First Nations education bill ‘on hold’ after AFN chief Atleo quits

"Grand Chief" Shawn Atleo of the AFN with PM Harper during Crown-First Nations Summit, Jan. 2012.

“Grand Chief” Shawn Atleo of the AFN with PM Harper during Crown-First Nations Summit, Jan. 2012.

Gloria Galloway, The Globe and Mail, May 5, 2014

The federal Conservative government is shelving its contentious proposal for revamping on-reserve education following last week’s resignation of Shawn Atleo as national chief of the Assembly of First Nations.

“With the support of the Assembly of First Nations, our government introduced historic legislation, the First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act in April,” a spokeswoman for Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt said on Monday.

“However,” she said, “given the recent resignation of the national chief, following today’s second reading vote, any further consideration of this legislation will be put on hold until the AFN clarifies its position.”

The government says the legislation, known as Bill C-33, provides the structures and supports necessary to help First Nations students reach their potential and become full participants in the Canadian economy.

But, even though Mr. Atleo was supportive of the measures and argued it was the best way to improve the dismal results currently being achieved by First Nations schools, chiefs representing the majority of First Nations from across the country vigorously opposed it.

They said it was a paternalistic effort on the part of the government to retain its ability to intervene in on-reserve education, while downloading liability onto the backs of the First Nations.

Members of the AFN executive are meeting Monday to determine the next steps for the organization following the surprise decision by Mr. Atleo to step down from the top job with more than a year to go in his mandate.

Posted on May 5, 2014, in Indian Act Indians and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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