A debate over First Nations education on-reserve erupted on Parliament Hill this week prompting a Liberal MP to say on Nation to Nation “heads need to roll” if Indigenous Services bureaucrats don’t do a better job with money it’s been given.
Dan Vandal said the government has earmarked $2.6 billion over the next five years to improve education on-reserve.
“That’s why it’s more important than ever to have the administration, the bureaucrats that are doing the work necessary to make sure that those dollars are well spent, they’re accounted for, that we have the baseline data on where are now in education,” said Vandal, adding, “That we can easily recognize where gains are being made and where they are not being made because we need to know that.
“If they are not being made things need to change and it may be that heads need to roll if results don’t get better.”
The auditor general slammed the government in his May report over its handling of education on-reserve which NDP MP Charlie Angus brought up on Nation to Nation, that also prompted Vandal’s “heads need to roll” comment.
“The auditor general has called this government’s handling of education a quote ‘incomprehensible failure.’ That’s a pretty damning indictment. I would like to hear the minister say ‘heads are going to roll, we’re going to start replacing people,'” said Angus. “Put people in the department that actually understand education and have a proven track record of helping children, rather than just covering up whatever the government’s failures are.”
The federal committee on Indigenous Services addressed the issue Wednesday with bureaucrats fielding questions from MPs.
“It really hurts me when I hear, when I go into the constituency and I go on the reserve, and I hear a young person who has no place to live. The schools they go to is rundown and they don’t have enough equipment,” said NDP MP Georgina Jolibois who represents the people of Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River in Saskatchewan.
“Canada is a rich country. You ought to be ashamed of yourselves. This is really pathetic and it’s really upsetting to me.”