Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Cancel Anytime
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Shawn Atleo speaks at a news conference in Ottawa in May, 2014. Atleo is resigning as the national chief of the Assembly of First Nations. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

When Shawn Atleo quit his job as National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations last month, Ottawa's proposed overhaul of aboriginal education, which had been so close to success, seemed doomed. The Conservative government regretfully yanked the bill, citing the same resistance from some native leaders that fuelled Mr. Atleo's departure.

In recent weeks, however, cracks have appeared in the wall of opposition to Bill C-33. Several native leaders – from Meadow Lake Tribal Council and the Battleford Tribal Chiefs in Saskatchewan – have called on Ottawa to reintroduce the legislation. They argue there's no reason the bill's fate should hinge on Mr. Atleo's resignation, or the opposition of other native leaders, and they're right. "It is time that we get Bill C-33 back on track," said Chief Lori Whitecalf of Sweetgrass First Nation. Ottawa should listen to her.

Bill C-33 wasn't perfect, but it was better than the status quo. It would have improved the plight of native children at on-reserve schools by setting minimum education standards and increasing funding. The legislation, the end result of a four years' effort between Ottawa and native leaders, shouldn't be allowed to simply die on the vine.

Story continues below advertisement

Just 40 per cent of young adults living on-reserve complete high school, a number that hasn't budged in decades. Those poor educational outcomes are partly attributed to chronic underfunding. Bill C-33 offered to improve that with a new cash commitment of at least $1.9-billion. Some chiefs, however, took issue with what they viewed as the strings attached to the money. They objected to the minister of aboriginal affairs' authority to appoint nine educational professionals to a council that would oversee on-reserve education and help write regulations. Some believed the bill interfered with their claims of self-government.

Mr. Atleo supported the bill because he believed that boosting graduation rates was a way to equip the next generation for greater autonomy, both personal and political. Since Mr. Atleo's departure, the AFN has been adrift and education reform has been stuck. Reintroducing Bill C-33, with provision for bands to opt in or stay out, is one way to move forward. Individual tribal councils that still support the bill should be given the chance to sign on to the proposed legislation, claim their fair share of funding and offer native children the education they deserve.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies