OTTAWA, April 3 /CNW/ - The Aboriginal education plan outlined by the
Liberal Party today is a necessary commitment to Aboriginal communities
across Canada. The Canadian Federation of Students has pressured the
federal government to meet its Treaty obligations and increase
financial support for Aboriginal post-secondary education.
"This plan represents a very significant commitment to closing the
participation gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians,"
said David Molenhuis, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of
Students. "It will reduce student debt and open doors to university and
college education for thousands of Aboriginal learners."
In addition to lifting the two per cent cap on the Post-Secondary
Student Support Program (PSSSP), Michael Ignatieff announced that, if
elected, the Liberal Party would:
add $100 million to PSSSP block funding;
create a Métis national scholarship; and
provide permanent funding for the First Nations University of Canada.
Between 1996 and 2006, the Aboriginal population in Canada grew by 45
per cent. However, funding increases to the Post-Secondary Student
Support Program (PSSSP), the main funding mechanism for Aboriginal
students, have been capped at two per cent. When the cap was
implemented in 1996, the PSSSP funded approximately 27,000 students. As
a result of population growth, tuition fee increases, and inflation, by
2009 the PSSSP funded only 23,000 students. Additionally, the federal
government currently funds Status Indian and Inuit peoples only,
leaving non-Status and Métis people without dedicated support.
"While the federal government has neglected its Treaty obligations for
many years, overcoming barriers to post-secondary education will
require more than funding increases," said Cassandra Opikokew,
Chairperson of the National Aboriginal Caucus of the Canadian
Federation of Students. "The Liberal Aboriginal Education Plan would
provide much needed support to thousands of students and make a
substantial contribution to breaking the cycle of poverty."
Founded in 1981, the Canadian Federation of Students is Canada's largest
student organization, uniting over one-half million students from all
ten provinces. The National Aboriginal Caucus of the Canadian
Federation of Students is the national voice of Aboriginal students at
universities and colleges in Canada.
SOURCE Canadian Federation of Students
For further information:
or to arrange an interview, please contact:
| David Molenhuis, National Chairperson |
Cassandra Opikokew, National Aboriginal Caucus Chairperson
| 613.218.3382 (cellular) |