The Aboriginal population is growing at a rapid pace. In Quebec, there are 142,000 Aboriginals today, whereas in 2001 there were about 80,000. The problem with such growth is that Harper has cut the Aboriginal Affairs budget by $1.2 billion, even though in Quebec alone the Aboriginal population has almost doubled.
Aboriginal people are leaving reserves and moving to cities. Bill Namagoose, executive director of the Grand Council of the Crees, explains, “People are just leaving the reserve because there’s a major housing shortage and in some cases they don’t have access to the most basic services. When they leave, they lose their language, they lose their culture, and it hits them really hard.”
Winnipeg has according to the National Household Survey, the highest number of First Nations and Metis living in any city in Canada. There are 25,970 First Nations and 46,325 Metis residing there. The Aboriginal population is 16.7% of the total Manitoba population which is the largest per capita native population in Canada. The Metis population of Quebec is up by 48% the largest growth of Aboriginal people in any province. The feds have made the point that the work force in the western provinces will depend on Aboriginal people in the future to fill many of the positions that will available.