NDP CALLS FOR EQUITABLE FUNDING FOR FIRST NATIONS’ EDUCATION

Conservatives must commit to action on recommendations of joint panel education report

OTTAWA – New Democrat Aboriginal Affairs Critic Linda Duncan (Edmonton-Strathcona) is calling on the Conservative government to take immediate, concrete action on the recommendations of the report from the National Panel on First Nation Elementary and Secondary Education that was released today.

“The recommendations in today’s report are not a surprise. Countless reports – including multiple reports by the Auditor General – have called for action on First Nation education with little result,” said Duncan. “The fact is the gap between delivery of education to First Nations and non-First Nations students has widened. First Nations students should not be forced to wait any longer for their right to education to be honored.”

Changes have long been needed in funding so that First Nations students are funded at a level comparable with the general Canadian population. Improvements are also needed for education governance, and support for language and culture.

Duncan listed the existing 2 percent cap on funding and the lack of statutory funding arrangements as immediate priorities to be addressed.

“We cannot allow the Conservative government to continue to fail First Nations children,” said Duncan. “New Democrats call on the government to provide equitable funding for First Nation education in the upcoming budget as an important first step toward making Shannen’s Dream a reality and addressing this injustice which has been left unanswered for far too long.”