Harper’s needs to step up and show leadership

National Post | News

OTTAWA – Last week’s federal budget has left a sour taste in the mouths of some First Nations leaders, who say it represents the status quo in the Conservatives’ approach to indigenous issues, and its job training program for young Aboriginal People is paternalistic.

“The initial response is that it’s not satisfactory. We’re disappointed,” said Roger Augustine, Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief for New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. “It wasn’t a respectful budget.”

Augustine has been a voice of moderation during the grassroots indigenous Idle No More movement, which grew in response to last year’s Conservative omnibus budget bills. He attended a controversial Jan. 11 meeting of First Nations leaders with Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Ottawa at the height of the protests, a meeting some chiefs loudly opposed.

Augustine left that meeting feeling optimistic. But he said on Sunday that progress is “nowhere near what we talked…

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