Ashton Urges Government to Fund Aboriginal Healing Foundation: Fate Unclear in Budget

OTTAWA - Churchill NDP MP Niki Ashton has urged the Conservative Government to maintain the Aboriginal Healing Foundation that has provided support to residential school survivors and their families for a decade. Ashton made the call in the House of Commons in response to last weeks Federal budget.

Ashton said the budget is silent on the fate of the AHF. " The Conservative Government's 2010 Budget goes against the spirit of the historic apology made to Residential School Survivors by failing to extend funding for the Aboriginal Healing Foundation. If the Aboriginal Healing Foundation is being terminated it means the end of healing programs in communities in Northern Manitoba and across Canada".

Ashton has been leading a national campaign to urge the Government to extend funding beyond the March 31, 2010 cut off. "The AHF is an organization that has received praise for its programming and its governance. It is the only program of its kind - offering essential services at the grassroots level."

While excerpts in both the Throne Speech and the Budget held cryptic references to the Government's on-going commitment to Residential School Survivors, the Aboriginal Healing Foundation is not mentioned. Reports have illustrated the need for further programming as expressed by Survivors and their communities. "As the country becomes part of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission - Aboriginal peoples have been calling for the need for healing programming to follow this journey".

Ashton said she will be working along with Aboriginal leaders and her colleagues to urge the Government to further support the important work of the Aboriginal Healing Foundation. "It is not too late to do the right thing and save the Aboriginal Healing Foundation."