Pallister Government’s Announcement on Child Welfare Funding Misses the Mark
February 11, 2019
Although we may share much of the same vision to make child welfare more effective and efficient and save taxpayer money, today’s announcement by Families Minister Heather Stefanson on child welfare missed the goals of improving child safety and family health outcomes with the spirit of reconciliation, partnership, and respect.
Despite what the Minister said at today’s news conference, there has been no discussion with the Indigenous Leadership, including as the Indigenous Leadership Council or one-on-one with Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF) President David Chartrand. Solutions to meet the best interests of our children and to keep our families together must include true, full, and meaningful dialogue with the Manitoba Métis Government.
“Having ignored the Indigenous Leadership Council, the Pallister Government made unilateral decisions about funding,” President Chartrand explained. “Instead of dialogue, the Minister, on behalf of the Pallister Government, cut out the responsible elected leadership for the development and application of the block funding model.”
Evidence shows that there is not enough funding to meet the current program and service needs in the child welfare system. While, in principle, we are not against block funding, it has brought to the forefront more questions than answers. Block funding runs the risk of not meeting the challenges faced by our children, families, and communities. While there are possible administrative benefits, there are also dangers.
For instance, in the future, if Manitoba unilaterally decides to change policies or priorities, in this case, the block funding could be a big backward step. How do the staff change the priorities? What are the costs? What happens if there is not enough money? What if there are no future increases? Needed services may be short-changed. Agencies may go bankrupt.
“What is missing in this announcement is the consultation with Indigenous Leadership and their oversight. There has not been a full meeting with the Leadership Council since this Pallister formed government. We ought to be meeting quarterly as required by legislation,” concluded President Chartrand. “We are looking for clarity. No different than when Manitobaasks for clarity about funding from the federal government. Today, we had a single phone call from the Minister and she made a prepared statement, a ‘fait accompli.’”
Believe in Yourself; Believe in Métis.
The Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) is the official democratic and self-governing political representative for the Métis Nation’s Manitoba Métis Community. The Manitoba Métis are Canada’s Negotiating Partner in Confederation and the Founders of the Province of Manitoba.
For media information, please contact:
Barney Morin, Communications Coordinator
Manitoba Metis Federation
Office: (204) 586-8474 x277
Cell: (204) 391-0717