I'm an accountant by training, for those who don't know. I came back to my community in 1987 and realized that we were all about program management. We weren't dealing with anything else. We didn't have any capacity. We didn't have any revenue streams. We couldn't go to the bank and borrow money. We couldn't respond to our needs. I started to realize very quickly that after however many years of the Indian Act, the relationship with Canada was not getting better. The gap was widening.
I had come from the private sector, and I realized very quickly that government was never going to be the long-term solution and that we needed to be able to have access to re-engage in the development of an entrepreneurial class within our society of indigenous communities to put us in a position where we would start to generate revenues for ourselves.
I think we got sidelined with the Indian Act. We weren't allowed to evolve or emerge as a government or as people, so all of a sudden it's become such a huge problem and nobody knows what to do. We're constrained by this notion that it has to happen within a fiscal budget with the federal government. That has to change to a recognition that we have to have private sector investment. We have to create a fiscal capacity in first nations to be able to go to the investment community and secure investments so the things we need can be provided for in an orderly way at a time of need and paid for just like other orders of government do.
With the creation of the First Nations Fiscal Management Act, we now have the mechanisms to support capacity development in our communities through the First Nations Financial Management Board and financial management systems. We can manage the tax system through the First Nations Tax Commission and we can go to the capital markets through the financial authority once we have secure revenue streams. We're now using our own-source revenue in that process as well.
Therefore, the mechanism is there. It's proven itself. You heard from the First Nations Finance Authority not long ago. They're shortly going to be at the billion-dollar range of funds raised and they got a AA credit rating. We've proved that it works, so my question to you is, what's the problem?
Let's get on with it. Give us these revenue streams, get government out of the way and allow us to manage ourselves. That takes a philosophical change at the government level and at the bureaucratic level.