It is so easy to forget where money comes from, regarding Walt Cobb’s comments and the source of funding for much of the First Nations community.
It was not that many years ago that the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs directly managed the First Nations bands operating in B.C. including those in the Williams Lake area. This was a very sore issue with all B.C. First Nations. One of the last Department of Indian Affairs administrators in this greater Williams Lake area was a fellow by the name of Jan Vandervoort.
Prior to the relinquishment of INAC control, First Nations bands had to virtually beg for every nickel the government would spend on reserves. This did not include so much for such things as infrastructure spending for water and sewer distribution and fire-fighting equipment, but did include fighting for funding for adequate band housing.
INAC eventually turned the financial management of band councils directly over to the various bands under the direction of a band manager; the former federal funding for the operation of the Department of Indian Affairs now went directly to the various band councils.
INAC remains financially responsible for band operation budgets, and the health and welfare of all of Canada’s indigenous people. However, the government administers much of this funding indirectly through various band councils and First Nations organizations. Here in Williams Lake we are seeing more and more of the First Nations population seeking community centralization, not only for lifestyle and education but as well, as often is the case, for health reasons.
The federal government, through Indian and Northern Affairs, provides funding to help meet the needs, including health and welfare, of all indigenous people, on and off the reserve. Local tax exemption for federally funded organizations would be an unfair shifting of a taxation burden.
Constructive economic development is the creation of some independent employment-creating process, not dependence on taxpayers, donations, grants, or gifts to exist.