Wednesday, November 27, 2013

I'm No Expert On Aboriginal Issues ...

But I'm pretty sure that the Harper Government(tm) isn't doing it right.  

Carolyn Bennett has an excellent article on Huffington Post today on the subject in light of the most recent bunch of documents to be released from the RCMP's investigation into the Senate mess:
We now know the Conservatives' refusal to fund First Nations students attending school on reserves at the same level as their provincial counterparts is coming straight from the top. An internal PMO memo released as part of the ITO suggested language to the Prime Minister to reprimand the Conservative Leader in the Senate for not having better control over Senators and the work of Senate Committees. The memo specifically uses a Senate report calling on the government to "invest heavily in Aboriginal education" as an example of a failure to ensure "Government messaging and direction are followed." 
This is not just a shocking example of Stephen Harper's anti-democratic command and control style of government, but clearly demonstrates that the Prime Minister callously refuses to provide First Nations students with the equality of opportunity they deserve. The federal government only provides half to two-thirds of the per-student funding for First Nation schools compared to provincial schools and only one third of First Nations students are graduating high school. Rather than fixing the funding gaps highlighted by First Nations, the Auditor General and numerous other reports, the response of the Prime Minister is to simply clamp down on Parliamentarians trying to highlight the issue. Whether it is First Nations water systems, housing or education, the Conservative answer is to ignore funding shortfalls and download further responsibilities onto already underfunded First Nations with no additional resources.
 I don't know what the right answers are, but when our own government's internal communications is treating Canada's First Nations peoples as "adversaries", there is little chance that we will see meaningful reform and improvement of the lot of our First Nations under this government.

Canada deserves better than this, our First Nations deserve better.


the salamander said...

.. Stunning, shocking & illuminating proof that Harperism and Flanaganism are the current government's ideology & therefore its intent.

the salamander said...

.. and on second thought.. I'd sure like to hear questions about that memo raised in Question Period and also by the mainstream media !