Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
Issue 12 - Evidence - October 27, 2010
OTTAWA, Wednesday, October 27, 2010
The Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples met this day at 6:48 p.m.
to examine the federal government's constitutional, treaty, political and legal
responsibilities to First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples, and other matters
generally relating to the Aboriginal Peoples of Canada (topic: issues concerning
First Nations education).
Senator Gerry St. Germain (Chair) in the chair.
The Chair: I call the meeting to order. Good evening and welcome to
all honourable senators and members of the public who are present for this
meeting of the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples.
I am Gerry St. Germain, originally from Manitoba but now from British
Columbia, and I have the honour of chairing this committee.
The mandate of this committee is to examine legislation and matters relating
to the Aboriginal peoples of Canada generally. Given this mandate, the committee
has undertaken a study to examine possible strategies for reform concerning
First Nations primary and secondary education with a view to improving outcomes.
Among other things, the study will focus on tripartite or partnership education
agreements, governance and delivery structures, and possible legislative
This evening, we will hear from two witnesses, both of whom join us from
points west. The West is best. We will hear from Dr. Larry Steeves, Assistant
Professor, Faculty of Education at the University of Regina, teaching in areas
including educational finance and organizational theory. Professor Steeves
completed a PhD in educational administration at the University of Saskatchewan
in 1991, specializing in organizational theory and behaviour, critical theory,
and teacher supervision and development. His current areas of research include
First Nations and Metis education, leadership development, accountability
frameworks, educational investment, and student learning. You are in the right
place. Possibly you can educate this Metis who is chairing this meeting. As
well, we will hear from Mr. Solomon G. Sanderson, Chairman, First Nations Forum,
First Nations Public Policy.
Before we proceed, I would like a motion, honourable senators, to circulate
Mr. Sanderson's presentation in one language only. It is in translation but,
unfortunately, has not been completed in time for this meeting.
Senator Stewart Olsen: I so move.
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Chair: Mr. Sanderson, your presentation will be circulated for
members so they can follow it while you present.
Gentlemen, we are not being televised tonight because of technical
difficulties, but it will not make any difference to the proceedings of the
Larry Steeves, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Education, University of
Regina: The last Metis individual I worked for was the Honourable Buckley
Bélanger, and I am not sure who educated whom. I learned a lot from Minister
I come here primarily as an educator. Most of my career has been in the
provincial K to 12 system. Along the way, I spent about 10 years working as a
civil servant with the Province of Saskatchewan. I think that experience shaped
my current research.
As a brief background, I was a teacher, guidance counsellor, rural K to 12
principal, director of education in a rural Saskatchewan school division and a
small urban school division for about 20 years. Along the way, I did a master's
degree in guidance counselling. My PhD was in restructuring issues with respect
to the Saskatchewan K to 12 system. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, we knew
the system was not sustainable, and my research looked into that. I worked for
the Saskatchewan Public Service Commission in the early 1980s. From 2002-07, I
worked as an Associate Deputy Minister of Municipal Affairs. That position was
important for a couple of reasons: it taught me about small communities and
capacity; and gave me the chance to work in Northern Saskatchewan, which was a
profound learning experience for me. I worked as Deputy Minister of the
Department of Northern Affairs. That time plus my time at Municipal Affairs plus
my time spent in the North working with Aboriginal peoples were transformative
for me. It helped me to understand in ways that I am still learning and will
learn to the end of my life in respect of the nature of the way that Canadian
society has dealt, in profoundly unfair ways, with our Aboriginal peoples. I
will not go any further on that. It has influenced the research I have done
since that time.
The research that I am primarily here to talk about tonight will focus more
specifically on the areas around feedback we heard from various focus groups
within the Yorkton Tribal Council area. Before I talk about that, I want to talk
about another piece of research that I and others did for the provincial
government that shapes my perspective and the perspectives of others with
respect to the areas of First Nations and Metis education.
We were tasked to do research by the provincial government looking at the
area of how we could improve student achievement. In the end, ensuring that kids
achieve success is what the educational venture is all about. It concluded based
on our research review, that it was important that there be a focus on learning
in the classroom and that we focus on systematic approaches to student
assessment. The other piece that was more thought-provoking and created more
discussion, and is still creating discussion while the province decides how to
respond to our report, was that schools are only part of the solution to the
kind of issues we are talking about here.
If you want to talk about the explained variance that deals with student
achievement, schools, the research would suggest, deal with 15 per cent to 20
per cent of the explained variance of future student success. Inherited ability,
some people use the word genetics, explains about 50 per cent. Current research
suggests that early intervention can affect that 50 per cent in helpful ways,
but that is a discussion of its own. The remaining 30 per cent to 35 per cent is
explained by socio-economic status, family status, community ethnicity and
gender. One of the messages from our research was the importance of the
Our research reinforced the importance of alignment. You will not get there
just by talking about the classroom and teachers in classrooms, even though that
is what I am talking about tonight. You have to look at the alignment of the
family, the community and other issues around ethnicity. Only if those things
are aligned properly, which is a much larger social policy discussion, will you
achieve the kind of success that I think is necessary. Issues of poverty and
disadvantage become hugely important in this discussion. I will not talk more
about that tonight. I am curious to know what our provincial government will say
in terms of our recommendations in that regard. I fear we will get a narrow
focus on student achievement. If you wish to be successful in terms of the
future student achievement of kids, you have to take into account all of those
areas; but I will talk about a narrower focus of education this evening.
As my friends in the North would say: How did a White guy from the South end
up doing this kind of research? I think it had to do with the learning that some
of those same people had in helping me to begin my personal voyage in terms of
understanding some of the issues. It also had to do with running into a
colleague who had grown up in the First Nations education system, who was in it
all his life, and who believes passionately in the First Nation education system
and in building bridges between the provincial and First Nations education
systems. He would not say it because that would be controversial and he is a
kind man, but the provincial system has not done a great job of encouraging
student learning with Aboriginal kids, in particular First Nations kids.
