We need to do more to support education.
That has been my message as Member of Parliament for a region.
We have one of the youngest regions in our country. You would think that that there would be a major focus on education, particularly by the federal government. Instead students and schools and post secondary institutions continue to be underfunded.
A report from the parliamentary budget officer pegs the gap between $10,000 and $15,000 per student annually, compared to what they would receive in provincial education systems.
The results of this underfunding are clear. Overcrowded schools. Overcrowded classrooms. Schools in dire need of repair. A lack of options and supports for students.
It didn’t just happen. The underfunding is the result of deliberate government decisions, including the 2 per cent cap put in place by the Liberal government of the 1990s.
Recommendations to end the education funding gap for indigenous children have been issued by the Auditor General in his report outlining the failure of the government to act in providing adequate schools and services. The report concluded that the First Nations educational attainment gap has widened despite overall improvement in high school graduation.
We need to send a strong message to the federal Liberal government to immediately close the education funding gap for our students. They need to comply with the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings to end the discriminatory funding.
There is a stark contrast between the big words the Liberals use to talk about First Nations reconciliation, and the reality on the ground in communities.
The Liberals can act now by ending the education funding gap, complying with the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings on discrimination against First Nations children and implementing the Auditor General’s recommendations to improve First Nations education.
Education. It is key to our region’s future.
We need the federal government to act now to invest in our future, our kids.