As former members of the Saskatchewan Métis Youth Advisory Council, which is a component of Cultural Connections for Aboriginal Youth (CCAY), we were concerned when we learned of the funding freeze to the CCAY.
The advisory council we were involved with discussed and debated proposals that were submitted to the CCAY, for funding. After reviewing the proposals, we recommended to Canadian Heritage which programs should be funded.
We all spent a three-year term on the council, meeting once or twice a year, and during that time saw the firsthand effects the program had on Métis and other youth across the province. The programming the CCAY was providing funding for benefited the youth tremendously and was enhancing their standard of living and long-term social and economic prospects.
Aside from youth who participate in the programs, the entire community benefits as well. Parents don’t need to be concerned about the safety of their children and can be comfortable knowing there child is away from criminal elements that linger in every community. The funding also provides a source to create high quality jobs where youth and young adults can network, be engaged in their community and learn new skills.
One of the most memorable moments during our term on the advisory council was a video sent to us from a program we had recommended for funding the year before. The children in the video thanked us for the support and released white, black, red, and yellow balloons, and wished for a peaceful and successful future.
We hope the federal government realizes there is more at risk with this funding freeze than saving some money. Sometimes it takes people (and governments) time to see that something’s are more valuable than money.
We, the former members of the Saskatchewan Métis Youth Advisory Council, respectfully ask the federal government to reconsider the funding freeze to Cultural Connections for Aboriginal Youth.
Stephanie Penner, Sarah Swark, Krystine Lamotte, Kristen Cote, and Derek Cornet.
Former members of the Saskatchewan Métis Youth Advisory Council