Education for First Nation children (B)

That, in the opinion of the House, the government should adopt Shannen’s Dream by: (a) declaring that all First Nation children have an equal right to high-quality, culturally-relevant education; (b) committing to provide the necessary financial and policy supports for First Nations education systems; (c) providing funding that will put reserve schools on par with non-reserve provincial schools; (d) developing transparent methodologies for school construction, operation, maintenance and replacement; (e) working collaboratively with First Nation leaders to establish equitable norms and formulas for determining class sizes and for the funding of educational resources, staff salaries, special education services and indigenous language instruction; and (f) implementing policies to make the First Nation education system, at a minimum, of equal quality to provincial school systems.

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. friend, the member who raised and supports, as I do, this motion, again recognizing that my riding is in Saanich territory where there are four first nations that uniquely have something called the Douglas treaty, which we should be called upon to observe.

In this instance, I want to ask my hon. friend what he believes will be the kind of commitment that will make the difference to ensure that all first nations children receive the high quality education they deserve.

Fin Donnelly: Mr. Speaker, I want to comment on what Canada’s New Democrats or an NDP government would do. We would commit to removing the punitive 2% funding cap that exists today that focuses on the current inequities, which is what I think is holding back putting the funding into a quality education system for every aboriginal first nations child across this country. That is what we would commit to, that is what we have been asking the government to commit to and that is what needs to happen.

We have heard the parliamentary secretary and others comment on the funding that has been put into first nations education. What is recognized is that it is inadequate. We need the 2% cap removed so we can address the fundamentals that go along with education and address even the poverty issues that exist on reserves for bands across the country.