Mr. Speaker, the National Association of Friendship Centres today profiles the good work that friendship centres do from coast to coast to coast and the need for an increase in their budgets.
Friendship centres are Canada's largest aboriginal service delivery infrastructure. They deliver effective, accountable programs and services to first nations, Métis and Inuit people, regardless of status or location. When it comes to urban aboriginal peoples, no other organization, program or policy has as much impact as friendship centres.
The Indian Friendship Centre in Sault Ste. Marie has grown by 50% in the last three years. It offers valuable programs for employment, healing, prevention, youth, families, nutrition, court and much more. The Sault centre needs funding to match its growth. There has been no increase in core funding since 1996. There has been nothing for inflation, population growth or changing demands.
I join with my colleagues on both sides of the House in calling on the government to include additional funding for friendship centres in next year's budget.