APTN National News
OTTAWA–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.