On April 27, 2016, Chief Commissioner Jules and the heads of the other FMA institutions were invited to meet with federal Minister of Finance William Morneau in Vancouver, BC. The meeting was called by the minister as part of his cross-country post-budget tour.
The hour-long meeting provided an opportunity for the institutions to outline the genesis of the First Nations Fiscal Management Act (FMA), the collective results to date, the work of each institution and their respective plans going forward.
The institutions, representing more than 180 First Nations using the FMA, stated they could greatly assist the minister, who has been tasked with the establishment of a new fiscal relationship with Canada’s First Nations. Each institution offered to work with the finance minister to achieve these objectives and sought his support for their work in that regard.
In addition, the federal “Budget 2016 – Growing the Middle Class,” also committed to a series of significant investments in infrastructure to support a better future for Indigenous Peoples. Almost $4.7 billion
in planned infrastructure investments over the next five years include education infrastructure ($969 million), social infrastructure ($1.2 billion), green infrastructure ($2.2 billion), and community infrastructure ($255 million). These investments are a key component of the federal government’s strategy for inclusive economic growth.
Chief Commissioner Jules outlined the vision for an FMA-based First Nations infrastructure institute which, he said, could assist First Nations close the “capacity gap” and provide higher value for money in view of the significant investments to be made by the federal government. The Chief Commissioner also discussed the work done to date by the Commission on the proposed Aboriginal Resource Tax.
At the conclusion of the meeting, Minister Morneau thanked the institutions for meeting with him and helping him understand their work. He described the meeting as a start, and commented that the parties would meet again in the future.