Aboriginal Canadians will be 'high priority' in budget: Morneau

Finance Minister has launched pre-budget consultations in advance of the Liberal government's first fiscal plan

Canada's Finance Minister Bill Morneau at a news conference in Ottawa, Canada, December 7, 2015. The new Canadian government's planned tax hike on the rich will bring in less money than forecast. A government document said the tax hike would bring in C$2.01 billion ($1.49 billion), while the cost of the tax cut would be C$3.44 billion ($2.55 billion). (Chris Wattie/Reuters)

Canada’s Finance Minister Bill Morneau.  (Chris Wattie, Reuter, file)

OTTAWA — The federal finance minister says the Liberal government’s vows to help Canada’s Aboriginal Peoples will be a top priority in the upcoming budget.

Bill Morneau says the new government considers its recent commitments to helping aboriginal communities to be critically important.

Morneau was asked about the issue today while fielding questions as he participated in an online forum with universities across the country.

He says Canadians gave the Liberals a mandate to follow through on their campaign commitments — although he acknowledges that Canada’s economic situation is worse than expected.

The Liberals made several key promises to indigenous Canadians that were not costed in the party’s platform — such as delivering on all 94 recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s probe of residential schools.

Morneau has launched pre-budget consultations in advance of the Liberal government’s first fiscal plan, to be introduced in the coming months.