Liberals promise billions of dollars, and control of First Nations education

APTN National News
SASKATOON – Liberal leader Justin Trudeau is promising to spend $2.6 billion in core funding over the next four years on First Nations education.

In an announcement Thursday in Saskatoon, Trudeau said the money will essentially “close the gap” between education spending on and off reserve.

According to numbers from the Assembly of First Nations, on-reserve students receive on average about $3,000 less than children in the provincial system.

The Liberals are offering a similar plan to what the Harper government put on the table in 2014 but was rejected by the AFN.

Harper offered $1.9 billion in spending over seven years and would also eliminate the 2 per cent cap and replace it with a 4.5 percent cap.

According to the Liberal plan:

• Initial investment of $515 million per year in core funding for kindergarten to grade 12
• This will rise to $750 million per year by end of first mandate
• A new total investment of $2.6 billion over next four years
• Invest $500 million over next three years for immediate First Nations education infrastructure

The plan also has cash for post-secondary students. $50 million in additional annual support to the program that supports post-secondary students and a plan to get information about the program to students on reserve.

The Liberal plan also promises to work with residential school survivors, First Nations, the Metis Nation, Inuit communities, provinces, territories and educators to find ways for educational curricula across the country to incorporate Aboriginal and Treaty rights, residential schools, and the contributions of Indigenous peoples to Canada.

Chiefs rejected the Harper government’s planned Bill C-33 because they believed it gave Canada too much control over their education.

More to come …

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