Canada's Ministers of Education urged to endorse a Métis specific forum on Education and Training

TORONTO, Feb. 24 /CNW/ - At a meeting with National Aboriginal Leaders and Canada's provincial and territorial Ministers of Education (CMEC), Métis National Council Minister of Education, Robert Doucette called for Métis-specific solutions to educational challenges. 

He explained education funding should be responsive to the specific needs of Métis peoples and with 52% of the Métis population below 19 years old, it's time for Canada's governments to take action to ensure Métis don't continue to fall through the cracks. Doucette informed CMEC the Métis National Council recently received support from Honourable John Duncan, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Minister responsible for Métis and Non-Status Indians that if the provinces are willing to talk about a Métis-specific process then he's willing to be engaged in those discussions. 

National Aboriginal Leaders and CMEC all agree that the Federal government must be at the table to address the need to increase education funding for Aboriginal students - First Nations, Inuit and Métis. 

Minister Doucette says, "I'm encouraged that CMEC delegates have listened and that they are going to take our message forward to Minister Duncan.  The Ministers asked questions specific to Métis education and I believe they are sincere in their advocacy in wanting to ensure a huge segment of the Canadian population within their provincial jurisdictions are dealt with in an equitable manner."

Currently, there is an enormous gap between the number of non-Aboriginal people and Métis that attend post-secondary education - 18% versus 7%.  Doucette says our economy stands to make great gains if we can increase those numbers.

"Minister Duncan is aware of our issues and now, we all need to sit down at the table to ensure we're able to come up with solutions to educate our Métis population youth and how it engages them in the labour force moving forward in the 21st century," says Doucette.  "The fact of the matter is this country will prosper when Métis people prosper and I'm confident that message will be resonated loud and clear by the First Ministers to Minister Duncan."

A Métis-specific forum on education would address the need to revamp the K-12 system, examine ways of improving access to post-secondary education and look at providing support for Adult learners among other things.  Doucette says all Métis Nation governments needs to be at the table including the Métis Nation of Ontario, Manitoba Métis Federation, Métis Nation - Saskatchewan, Métis Nation of Alberta and the Métis Nation British Columbia.

The MNC represents the Métis Nation in Canada at the national and international levels. The Métis Nation's homeland includes the 3 Prairie Provinces and extends into Ontario, British Columbia, the Northwest Territories and the northern United States. There are approximately 350,000 - 400,000 Métis Nation citizens in Canada, roughly a quarter of all Aboriginal peoples in the country..

SOURCE METIS NATIONAL COUNCIL

For further information:

Robert McDonald,
Manager of Public & Political Relations
(613) 232-3216 ext 509
or (613) 292-8606 mobile

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