My belief, in particular with respect to First Nations education, has been
that for families that remain in their home communities, the First Nations
system would be the most effective in supporting the kind of student learning
that needs to occur.
We started this research when I was out teaching a class on organizational
theory to a group of students in the Yorkton area. Don Pinay, then Director of
Education for Yorkton Tribal Council, came in to do a presentation. It was a
profoundly wonderful presentation and did great things for my students. He had
been home with the flu but he still came to present. I said, "Don, you cannot
keep doing what you are doing. You will die from exhaustion if you keep this
up." He said, "Larry, we do not have any resources. We are doing what we can
with what we have." We set out to look closely at this.
A bunch of folks volunteered to help with the research, and the University of
Regina, Saskatchewan Instructional Development Research Unit, SIDRU, provided
funding. The unit is connected to my faculty, to the Ministry of Education in
Saskatchewan and to Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. I have phase one of the
original study with me tonight. I will leave it with the clerk of the committee.
Along with Sheila Carr-Stewart, Jim Marshall, Joe Pearce, Heather Ryan,
Maurice Jago we set out to do the research for this original study. We wanted to
look at some of the pieces that we thought were important around the context of
the issue, at some of the governance issues and at the treaty commitments.
I looked at some of the key factors affecting student achievement with First
Nations, Metis and Inuit kids. A colleague of mine from the University of Regina
looked at connecting second level services, as they are termed in First Nations
country, and how that supports improved student learning in the classroom.
Jim Marshall, who is a research associate with the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate
School of Public Policy at the University of Regina and University of
Saskatchewan, looked at what the funding looked like and then a few other people
looked at the issues around restructuring. There was a sense from people that
there was a probably a need to begin thinking about educational restructuring in
First Nations education and they wanted a piece that talked about learning from
the provincial restructuring system and what that had meant. That was the core
area in terms of our research.
This was pretty much all volunteer work; people did this for expenses only.
As one of my colleagues said, this is a chance of doing something that might
help students in the classroom rather than publishing a journal that few people
read. For that reason, her work was done pretty much pro bono but she felt it
In terms of the kinds of issues that the research indicated relate to student
achievement, my research indicated that there are a number of key areas. I would
say, by the way, that this research is increasingly paralleled by other work
being done by other organizations. In my opinion, that is very good news. About
five or 10 years ago, we did not know what we needed to do. Now we do and now we
need to do it. I have had other colleagues in British Columbia do similar
research and get similar results. What you see here is another example of the
literature turning up consistent pieces of findings in terms of what needs to
happen if we are to improve student achievement.
The first issue is strong leadership and governance structures. There is no
question that governance is an issue that comes to the floor quickly when you
begin to talk about what needs to happen in terms of K to 12 education. The
literature talked about that.
With respect to language and cultural programs, similarly, the research in
general direction makes the point that there needs to be a focus on language and
cultural programming. Some of the research suggested that kids who started
school in their own home language and who learned within a cultural tradition,
did better as they evolved into an English and immersion program as opposed to
kids who started in an English program. We looked at children in grade 4. That
speaks to the fact that there is a strong place to bring language and cultural
programming into the situation.
One of the key issues is how to do that. Frankly, there is no question from
my experience as a teacher/educator that in the province of Saskatchewan, it is
difficult to find teachers with that cultural and language background.
Increasingly, systems are beginning to look at innovative models where they are
using elders. Regina public, for example, was here speaking to you a while ago
concerning some of the work they are doing with elder programming. There is no
question that some of the issues around innovative use of elders and other
community resources are important. I do not think we can find the teachers right
now that we need in those areas.
With respect to teachers, instruction and curriculum, it needs to be
culturally relevant and it needs to be good teaching and good curriculum just as
it occurs in every other situation. The same is true of effective schools, where
the First Nations or otherwise the research in those areas are pretty consistent
and I suspect you will have heard about that as well.
Community and parental influence is another key area. Due to the pernicious
effects of community schools, it is a challenge for many jurisdictions to get
parents into schools. It is difficult enough from my experience in the
provincial system where you have the unfortunate history of the First Nations
education. It gets even harder. We will talk more about that.
With respect to student characteristics, I will not speak much about this
other than to indicate that students who did well were students who were strong
psychologically, et cetera. You will know this from your own experience.
Assessment linked to instruction and planning is always a controversial area;
certainly it is in my province. The research is clear that if you do not know
where you want to go, you will not likely get there. An appropriate use of
assessment was key. Much of the research made the point that effective First
Nation and Aboriginal schools in the provincial system or otherwise really used
it as a planning device for their building, for their system, for their school
and for individual classrooms and kids. Really, that kind of work is critical in
terms of if we are to make this work an assessment has to be there.
Appropriate level of funding was another issue. There is a mixed discussion
around this one. It is an article of faith in First Nations country that the
funding is inadequate. I would like to say that is true. Much of the research we
found supported that fact; a suggestion that the funding was inadequate. Other
research I found — some of it fairly recent research — would suggest that
funding is not the primary issue. Some of the structural issues are at least as
important. That was the kind of research we did in that area.
When we began to look at the area of second level services, we had a lot of
support from the provincial system. People want to do the right thing if they
can here. There is a large First Nations population in the Prairie Valley School
Division, which is a suburban system that sits around the city of Regina and
goes out east to include much of the Qu'Appelle Valley. We used this group as a
comparator for central office or second level services. We also used the
province. I cannot tell you how complex that got because the budgeting systems
are not the same, but we got to where we got to.
What do we mean by second level services or central offer services? We mean
curriculum and instruction, supervision, school psychologists, speech
pathologists and therapists, department heads, IT and a variety of other kinds
When we went into this research, we were grateful to Prairie Valley School
Division, which did a lot of the research for us and gave us their results, and
we lined that up with provincial and the YTC, Yorkton Tribal Council data. What
did we find? This is a paper all on its own that we are still working on. We
found that consistently, both with respect to the Prairie Valley School Division
and also to the provincial comparison, second level services in Yorkton Tribal
Council were less than what the province received. The number we got was 280
versus for the Prairie Valley School Division of about 379.
