Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt says he is unwilling to start from scratch on proposed changes to First Nations education.

Valcourt said he is disappointed the Assembly of First Nations has walked away from its agreement with the government.

The changes have divided First Nations leaders, many of whom say the government is imposing too much control.

AFN Leader Shawn Atleo resigned earlier this month saying he had become a lightning rod of controversy for backing the bill.

Earlier this week, a special assembly of chiefs voted to reject the Harper government’s legislation and demanded the government negotiate a new education agreement that provides transfer payments to Aboriginal communities.

The resolution also seeks $1.9 billion tied to the original bill immediately, with a 4.5 per cent escalator until a new deal on education is reached.

Valcourt reiterates it is unfortunate the AFN has decided to walk away from the agreement but too much time and effort has gone into the bill to start over again.

He says the bill has already been retooled once before to include five key conditions needed to get the AFN’s support.

(The Canadian Press)