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Historically, Canada’s Aboriginal peoples have been disadvantaged and prevented from participating in the market economy by a series of restrictive laws and ineffective government policies.  As a result, many Aboriginal communities have lost their ability to control their destinies and have been excluded from the benefits of the economic growth and vitality enjoyed by the country as a whole.  Canada’s Aboriginal peoples face significant social, health, and demographic challenges that should be, and are, totally unacceptable in our society. Contrast the United Nations Human Development index ranking Canada in the top 5 in the world with the ranking of 78 for its Aboriginal people!  If left unaddressed, this economic gap will only increase as the working-age Aboriginal population grows at a rate 3 times the national average.  Furthermore, the annual cost of inaction, pegged by the 1996 Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples at $7.5 billion (1% of GDP) is expected to grow to $11 billion by 2016.