Mega report
Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples releases its findings

NNSL (NOV 22/96) - The most comprehensive report on Canadian aboriginal peoples was released yesterday in Ottawa.

Five years and $58 million in the making, the 4,000-page report makes 440 recommendations on all aspects of aboriginal life in Canada.

The report, "Agenda for Change," suggests the government's current efforts to resolve long-standing problems among aboriginal peoples are ineffective.

It recommends federal and provincial governments increase spending on aboriginal programs by between $1 billion and $1.5 billion annually over the next 20 years.

"The total cost of maintaining the status quo is one per cent of Canada's GDP," noted Assembly of First Nations Chief Ovide Mercredi. "This will get worse if we don't act now.

"That's the central message of the commission's report -- that by maintaining the status quo we'll be losing more as a country," he said.

Mercredi also discounted criticism of the cost of the report.

"Quite frankly, I'm tired of hearing this is the costliest commission of all.... On a per-capita basis the cost of this report is less than a twoonie -- that's not a lot for each Canadian to pay to find solutions to these problems.

"This report represents the best chance we have had in this century to offer hope to our people."

The commission was struck following the 1991 standoff between Mohawks and Quebec police and Canadian Armed Forces at Oka, Que.