Harper tells AFN national chief no to new dollars for FN education or missing women inquiry - APTN National NewsAPTN National News

Harper tells AFN national chief no to new dollars for FN education or missing women inquiry



APTN National News
Prime Minister Stephen Harper told the new leader of the country’s largest First Nation organization during a meeting Wednesday Ottawa won’t make any major investments in on-reserve education without first obtaining the type of reforms outlined in the controversial First Nation education bill that is now officially dead.

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde said Harper told him the controversial Bill C-33 would not be introduced in the House of Commons, but the government also won’t be committing any major funds to education without major reforms.

“He did indicate that resources are tied to reform. He wants to see some reform in the educational system that he believes aren’t working,” said Bellegarde, in an interview with Nation to Nation host Nigel Newlove. “That has to be in place before any kind of resources move forward.”

The full interview with Bellegarde will air Thursday evening on APTN National News’ broadcast.

Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt said last year the bill had been put on hold after AFN chiefs rejected it. The former national chief of the AFN, Shawn Atleo, also resigned in the wake of the controversy around the bill. The government tied $1.9 billion in new education funding to passage of the bill.

Bellegarde said Harper did indicate Ottawa included a $500 million-over-seven-years component to its previously announced $70 billion infrastructure funding program.

Harper also refused to budge from his opposition to calling a national inquiry into murdered and missing Indigenous women, said Bellegarde.

“It was clear that they are still not supporting an inquiry and I said we are going to keep pushing for that,” said Bellegarde. “That is what is needed to educate people across this country.”

Bellegarde said he also spoke to the prime minister about resource revenue sharing, the need to move forward on treaty implementation, reform on comprehensive claims and the need for Ottawa to invest in revitalizing Indigenous languages.

“I told (Harper) once an Indigenous person is fluent in their language by 12, 13 years-of-age, they are more successful in school and more successful in life,” said Bellegarde.

Bellegarde also invited Harper to meet with chiefs during the AFN’s annual general meeting in July. The national chief also floated the idea of having a “working forum” involving the prime minister, select cabinet ministers and the AFN executive.

Harper was non-committal on most of the issues raised during the meeting, said Bellegarde, but officials from the Prime Minister’s Office and the AFN would continue to work on sorting out priorities.

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  • Ray Aguonie

    Why am I not surprised? Harper will spend $106,000,000.00 fighting FNs in court or loan $100,000,000.00 to Ukraine but will not help out the original inhabitants of this country. Our land and resources made Canada one of the richest nations in the world. Greed knows no bounds!

  • Guest

    Wondering where the good news is. This was a total waste of time. Nothing will change any time soon, and even if he did have some good news, would it turn out the same as Atleo? Would chiefs simply reject it? Looks to me like FN need to sort out who is speaking for them, and who is not before ANY kind of agreements can be made with AFN. Individual bands do better, and there are so many differences across the country that it is unlikely that an organization like AFN can make any agreements with anybody.

  • Ronald Allen

    Just the same old crap from Harper, and Bellegarde knows this scum will not deliver anything but rhetoric and party policy. Get Harper Out!!

  • Josh Manitowabi

    The AFN should start a movement to get all First Nations eligible voters to vote for the Liberal Party in the next Federal election. They are the only party that has a chance to beat Harper’s Government on the Federal level. Harper has got to go, if there is going to be any positive future for Canada and it’s First Nations people.

  • sylvia Ray

    Well, he won’t meet with the Premiers, so I wouldn’t hold my breath, Perry. The rest of it must come as no surprise to anyone.

  • http://KennethMcGrath.com/ Kenneth McGrath

    It’s almost like extortion, isn’t it? We don’t like your approach to education so we won’t honor the Treaties and fund your approach. We tried to impose our approach but that was met with too much criticism and we need to be re-elected, so we dropped that. So, if you want us to honor the Treaties and pay for Aboriginal education, you will have to work with us on that.

    Neo-colonialism continues with Stephen Harper. He will force the Dominion of Canada by means of funding because he knows that will entrap Aboriginal cultures, once again, within a system that continues to slowly grind away at the very nature of what makes them distinct, special, important, and respect-worthy.

    Shame on him. I’m so ashamed of this agenda.

  • Diane Michano-Richmond

    of course he would not commit he loves to give to foreign countries first before he helps our first nation he should be ashamed of him self that the state of our people especially in northern communities where they can’t even afford to eat.

  • are_tee_1

    Well, then we say , NO!! To them taking anymore of our trust moneys..

  • http://www.facebook.com/TonyRayneTooma tonyrayne tooma

    Stephen Harper won’t do anything special for AFN because he clearly dislikes ALL aboriginals.(Especially Pandas)

  • Thomasahawk

    This does not look good and what alternative do we have?