OTTAWA, ONTARIO (April 28, 2014) – The Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, issued the following statement today:
"Our Government has made reforming First Nations education a priority. This is a goal that we share with First Nations parents, teachers, students and communities across the country and I am pleased to see that, like us, the Assembly of First Nations has placed the needs of children first and confirmed that Bill C-33 is a constructive and necessary step forward.
As indicated in their analysis, Bill C-33 reflects and entrenches in law the five conditions for success identified by the Chiefs in Assembly last December. The Act would provide the structures and supports necessary to help First Nations students reach their potential and become full participants in the Canadian economy.
First Nations are best placed to know what their children need; that's why Bill C-33 would ensure that responsibility and accountability rests with First Nations for administration of their own education systems on reserve.
It would also put in place the mechanisms required to provide First Nation schools with stable, predictable and sustainable funding.
The introduction of this legislation comes after years of unprecedented dialogue and consultations with First Nations all over the country and the Assembly of First Nations, who identified a need for a better education system for First Nation children.
Let me be clear, the partnership does not end with introduction. As I made clear on April 10, I've extended an invitation to the AFN to work on a political protocol to establish exactly how the members of the Joint Council would be chosen with meaningful input from First Nations, and how the Joint Council would then work with First Nations to develop the Act's regulations.
I look forward to continue working in partnership with all First Nations towards the support of strong education systems on reserve that will lead to further success of First Nations students across Canada."
Office of the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
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