Health Minister Aglukkaq accuses Liberal MP of crossing racial line during House of Commons questioning

APTN National News
Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq accused Liberal MP Carolyn Bennett of crossing the racial line in her questioning over health cuts to Aboriginal organizations.

Aglukkaq, an Inuk MP from Nunavut, said she found Bennett’s questioning offensive to her Inuit heritage.

“As an Aboriginal person, I take that type of line of questioning to be unacceptable,” said Aglukkaq, during question period Monday.

Bennett, who is the Liberal Aboriginal affairs critic, accused Aglukkaq’s department of targeting the population with the worse health statistics with cuts.

“(Aglukkaq) has cut programs for diabetes, youth suicide, Aboriginal health human resources,” said Bennett, who is non-Aboriginal. “Can the minister explain to this house why her cuts target the population with the worse health outcomes in Canada, the Aboriginal people of Canada.”

Aglukkaq said the Conservative government was still concerned about Aboriginal health.

“Our government ensured we protected the front-line services of all health care services across the sector,” said Aglukkaq. “We are funding $30 million annually for Aboriginal health research and last year we invested $2.2 million in First Nations and Inuit health programs.”

Aglukkaq also said the government promised money in the latest federal budget to improve water and waste-water systems on First Nations reserves.

Health Canada cut all funding to the National Aboriginal Health Organization, effectively shutting it down.

Aglukkaq has also overseen 100 per cent health funding cuts to the Native Women’s Association of Canada, the Metis National Council and the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples.

Health Canada also cut 40 per cent of its funding to the Assembly of First Nations and the Inuit Tapriit Kanatami, which serves Aglukkaq’s own people, the Inuit.

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  • marthawatt

    The only thing that’s racist about this is that Aboriginal populations have the worst outcomes of any other culturally identifiable group in Canada. If the member questioning the cuts had thrown in a line about ‘cutting off your own people to satisfy a government hell bent on destroying the Aboriginal culture of the North’ …well, that might be construed as racist.

    • wcwuttunee

      the fact that aboriginals have the worst health outcomes in canada is just that…a fact. stating that fact doesn’t make a person racist either. 

  • Clayton Thomas-Muller

    What a load of crap…she is cutting funding to the most vulnerable groups…just cause she Inuit do not mean she knows whats best for Metis or First Nations…..I question if she knows whats best for her own people……#handaroundthefort

  • quintessencechild

    I’m sorry, but as an “aboriginal person”, I find her and her party offensive and aberrant. She had no right to defend such actions. Such a shame that she tried to include her race in her defense when the first comment was made to defend the aboriginal peoples of Canada to begin with. People need to vote! If you’re not voting then you’re letting these conservative grim reapers win.

  • quintessencechild

    If i knew you were approving posts I wouldn’t have bothered commenting. More censorship. Terrible. What are you afraid of?

  • Kevin Carter

    Health Canada cut programs NEEDED to help the vulnerable and poor which just happen to be aboriginal. The Liberal Health Critic pointed out that Aboriginal programs were cut the worst and she pulled out the race card to hide behind. Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq is either not fighting enough for Aboriginals or she is PMSH’s Lackey.  This is why Aboriginals need to vote and participate the Political System. Yes I am native

    • http://twitter.com/JaimeJiggs Jaime Koebel

      What exactly did she say to pull out the race card? She said all facts here…

    • wcwuttunee

      because aboriginals are in the most need of health care doesnt make them vulnerable or poor just in the most need…afterall these programs were developed to assist people in need not keep people in their current situation..

  • Rose Siccama

    a pen to recommend signing away millions of $ to nDn women children and preventative healthcare, (saying it is all funnelled to ‘frontline’ ???), while federal health agencies give lip service in supreme court – do tell how an aboriginal affairs critic for the opposition gained so much power and how did this get twisted up so bad?
    mussi cho, thank you minister aglukkaq for not tolerating this bullying and laterally violent woman’s’ public racist behaviour and treatment of you in the commons ♥

    • http://twitter.com/Vic_Andres Victor Andres

      I believe the bully here is Stephen Harper and his decision to shut down  the National Aboriginal Health Organization.  If that’s not a bully, I don’t know what is.  Thanks God for MPs like Dr. Bennet who are not afraid to stand up to bullies and refuise to be silenced by them.

    • http://twitter.com/JaimeJiggs Jaime Koebel

      Dr. Bennett did not bully. She gave facts. The Minister copped out and diverted from the real issue of health care cuts to Aboriginal organizations in favour of made-up claims. 

  • http://twitter.com/APC_CPA Aboriginal Liberals

    Of course the Conservatives launch a cheap shot across the bow of Aboriginal people. There was nothing racist about Dr. Bennett’s statement whatsoever.

    In fact, I’m going to echo her question: how can an Aboriginal person do so much damage to Aboriginal health, and then, try to defend her actions? Disgusting.

    I hope you – just like I – can see exactly what this is… another cheap, political low blow from a government that cares nothing about Aboriginal people or our future…

    ps, Did you note that there was not a single increase in post-secondary education funding? Did you note that the Conservatives are using legal loopholes in the fight for equality in First Nation child welfare to avoid having to accept responsibility?

  • http://twitter.com/JaimeJiggs Jaime Koebel

    There was nothing offensive about Bennett’s statement. Unbelievable. This Minister is a puppet for the Conservative government. “Let’s put an Aboriginal person in as health Minister because the blow will be softer when the time arrives”. She needs to do some serious soul searching. 

  • http://twitter.com/balbulican balbulican

    It’s interesting that the cuts to  First Nations and Inuit Health Branch, NAHO and all the other organizations under Aglukkak’s watch with a mandate to promote the health of Aboriginal Canadian were made on Holy Thursday – the day Judas accepted thirty pieces of silver.

    I hope the Cabinet Post was worth it, Leona.

  • http://twitter.com/brandonesangris Brando E. Sangris

     I don’t understand this, she’s acting as if shes speaking for every aboriginal/inuit person out there and yet, out of the 30 million that’s invested for aboriginal health, only 2 million of it is actually used for programs that are designed to help them, and here she is cutting most of those programs down.

  • wcwuttunee

    It does make one wonder though, who is on who’s side here.  “(Aglukkaq) has cut programs for diabetes, youth suicide, Aboriginal health human resources,” said Bennett, who is non-Aboriginal. “Can the minister explain to this house why her cuts target the population with the worse health outcomes in Canada, the Aboriginal people of Canada.” This is not a racist comment just because it is about a specific race doesn’t make it racist. It is a damn good question and does have me, a native person who is also diabetic, questioning ”how can an Aboriginal person do so much damage to Aboriginal health, and then, try to defend her actions?” Just doesnt make any sense! 

  • Silasa

    I think what she has done is redirect millions of dollars from Ottawa and diverted them to front line workers in aboriginal communities. There was millions of dollars being spent on research, which is always ongoing anyway, and a city where there is only a small portion of the aboriginal population in Canada and spreading it out.
    To me it is decentralizing funds so that the funds could be better used directly on people. I’m not a conservative supporter but I think there is too much research and not enough doing. That I believe is what the Health Minister has done.