OTTAWA – Following their visit to Kashechewan First Nation, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and NDP Critic for Indigenous Youth Charlie Angus (Timmins – James Bay) came back to Ottawa with a strong message for the Liberal government.
After witnessing the decrepit school conditions, Singh and Angus called on the federal government to immediately close the education funding gap for Indigenous children in Kashechewan First Nation, and for all Indigenous children. They also reminded the Liberal government of their duty to fully comply with the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings to end discrimination against First Nations children.
“There is a stark contrast between the big words the Liberals use to talk about First Nations reconciliation, and the reality on the ground in communities like Kaskechewan,” said Singh. “These schools are chronically underfunded and it’s the children who pay the price. No parent should accept conditions like these for their children, and we won’t accept it either.”
Recommendations to end the education funding gap for Indigenous children have been issued by the Auditor General in his report outlining the failure of the Liberal government to act in providing adequate schools and services. The report concluded that the First Nations educational attainment gap has widened despite overall improvement in high school graduation. A report from the Parliamentary Budget Officer pegs the gap between $10,000 and $15,000 per student annually, compared to what they would receive in provincial education systems.
“Kashechewan’s children need a safe, comfortable school to learn in, but the Liberals have failed to act and are forcing First Nations children to wait even longer for adequate schools,” stressed Angus. “Liberals can act now by ending the education funding gap, complying with the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings on discrimination against First Nations children and implementing the Auditor General’s recommendations to improve First Nations education.”