Former Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin in a conversation with former Saskatchewan Premier Roy Romanow. Photo courtesy U of S.

A former Prime Minister says Indigenous education is the single most important issue currently facing Canadians.

Paul Martin was in Saskatoon on Thursday speaking on Indigenous education at the University of Saskatchewan. Martin served as Canada’s Prime Minister from 2003 to 2006 under a Liberal Government.

At the U of S Martin spoke on the current state of Indigenous education across the country.

“I think there has been tremendous improvement over the years, but (Indigenous education) is still underfunded as is healthcare and child welfare,” said Martin.

When he was prime minister Martin was the architect of the Kelowna Accord, which sought to improve the education, employment, and living conditions for Aboriginal peoples through governmental funding and other programs. The initiative was scrapped by the Harper Government.

Since his time as prime minister Martin has been committed to several Indigenous education initiatives with some of his initiatives currently in place in northern Saskatchewan.

“We are at such an important point in our history and we have to do a lot better than we are,” he said.

When asked to comment on recent remarks from Saskatchewan’s Education Minister on Indigenous education this was his response.

“We have got a lot to learn in terms of the history of this country and in terms of the role that Indigenous Canadians have played and can play,” he said. “We just have to make sure Canadians are fully aware.”

Martin’s talk was the final in a series of three conversations with former Canadian prime ministers at the U of S. The series was a part of the university’s Canada 150 celebrations and included conversations with other former prime ministers Jean Chretien and Kim Campbell.