I would like to comment on the issue of skills development. I think this is a good example of a situation where caution is required. We are in an era of leadership skills development. Over the course of its history, Canada has often had a tendency to adopt cross-cutting policies without considering the special reality of Aboriginal nations and the Aboriginal peoples of Canada.
As regards leadership skills—we are obviously talking about empowerment and developing training programs that deal with domestic violence, for example—I don't think it's possible to apply the same strategy to all Aboriginal groups, because their socio-economic conditions vary considerably.
For example, you referred to monies made available under the strategy to address school dropout rates. But let's just close our eyes for a moment and imagine an Aboriginal child, or a very young teenager whose parents have alcohol and drug abuse problems and who has been living in a family where domestic violence has been a reality ever since he or she was a baby. Juxtapose that to repeated moves, changes of spouse, and victims of violence of all kinds. In terms of priorities, how can you expect a child to want to attend school regularly?
I know that comments like that are not popular. But combating poverty is complex. Combating the problem of underdeveloped structures in Aboriginal communities is complex. I believe that as long as their socio-economic circumstances are not enhanced, leadership and skills development will not really be possible. Of course, there are Aboriginal nations who have probably reached a stage in their development where they are able to produce leaders. There are some, and they are proud to be playing that role. We have to take inspiration from these leaders. At the same time, I think there is a need to be cautious in terms of applying this kind of strategy across the board.
In 2008, there are still people… I am thinking of a Quebec filmmaker, Richard Desjardins, who produced a film in Quebec in 2008—not in 1960, but in 2008—entitled The Invisible People. The film was intended to raise awareness among Quebeckers of the fact that there are Aboriginal people living in their province who still do not have electricity or clean drinking water. And we are now in 2010.