The Aboriginal Affairs critic for the federal new democrats says if people think the federal government is backing off on its plans to impose a new first nations education act they had better think again.
In late November, Aboriginal Affairs minister Bernard Valcourt told an AFN youth meeting in Saskatoon that no final decision had been made on whether the act would be introduced in the house of commons.
The NDP’s Jean Crowder is convinced the legislation will be introduced next spring.
She says she put the question directly to Valcourt in the house of commons.
“And his response was not at all that they are backing off and I was at a committee meeting last night and we had the aboriginal affairs department before the committee and they were talking about the first nations education act and there was no sense from them whatsoever that they were backing off. It is still full speed ahead.”
Jean Crowder took part in a rally this week in Sudbury, joining first nations group in their opposition to the plan.
First nations students are funded at about 30% less than non-first nations students in public school systems.
The FSIN and other first nations groups including the assembly of first nations have long called on the federal government to close that gap.
The groups have also demanded more consultation on a new education act.
Crowder says if the Harper government was serious about meaningful change it would scrap the proposed legislation, start a new round of consultation meetings with first nations leaders and close the education funding gap.
She is not optimistic any of that will happen.