There are a couple of issues. One is the structure that INAC provides for
funding and the way that bands individually interpret that as well has meant
that there is not the kind of funding available for those second level services
that we would assume is typical in most provincial systems. I suspect you will
find the same thing if you look at other provincial comparators.
As we ran the numbers and did some comparisons, it also took us to a place
that began to talk about the value of a regional approach to the delivery of
services. We concluded that individual band schools on their own, even with a
somewhat structured system of Yorkton Tribal Council, could not be as effective
as they might be on their own with respect to the provision of second level
services. They needed a larger regional delivery support system in place.
Without that, you would not have the same access to the kinds of services at any
kind of cost-efficient basis. The cost per student if you get to a bigger system
to get to the kind of level of services you want can be provided more
effectively if you spread the costs out over a larger area.
Our conclusion was that we were beginning to make an argument for a regional
delivery model, which was a controversial topic area and we did not go there.
The research is there and that it does begin to make the case from a financial
delivery point of view that there is good value in considering the approach that
is a more regional delivery focus. That is a whole discussion of its own and the
committee will be at least as familiar as I am of the implications of that
That is what we did at first. Our plan was to go out and do focus groups with
teachers and administrators. We just did not get to it. We did not get research
ethics approval in time, but when we did, we wanted to broaden it. We wanted to
get a good sense of what a broader range of community participants within
Yorkton Tribal Council would have to say about the issues surrounding second
That is what we set out to ask about, but that is not what we really got. We
got, "These are the things we think we need in our system." We did not get the
feedback we set out to get. I think what we got was probably more valuable than
what we set out to get.
Interestingly enough, the feedback from elders, parents, the focus group in
each case, students, teachers, school administrators and the elected officials
pretty much aligned with the earlier research I referred to in terms of what
constitutes characteristics of effective student achievement, or what you need
to do. For me, it was encouraging that when you go out to talk to real live
people, in this case the Yorkton Tribal Council, their feedback lined up with
the kind of feedback we were getting from the research.
What did they have to say? Here are the areas they identified. These are
organized not necessarily in areas of focus and priority, but I think that they
just capture some of the areas we went through.
Appropriate levels of funding: There is no question that First Nations people
believe very strongly that they are inadequately funded. I think they are right
although I cannot point to research that would necessarily, in a consistent
direction, support that. My own sense is that provincial versus First Nations or
Aboriginal comparisons are not necessarily comparing apples and oranges. Going
back to what I talked about in terms of issues around poverty and disadvantage,
that 30 per cent to 35 per cent of the explained variance, talks about community
and family. Some of the challenges that we visited and helped visit on First
Nations communities have meant that probably there is a greater need for a
disproportionate amount of funding relative to provincial schools.
Improved levels of second level staff: There is no question that they wanted
more and better services from the Yorkton Tribal Council. They talked a lot
about community and parental influences in an interesting kind of way. These are
parents and elected officials and teachers on the ground, and they look at the
world from different optics than I was expecting. It was a learning experience
Language and cultural programs: There is no question. They think it is
critical. Particularly the elders but others as well said, "We really do need
Good curriculum, well taught, was hugely important to them. An issue we had
not anticipated, and that is what my discussion will focus on, really related to
the issues around teachers and teacher retention. That came through loud and
clear from students, teachers, and administrators and, to a lesser extent, the
Issues around leadership and governance came through from most groups. Elders
spoke about the pernicious effect of politics on the system and that they had to
get politics out of education.
In terms of the first area, appropriate levels of funding, we pretty much
covered that, but they did think there was not enough money in the system.
The second area is improved levels of second level support. They really felt
there needed to be more of everything. They talked about speech pathologists,
social workers, qualified career and guidance counsellors. They saw those as
basic in nature and felt they needed to be enhanced, given the needs of their
communities and schools.
There was interesting feedback on community and parental influences. I still
remember a young fellow who was one of the elected officials on the educational
commission for Yorkton Tribal Council. His comment was that parents need to look
after their own kids for a change. This was a bit of a shocker for me, frankly.
It was not what I was expecting. I got that feedback from students, teachers and
other focus group people too.
In one case, I actually asked, "What about the residential school issue?" The
educational commission was brought up by one individual, but the rest did not
bring it up. Finally, with parents who were not bringing it up, I did. I said,
"What about the residential school impact?" I think this speaks volumes about
the challenges and the heartache and dislocation that that these communities
have gone through. One young woman talked about Lebret residential school, which
was a pretty good residential school. Her older brothers had attended that
school and she said to me, "You know, they learned a lot of things at the
residential school that I am not teaching my kids now in terms of values and
approach to work and so on, and I think we miss that." She went on to comment
that her older brother was sexually abused as well, and that was not good. I
thought this family has to carry all of these things with them, and I think it
speaks to the kind of — I will use the words "pernicious" affect of the
These parents and many of these elected people were people in their 20s and
30s, and I think they took some of those things for granted. The people who were
older spoke more about some of the issues. It was very interesting in terms of
community and parental influences. Basically, parents need to do a better job of
parenting. Kids were staying, "So-and-so dropped out of school, and his parents
did not do anything for him. Why are parents not doing what they should be
doing?" I think that speaks to the whole tragedy around residential schools, but
it was interesting in how it was framed by many of these people.
There is no question that the area of language and cultural programs is
hugely important. I believe that you create a cultural enemy is a young person
cannot grow up to understanding his or her background, language and culture, and
feel proud and connected to it. The alienation is hugely dangerous for that
person and people around them. Many of the issues we are running into with young
people in First Nations speak to that sense of belonging nowhere. If you can
root these kids in their own culture and language and have them move from that
place, you create a degree of pride and whatnot that, in the long haul, will
serve everyone's needs.
