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In a move that is a bit surprising — given tensions between Her Majesty’s Government and many First Nations — The Honourable Bernard Valcourt P.C., M.P. (Madawaska—Victoria), the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians, has announced that the controversial First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act is “on hold” while the Assembly of First Nations takes some time to articulate a position (in the wake of the sudden resignation of Shawn Atleo as National Chief of the organization).

Mr. Atleo had supported the Government’s new vision for First Nations education, but faced fierce opposition from regional chiefs throughout Canada who expressed concerns that the Government did not meet its duty to adequately consult with First Nations before moving ahead with the bill. The Government asserts, however, that it held seven consultative sessions throughout the country, and in fact included the five “demands” of the Assembly of First Nations with the bill tabled last month.

The First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act would, if enacted,
  • Provide $1.3 billion in new education funding over three years to First Nations (starting in 2016)
  • Have education funding flow directly to 600 First Nations (like with provincial school boards)
  • Create a Joint Council of Education Professionals to report to Government on First Nations education
  • Create inspectors to report to the Joint Council on adherence to First Nations education standards
  • Provide authority to Government to place a school under third-party management if standards not met

Source: First Nations eduucation act ‘on hold,’ minister says (CBC)