Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Focus on education; no, really

  • Print

Everyone knows, and everyone has known for a very long time, that education is the key to lifting aboriginal Canadians out of poverty and into good-paying jobs.

Everyone also knows, and they have known it for a very long time, that spending on aboriginal education has been inadequate, and still is. The country actually spends less on aboriginal education than it does on schooling for everyone else, which, as many people have said for a very long time, is a national disgrace.

And yet there was something important that emerged from a meeting of retired political leaders and Winnipeg's business elite who gathered here Thursday to discuss the province's future.

They agreed the provincial outlook is grim unless an overwhelming effort is made to redress aboriginal poverty and, in particular, the sub-standard education system on reserves.

It wasn't so much what was being said, since it has all been said before, but who was saying it.

It's one thing for aboriginals and political advocates to talk about a problem, but when people like Hartley Richardson, Mark Chipman, Sandy Riley and other business leaders say the province's future depends upon a particular solution, well, people listen.

More importantly, these individuals have the influence and know-how to tackle a problem and get results. They have the ability to get inside the chambers of power in Ottawa and Broadway and raise a ruckus.

That doesn't mean government alone is the solution. As Mr. Chipman explained, it's unfair to expect the public service, with hundreds of competing priorities, to solve the aboriginal education issue on its own.

The private sector needs to play a role, too. Money helps, of course, but a more aggressive apprenticeship program to help First Nations people find jobs in business, banking and the trades, which some firms are doing already, is also essential.

Mr. Riley said the business group is counting on the province's aboriginal leadership to come forward with proposals and a plan, since ultimately the success of any initiative must be acceptable to First Nations themselves.

Winnipeg will be a centre for human rights education when the Canadian Museum for Human Rights opens next year, but it will be a major embarrassment if statistics continue to show the province, and Canada, have two classes of citizens and two standards of education.

Editorials are the consensus view of the Winnipeg Free Press’ editorial board, comprising Catherine Mitchell, David O’Brien, Shannon Sampert, and Paul Samyn.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 11, 2013 0

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Doug Speirs trains for role in Nutcracker

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A squirrel enjoys the morning sunshine next to the duck pond in Assiniboine Park Wednesday– June 27, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A Great Horned Owl that was caught up in some soccer nets in Shamrock Park in Southdale on November 16th was rehabilitated and returned to the the city park behind Shamrock School and released this afternoon. Sequence of the release. December 4, 2012  BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you think it's a good idea for Theresa Oswald to enter NDP leadership race?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google