They want broader and more effective school programs in their curriculum and
instruction. I could walk into many of our provincial schools and hear many
similar things. Parents, teachers and administrators want more. That is how it
works. I heard some of that here, but probably to a greater extent, because some
of the resource supports that these folks deal with are frankly a lot more
pressing than what I see when I go into a provincial school. They want added
support in math and science, libraries — I know the school library was in bad
shape in one school we visited — literacy programming, preschool language
development programming, anti-bullying programs and more focus on
extra-curricular activities. These are things that every school needs, but First
Nations schools need more. At this point, I think they have less, not more, from
what I have seen.
The issue of teachers and teacher retention was the shocker. I did not find
this in the research. In one sense, I thought that during the course of nearly
20 years in the field of education I should have known this. I knew it
anecdotally from other teacher educators and during my work around First Nations
education. It was in the research, and I did not get it until the students
started it. It was a group of grade 9 and 10 students, about a dozen to 15 of
them. They were all girls save one boy. All of the rest of the boys were no
longer in school. Why was that? Well, drugs, all sorts of issues. If you want an
example, I think, of some of the tragedy that surrounds First Nations education,
that focus group in one sense got it. None of the boys except one were there.
They had dropped out of school and they were hanging out. We will not have an
effective or positive future for these young men in particular, aside from the
others, if we cannot keep them in school and keep them actively involved, and
they were all gone.
Who were the others kids, the academics? The girls, of course. Senators are
aware of the research in that area. Women do better than boys in education,
increasingly, and that was clearly the case. They were crystal clear as only a
group of 14, 15 and 16 year olds can be about what they wanted. They wanted
teachers that knew what they were doing, were good at it, and came and stayed at
the school. "They wanted teachers who were well qualified with experience and
the ability to make the subject content interesting. They commented that
out-of-province teachers were often quiet and not as good as they could be."
I asked them about Aboriginal teachers, because they were not bringing up the
issue of Aboriginal teachers, which I think is a huge issue. We need to be
looking more actively at programs and more seats to support FNU, First Nations
University, in Saskatchewan, and our teacher education programs, and we call
them TEPS in Saskatchewan, that educate Northern students, Metis students and
First Nations students.
These students, however, said that they do not care whether they are First
Nations or not. They want to know that they are good teachers, that they know
their subject content, that they know how to teach well, and that they make it
interesting. The students want to know that the teachers will stay, which is a
problem. The students told us that good teachers do not stay. They had a really
good science teacher but he was stolen away, and the Yorkton Tribal Council
hired him as their IT consultant. They said he was the only good teacher they
had in a long time.
This is the kind of feedback we got from a group of 15 and 16-year-old
students — crystal clear feedback. I walked out being more charged about needing
to do this kind of work than I have ever felt at any time in my career.
Administrators talk about the need for improved teacher retention rates. The
turnover in First Nations education is high. There is also a need for greater
security and protection. Teachers talked about security and protection issues.
They talked about the need to make the job attractive to hire the best people;
the need for longer contracts that would provide greater job security, thus
reducing staff turnover; and the impact of local politics on job retention. They
talked about some teachers of First Nations ancestry leaving a community because
of the local political dynamic between certain families and elected officials.
We have continued to do research around this area. I think it is fair to say
that the one-year contract is typical in this setting. That type of contract has
its own sets of joys. A friend of mine is a retired superintendent from the
provincial system who is now working in First Nations education. His comment was
that teachers are spending so much time looking over their shoulders that they
are not focusing on working with the kids in classrooms. We must deal with that
huge controversial issue.
There are issues around pay, although I did not come here to talk about
finances. That is part of it, but I do not think that is all of it. Bands
struggle to get teacher salaries up to where they are. That is a difficult issue
in First Nations communities because, when everyone else is working at a level
of salary that is very low, teachers are resented. This is true of many
provincial rural schools as well, but that is certainly true in spades with
I understand you do not want to pay them that much because I am not making
that much. As my father the farmer used to say, "You make too much money; I am a
farmer I do not make that kind of money." I understand the dynamic, but good
teachers leave because they can go somewhere else and make that kind of money
and get better benefits. That is a challenge. I know the salaries range from
provincial grid to salaries that are sometimes substantially less and benefits
range from being very good to non-existent.
One band was under trusteeship, and had fallen behind in its payments. The
First Nations organization they worked with to provide welfare benefits cut them
off because the band was not paying its bills and so they did not have any
benefits. That issue of teacher and teacher retention is what I want to talk to
you about tonight.
The third area is leadership and governance. This got a lot of discussion as
well from teachers, administrators and elders, interestingly enough. I think the
need to have a greater degree of separation between school educational
operations and some of the other issues came out. One principal made the comment
about a need to separate church and state. I think that is rather a strong
comment, but there needs to be an understanding and a greater degree of
understanding of the need to create a separate locus of control in the
educational area, and I will speak only to that area. When politics change, and
thank God we live in a democracy and change does come on occasion, it does not
blow up the whole world when it happens.
I have a young niece whose significant other is a First Nations fellow, a
really nice young guy. One of his parents is a social worker and the other is a
teacher. The band council changed, the chief changed, and they both were fired.
You cannot have stability when those kinds of things happen over time.
Solomon G. Sanderson, Chairman, First Nations Forum, First Nations Public
Policy: Thank you, Senator St. Germain, and honourable senators. Thank you
for the invitation, and thank you for agreeing to receive my written
presentation in English only.
I understand and appreciate the mandate you have is limited to kindergarten
to grade 12, and the many witnesses that you have had focused on the academics
and administrative arrangements affecting education.
