In her final address as auditor-general, Sheila Fraser criticized government policies for the dismal condition of Canada’s First Nation reserves. Over the past decade, her office has produced 31 audit reports on aboriginal issues and yet conditions on reserves “are worse than elsewhere in Canada”, she said. Obviously Ms. Fraser has never walked in Blue Saltwater’s shoes and taken the stroll through Vancouver’s downtown eastside.

She went on to say, “What’s truly shocking however, is the lack of improvement.”  Why is this when close to a billion dollars has been directed to First Nations issues over the last decade? The answer lies in the ongoing backward-looking approach taken by both high level government beaurocrats and First Nations leaders who continue to waste time and pour precious financial resources into programs that dwell upon the mistakes of the past. We get it. Enough already!

Within the last ten years about 475 million dollars was spent by the Aboriginal Healing Foundation on addressing the issues in the residential schools. This money was lavished upon expensive conferences and academic studies that for most part were elitist, repetitive, and unnecessary rather than being directed towards addressing the appalling state on the reserves.

I am hoping that the aboriginal youth across Canada who are part of the world-wide social media generation will take a page from their sisters and brothers in the Arab world and begin to demand that the government and most importantly their leaders, take a more pragmatic approach to solving today’s real problems on the ground rather than continuing to hash over the events of the past for the umpteenth time.