TORONTO – ELECTION – Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day says”Yesterday’s Liberal party pledge to invest billions of dollars into First Nation education is a good start and calls on other party leaders to declare their First Nation platforms”.
Liberal party leader Justin Trudeau, who was campaigning in Saskatoon on Thursday, also promised that a Liberal government would begin “respectful and inclusive nation-to-nation” negotiations with First Nations leaders with the aim of reviving the Kelowna Accord.
Trudeau is promising a new investment of $515 million a year in core annual funding for education, which will increase to $750 million a year in subsequent years. He also promised $500 million over three years for education infrastructure.
Trudeau is saying the right things such as “closing the gap” and ensuring “nation-to-nation” and “not acting unilaterally” however Ontario Regional Chief Day thinks Trudeau’s campaign promises will addresses only a portion of what is required.
“It is unclear how the Liberal team came up with these numbers or whether they were identified by First Nations or First Nations schools. There are still a lot of questions that remain,” Regional Chief Day said. “The issue is and will always be First Nation control over First Nation education. The investment from a federal government must include this as a principle and unfortunately Trudeau’s announcement failed to address this fundamental issue.”
Regional Chief Day said that Trudeau’s announcement fell short of the urgent need to build and repair First Nations schools. The Chiefs of Ontario plan to be in contact with other federal parties to gauge their response to Trudeau’s announcement and will request their investment strategies on First Nation education.