I want to take the time to examine the state of our nations and the
conditions related to the communities and the people affected by the past,
present and future policies. In particular, I want to focus on the plans and
strategies affecting Canada-First Nations relations, and the treaty
My presentation will examine the broader picture of the political,
legislative and fiscal agenda. People hesitate to deal with that in terms of
jurisdictional matters as they impact on First Nations jurisdiction, First
Nations governments and First Nations law, but we must be prepared to deal with
The agenda will focus on the implementation of an Indian traditional
contemporary education system that includes the First Nations world view,
philosophies of the respective First Nations and how it is included in the
educational system from K to 12.
In the plans and strategies, of course, we need to examine the Canadian
colonial policies for Indians as they affect the current conditions and the
jurisdictional and fiscal disputes.
The recommendations will focus on a political agenda that includes a
legislative fiscal agenda, items respecting federal government, First Nations
government and legal, political parties to the treaties 1 to 11. If we are going
to talk governance, we cannot avoid talking jurisdiction and law.
When we look at Canada's policies, past and present, in terms of the colonial
policies, there is an addendum attached to your document at tab 2. First, the
Empire colonial policies of 1830 were known as the 1830 detribalization
policies. These are not new. These are not old. These are the current policies
being implemented today. The objectives of these policies are assimilation,
integration, civilization, Christianization and liquidation. Who did they target
with those policies? I am talking about the Empires of England, Spain, and
France and so on, implementing these policies worldwide on indigenous and
Aboriginal peoples of various countries.
First, they targeted the destruction of family units, our family units. They
targeted the extended families, communities and societies of our nations. We
must acknowledge that the English common law and legal system impacting on
Indians today is still based on these objectives of the 1830 detribalization
All parties support Canada's colonial policies. There is not one party that
does not support these policies in forming governments provincially or
federally. Nobody is exempt from implementing these policies.
The plan to liquidate Canada's Indian problem within 25 years was focused on
trying to eliminate and carry out the objectives of the 1830 detribalization
policies. It was targeted at terminating our numbered treaties, treaties 1 to
11, and continues to target the destruction and termination of our societies and
our family units. I can go on and list for you the plan that was initiated at
that time to transfer Indian education, health and social development from
federal to provincial jurisdictions.
I was selected in 1956, at 15 years old, by elders and leaders to go to speak
to that issue at that time. I have spent 50 years in Indian politics. I was
taught and told, and I learned, that politics is in everything.
These are some of the policies that govern the politics of education today,
as it impacts on the current education system and Indian people. That policy was
initiated and drafted by a university professor, and was adopted as public
policy in Canada. Regarding the 1969 white paper policy, you know that was
Trudeau Liberal policy. However, every party adopted that policy for
implementation. The specific targets were the termination of the special rights
of Indians, the special status of Indians and the special and unique programs
for Indians. The first generation devolution policy was designed to implement
How were the policies implemented? They were to be implemented through
amending existing laws or constructing new laws. The 1974-76 native policy was
designed to replace an Indian policy. It resulted in seeing Indians, Metis and
Inuit being hired in the front desks of governments as people who would promote
those native policies versus Indian policies.
The 1980 Buffalo Jump policy, a Mulroney Conservative policy, implemented the
second-generation devolution policy based on 1830, 1969 and 1974-76 policies.
That second-generation policy targeted the further termination of special rights
and status of Indians, special rights and programs for Indians and the
integration of education, health and social services for Indians under
provincial law and jurisdiction.
These policies have caused major problems. In addition to targeting family
units and the destruction of family units, the target was to eliminate our
jurisdictions, governments and laws. The target was to take total control of our
people in our societies and our governments in every sector.
When you have a society that loses that degree of control in every sector,
you have to look at the conditions that have been created in the form of
symptoms resulting in high suicide rates, low employment rates and loss of
economic opportunity. These symptoms are listed in the document before you. I
will not detail much more respecting those policies, but that is what is
governing Canada's relationship with Indians today.
When you look at that whole process, those policies are now integrated in the
education system, the social development system and the child and family
services system. We speak of the residential schools. In Western Canada today,
27,000 Indian children are under provincial care. These children have been taken
out of family homes and communities.
The policies are included in the economic system where we have economic
sanctions that have been there for years and still exist. These policies can
still be found in the justice system.
When we look at the history of our education system, we see a policy of
assimilation, integration, civilization, Christianization and liquidation. This
has been the main focus in the education system.
We need to teach our children about the inherent rights and titles we have as
First Nations, the inherent rights and powers for self-government and
self-determination. An addendum on tab 3 speaks to those inherent rights.
Associated with each of those inherent rights are duties and responsibilities
that we have individually and collectively as Indians. We must include them in
the teachings, not just in our homes, but also in the schools and the other
systems that I spoke of in terms of the sectors.
When we look at the whole strategy, then, of inherent rights, we must
acknowledge that the Creator grants those inherent rights to us. I am a Cree and
born a Cree. No one will change that. I inherit my rights from generation to
generation. We talk about man-made rights in terms of human rights and in terms
of Aboriginal rights. Today, the Aboriginal policies are being used to terminate
the special status of Indians, special rights of Indians and special programs
and services for Indians. We have the responsibility to develop plans and
strategies of our own and implement our inherent rights by sector, including the
education sector and K to 12 education.
When we look at the whole process of the powers of governing, the legal and
political framework of governance in Canada-First Nations relations lawfully and
politically recognizes our powers to determine our own form of government; our
own laws; our own justice system; and our own internal, external and
In terms of treaty making, I am a spokesperson for Treaty 6. When we talk
about inherent rights and treaties, we never came to the table with the Crown's
representatives to negotiate all of our rights. Inherent rights are reserved,
recognized and confirmed by treaty making and by treaties, and we can show you
There are a number of international treaty agreements. The national powers of
treaty making are recognized as powers of governments of First Nations from
treaties 1 to 11.
In the treaties, we do not and never did authorize the Crown, Parliament or
federal government to determine the form of our governments, our citizenship and
membership and the status of our lands reserved by treaty making and the
treaties. The sovereignty of our nations remains intact in the title to our
lands and resources under the treaties. I am speaking about treaty 1 to 11.
