It is surely time for a serious, non-partisan, open-minded public policy discussion of the subject of Indigenous people. I believe there is a very strong consensus that everyone wishes them well; most people acknowledge that the native people have some legitimate grievances and want to address them, and almost everyone acknowledges that official policy in this area has been unsuccessful. And a great many people are tired of the issue and impatient for a change in the ambiance of ever-greater expense and more militantly expressed native grievances.
The federal Ministry of Indigenous and Northern Affairs spends approximately $10 billion per year, and there are substantial expenses in this area in some other departments and by provincial and territorial governments. There are about 1,500,000 Indigenous people, of all descriptions, in a Canadian population of some 36 million. Indigenous people are about two to three per cent of the populations of Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island, five to seven per cent in Newfoundland, Alberta, and British Columbia, around 15 per cent in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, and rather more than 50 per cent in the three territories combined.