspired by Shannen’s Dream.