I included the articles from the treaties that identify the treaty rights to
education and the Crown obligations respecting Indian education. Your own
definition of school includes preschool, kindergarten to grade 12 and
post-secondary education with skills, trades and professions in colleges and
universities. Those inherent treaty rights must be included in the curriculum
for kindergarten to grade 12.
Now we move on to the framework governing First Nations Canada treaty
relations. Your own courts have recognized First Nations sovereignty. Your own
courts have declared that you must provide for reconciliation and how First
Nation societies and our treaties are impacting Canadian sovereignty. Addendum
4, tab 5 charts out that relationship. It is a framework governing First Nations
relations as governed by rights and treaties and the Royal Proclamation of 1763;
the Constitution Act, 1982; and international law.
You all know that. However, since 1982, there has been a requirement to
develop new legal and political institutions and structures of governments. That
has not happened and that needs to happen.
This type of teaching must be included in the curriculum of kindergarten to
grade 12. This is the lawful political recognition of inherent rights, treaties
and treaty rights under the Constitution of Canada. However, we still find
ourselves in court and in disputes against laws that violate these
constitutional rights. These laws were put in place by the federal and
provincial governments. Why do we have to be battling that field when those were
constitutionally recognized and protected in 1982?
In addition, this lawful and political framework establishes bilateral
government-to-government relations between the Crown and the governments of
I want to highlight some of the other relations included in that recognition
of the political and treaty relations. It provides for the recognition of
political relations, and recognizes the equality of governments, jurisdiction
and laws and courts respecting First Nations government, the federal government
and the provincial governments. You already have the English common law and the
French civil code in the country of Canada, and two different forms of
government. The United States has tribal government, state government and
federal government. In 2010, we should be moving forward with that type of
strategy and ridding ourselves of all the economic fiscal intimidation that I
will speak to later.
The Crown and First Nation treaty relationship has to be addressed fully
because we have a lot of unfinished treaty business. You have given legal effect
to the modern day treaties, like the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement,
and you have passed the Cree-Naskapi (of Quebec) Act here in Parliament and in
the Senate. You recently passed a Nisga'a act, giving legal effect to the
However, you still do not have legislation giving legal effect to Treaty 1 to
Treaty 11. Why? When we talk about teaching, those things have to be taught.
We just finished a Treaty 1 to Treaty 11 gathering in Regina. At that
gathering, we talked about our plans and strategies to implement our inherent
rights and treaty rights by sector through our laws and jurisdiction. We
discussed establishing our forms of government.
We looked at the area of implementing the relationships respecting already
recognized judicial relations. We can establish a community based inter-tribal
traditional contemporary justice system. The framework recognizes economic
relations. It recognizes a First Nations community based inter-tribal economy
implementing inherent and treaty rights in each sector of the economy by
community, region, nationally and internationally. Fiscal relations is also
recognized in that framework, recognizing a First Nations fiscal relations, the
financing of First Nations governments with legal fiscal obligations of the
federal government based on the treaties and constitutional relations. That
includes the financing of a traditional contemporary education system.
International relations are recognized in terms of border crossing, First
Nations international relations, First Nations international trade and commerce,
and the international convention recognizing indigenous rights. That includes
the portability of our rights in terms of inherent rights and treaty rights. You
have a policy where if an Indian goes off the edge of the reserve he loses his
inherent and treaty rights. Those government policies add to the confusion.
You talk about kindergarten to Grade 12. Chiefs and councils only get funding
allocated to them for on-reserve population. When we look at the transition, the
migration from reserves to urban centres, from urban centres to reserves, that
student population is not considered.
When we look at the portability of our rights, we are talking about the
international and national recognition of the portability of inherent rights and
treaty rights, not based on on-reserve, off-reserve or federal-provincial
policies. Let us restrict those.
When we look at the financing of First Nations governments then we are
talking political funding, executive management funding, program service funding
by sector, salary grids and benefits and so on.
I am now a senator of the FSIN after serving 50 years in Indian politics, but
I do not get the salaries, pensions and benefits that you do as senators of
Canada. I may not be entitled to it, but I feel I am entitled to it, and that
type of thing has to change.
When we look at the executive management funds that the previous speaker
spoke to and some of the notes I saw from presenters previously, Indians do not
get any executive management funds for senior middle management in any part of
our funding arrangements, not at the band level, tribal council level, FSIN
level or AFN level. You get executive management funds at municipal, provincial
and federal levels, including your executive staff at your political offices,
never mind executive staff for program and service delivery by sector.
When we talk about what is needed in terms of the current and future
successes and major changes, I have identified some of those below and have
listed some of the changes that will be happening now and in the future. The
education system has to be changed to accommodate those changes and initiatives.
Looking at implementing our inherent right and treaty right to education, we
are talking about implementing a comprehensive Indian traditional contemporary
educational system that includes a traditional contemporary curriculum.
The previous speaker spoke of lack of parenting. We have developed
traditional parenting training programs. We cannot get a damn nickel for them.
Non-Indians who offer the program can get funding, but Indians who want to
deliver it cannot get funding. We say the parenting program is critical and we
must be prepared to teach the inherent rights and responsibilities and duties
associated with those inherent rights. We must be prepared to teach our
traditional social safety net that includes the life cycle from birth to death.
When we talk about the educational and intellectual abilities of our people,
we acknowledge that after the first quarter of our life as female and male that
the females are automatically 10 years ahead of us. That does not take any type
of study; that is real.
We need support in the preschool, kindergarten, post-secondary specialized
services systems. We need programs and services for program standards. We need
laws that govern those program standards under our jurisdiction and under
federal jurisdiction, not just provincial jurisdiction. When we look at
community based inter-tribal education institutions and structures, like the
previous speaker spoke to, we have the capacity to develop and implement those
so that we deliver a quality program in education and one that can be very
productive, constructive and positive. That requires new fiscal relations and
new fiscal agreements.
