Taxpayers' federation pitches solution to end First Nations poverty

The Canadian Press

OTTAWA - An influential lobby group says Ottawa needs to ditch the Indian Act and give First Nations more control over their land to end aboriginal poverty.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation has close ties with the federal Conservatives and its campaign to open up chiefs' books to the public was instrumental in recent legislation to publish salaries and benefits.

Now the group says the key to eliminating the cycle of poverty on reserves is for Ottawa to treat First Nations people like everyone else.

That means Ottawa should get rid of legislation such as the Indian Act, parts of the Criminal Code that allow for reduced sentences, as well as arts grants for aboriginals — while still respecting treaties and the Constitution.

The federation also says band members should be able to own their homes, and develop, lease or sell their reserve land without Ottawa's permission.