During last week’s federal budget the government announced it would spend $250 million celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday in 2017.

Critics lashed out saying the government will spend more on the birthday party than on First Nations.

The Aboriginal Affairs Minister, Bernard Valcourt, spoke exclusively with MBC Radio saying the critics got it wrong with their mathematics.

“We have added in this budget close to half a billion, over $500 million for Aboriginal programming,” says Valcourt. “Which adds up to the $1.7 billion that the estimates clearly show will be invested in this fiscal year for education on reserve.”

Valcourt adds the government will use a different approach to reforming First Nations education.

“So we are going to work with the regions, with the provinces, with the Tribal Councils,” says Valcourt.

“With those First Nations that are willing to take the necessary step to ensure that there is an effective and efficient, good education system.”

Last year, the Ottawa shelved the First Nations Education Act following intense opposition from Chiefs across the country.