Honourable senators, the current funding arrangements for funding services to
First Nations is not done through chiefs and councils; it is done through
corporate entities set up for educational and social institutions.
For example, you fund today over 470 agencies in Saskatchewan for off-reserve
services to Indians. Nationally, you fund 6,800 agencies for providing services
to off reserve Indians. I was the chief at home. I could not find those
off-reserve services available in the city of Prince Albert or the province of
Saskatchewan. There must be an arrangement respecting our own institutions and
structures that not only provide services and programs on reserve but off
reserve as well.
When we look at the whole area of the curriculum, there is the high-tech
industry that is around today. We need capital and the capacity to introduce the
new technology that is available for instruction and for teaching in our
education system, not just in the kindergarten to Grade 12 system, but in the
comprehensive system, that includes post-secondary education. When we look at
the expertise needed for our education system, we talk about the second level
funding and the executive management funds that are required.
You talk about First Nations governance, jurisdiction and laws. The previous
speaker spoke to the lack of stability for teachers. There is a lack of
stability for everything because you fail to recognize our jurisdiction and our
laws influencing every sector.
We need to develop and pass a First Nations act respecting an Indian
traditional contemporary education system that establishes mutually acceptable
laws governing program standards for Indians. This legislation must provide for
First Nations fiscal relations in terms of sustainable funding and new fiscal
arrangements through new fiscal agreements. Your contribution agreements are not
doing anything to improve anything out there, and we need to have those
agreements identified so that we can move ahead with grants that are made
available through the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
When we look at your funding arrangements, under federal jurisdiction and
law, your own Senate Legal and Constitutional Committee has made six serious
recommendations about implementing section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.
Your Auditor General has reported to the Senate that INAC policies have no
How can you legitimately provide sustainable funding and meet certain program
standards for delivery without having a proper legislative base? How can you
provide funding without proper governance of the program standards?
We need a federal act respecting an Indian traditional contemporary education
system that gives legal effect to the federal legal and fiscal obligations for
Indian education under the treaties and Constitution. It should not rely on
provincial law and policy respecting education.
When we look at this whole field of legislation, we are talking about how we
govern program standards for delivery of education from kindergarten to Grade
12, and we need to consolidate federal funding. Let me give you a few examples.
Years ago we used to deal with Indian and Northern Affairs and Health Canada.
Today you allocate funds from Parliament to federal departments and agencies and
corporate agencies, Crown agencies. You have 156 of them. We are expected to go
hat in hand with proposals to those funding sources for funding. We do not have
that kind of money. We are looking at getting First Nations budgets recognized
based on our needs and statutory obligations, not allocations given without any
I was chief when we pulled our kids out of Kinistino School and implemented
the first Indian controlled education system in Canada. In the 1950s, 1960s and
1970s we graduated one Indian student per year from the province wide joint
school system. We had six Indians employed in education, five in university.
The genocide in residential schools everyone speaks to. Province wide, the
integration of the educational system has done nothing to improve the economic
or employment opportunities for First Nations.
Without dealing with the issues of jurisdiction and financing, since the
1970s, we have targeted training and education for teachers and social workers.
We established community based schools, inter-tribal colleges, and the First
Nations University of Canada. We now graduate hundreds of First Nations students
from high school and hundreds from universities and colleges. The employment
force in Saskatchewan by bands, tribal councils and FSIN totals 30,000
employees, with 14,000 Indians employed in the education sector.
I live in the City of Prince Albert. We employ 14,000 non-Indians to recycle
our people in the federal-provincial correctional systems, justice systems and
social work systems. We have over 400 Indian youth on probation in that city
When we targeted teacher training and social work training community-based at
home, I got a message from the University of Regina in Saskatoon saying, "Chief,
we will not certify your training." I said, "Fine, you have not graduated any of
my people anyway." As you know, those have now become not only regional training
programs in universities, but also national and international training programs.
The curriculum must be changed considerably. It must reflect a traditional
contemporary education based on First Nations world view and philosophy.
We want accountability, first Nations political accountability on First
Nations government jurisdiction and law, not provincial-federal law. We want
program accountability under an act and laws respecting a traditional
contemporary educational system. We want fiscal accountability on our First
Nations finance administration laws and acts.
Your 1996-97 intervention policies created the current terrible climate and
environment for functioning and delivery of any programs and services. Your
economic and fiscal intimidation lead to the current political management and
administrative intervention. I point to the appointment of ex-INAC officials as
third party managers. I point to INAC becoming a funding agency rather than a
program delivery agent. These grievous acts were compounded because you had no
legislative base for your INAC policies. That economic fiscal intimidation is
triggered when we start to move ahead with establishing First Nations
jurisdiction and law affecting our various sectors. The first and
second-generation devolution policies of 1969 and 1980 have to be terminated and
There is active resistance by the current colonial system to acknowledge and
recognize a separate Indian educational system; however, we have a separate
school system. We have a public school system, a French school system, separate
unique institutes and colleges and Christian schools, separate and distinct
universities and post-secondary systems. All of these schools are publicly
funded. Why can we not support a separate and distinct First Nations traditional
contemporary education system?
As far as I am concerned, if the above is not supported and implemented, the
truth and reconciliation that is to be achieved will not be achieved. If it is
not achieved, I believe that the residential school apology is an empty apology.
This is fairly hard-hitting, but I think it is time we dealt clearly with
jurisdiction and fiscal arrangements as they impact on kindergarten to grade 12
students. How we design and strategize for the implementation of a traditional
and contemporary educational system will be generational. I do not know your
long-term objectives respecting kindergarten to grade 12 education but I have
laid out our strategies and plans and we know we will be successful and we will
achieve those objectives.
Thank you for the opportunity to present the document. Again, thank you for
accepting the English version.
The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Sanderson. Mr. Steeves, you stated that the
regional delivery model proved to be controversial. Why was this delivery model
seen as problematic?
Mr. Steeves: First, legally and based on treaties, I think control
resides in an individual band much more so than in a provincial system where by
definition, municipalities — which is not an appropriate comparison but I will
make it for these purposes — under our Canadian Constitution is a creature of
the provincial government. Really, if you want to develop more regional delivery
systems, it means each individual band needs to cede authority to some regional
authority. That is difficult for many communities to do. You get into those
kinds of difficult discussions.
It was tough enough when I worked at municipal affairs to try to bring small
rural and urban municipal organizations together on a common platform. It
becomes that much more difficult when working in areas where legal and
constitutional issues are more complex.
Mr. Sanderson: I think it is more appropriate that I answer that
question because I have been involved in this all my life.
What you have done is denied our powers of governing, which includes the
powers to govern and establish our own education system under our jurisdiction
and laws. Along with that, you have instituted what you call corporate entities
for delivery of programs and services that are incorporated under provincial law
and jurisdiction, and they are not accountable to First Nations chiefs and
councils, tribal councils or the FSIN.
When you look at your process of accountability, it lacks any jurisdictional
mandate and it lacks delegated authority from the respective chiefs and councils
to the various levels. We need to institute that accountability.
In the FSIN, we have conventions that are political agreements between the
bands of the nations and between the tribal councils. Those conventions
acknowledge the powers of those respective chiefs and councils and the delegated
authorities that are needed to set up these systems that we speak to.
The Chair: Mr. Sanderson, you speak of the Catholic, Protestant and
French school systems. The provincial governments administer all of these school
systems. They are part of the provincial education system, whether they be
Christian schools or universities or separate and distinct universities. Some of
the universities in British Columbia, where I am from, like Trinity Western
University, are barely funded at all. Its funding comes from tuition.
Recognizing that everything you said is correct to this point, that I accept,
can you tell me how the province can become part of the solution rather than the
Mr. Sanderson: I think we need to sit down with the province and enter
into some form of agreement that identifies the clear and shared areas of
jurisdiction respecting education. If it means that we need to look at their
capacity and their standards for certifying doctors and other professions, we
can look at that too. I am not saying that we have to go out as a separate
system and certify our own doctors. We will certainly look at how we certify our
own traditional healers and medicine people, if that needs to happen. However,
when we look at the various elements affecting the comprehensive education
system, there is no question we need to work with the province in terms of
certification in the skills, trades and professions. We can do that with the
province; I know we can do that with the province. We can engage the province in
terms of the funding arrangements because you have a federal-provincial funding
agreement that flows to the province for supplementing education, social
development and health. The last time I looked, it was $530 billion over five
years for the provinces and territorial Nunavut governments to get supplementary
funding. That includes funding for universities and colleges. However, there is
specialized funding in the field of health for specialized services that impact
on in-school systems from kindergarten to grade 12 for speech therapists and so
on. That is all supplementary funding that we do not have access to. Why do we
not have access to it, and how can we get access to it? We can set up a First
Nations social safety net that engages federal-provincial funding in all those
sectors and puts in place stabilized funding for the second level funding.
Let me give you another example. You fund four federal agencies that provide
research funding to universities across Canada. Those four agencies received
over $8 billion over the last four and a half years, some of which goes to
doctorate studies for non-Indians, PhDs and master's programs and so on. The
First Nations University of Canada received $359,000 out of that $8 billion. All
kinds of studies are being done on Indians, but Indians cannot get the funding
because they control it. However, studies done by non-Indians can get that
That is my example of federal-provincial agencies that receive funding
appropriated from Parliament for Indians. These come in the form of Aboriginal
funds or other forms of funding. That money flows to over 44 federal departments
alone — never mind the agencies or the federal Crown corporations.
We need to sit down and talk about the jurisdictional responsibilities and
the fiscal obligations. We are quite prepared to do that with the province. We
do not want tripartite agreements. My historical experience with tripartite
agreements is there are always two jurisdictions, federal and provincial, never
mind any jurisdiction by First Nations. If we want bilateral agreements, we can
do one with the province and one with the feds, but we need to fix that process,
too, in terms of how it affects our people.
In the field of technology, federal-provincial departments, the federal
government, Indian affairs, Health Canada and Industry Canada put out almost
$500 million last year in capital to develop infrastructure for high-tech
systems. First Nations were supposed to go forward with proposals to access
funding from there. SaskTel got $25.3 million, but First Nations got nothing. We
are using the capital money in high-tech that is targeting Indian communities
and developments for high-tech, as we did for building joint schools in rural
communities and urban centres, building Indian hospitals in the same place at
When we say we need to look at fiscal relations, we are talking about equity
and ownership in some of these capital ventures. Why not? That is where we are
The Chair: Colleagues, I would like to thank the presenters for their
presentations. If there is anything that either one of you feels you could
contribute to help us make recommendations that would deal with the dilemma that
we are studying, we would appreciate it.
Senator Raine: Both witnesses have given us a lot to think about, and
I appreciate your being here today.
Dr. Steeves, early on in your presentation, you spoke about effective
schools. Could you elaborate on what makes school effective?
Mr. Steeves: The first thing is effective teachers who know what they
are doing. That is the point that I want to make and why I travelled here from
Regina. Until you have stability with teachers in classrooms, you will not have
effective schools; it is impossible.
Secondly, there is the kind of leadership you need, the effective connections
with community, a clear direction and sense of vision, a lot of the stuff any
other organization needs to have. I have reinforced the parent and community
connection within that. There is also the use of good assessment methods, good
instructional techniques and so on.
In this case, you will not have effective schools unless you have more
stability within those schools from the point of view of teachers and
Senator Raine: We travelled to Saskatchewan a couple of weeks ago and
had the pleasure of visiting an elementary Cree immersion school at Onion Lake.
We were very pleased to learn that they are graduating teachers with a four-year
degree from one of the universities in Saskatchewan. The courses are being
delivered at home, and those teachers naturally will stay in the community.
Perhaps I could ask you both to comment on whether you think that is a good
way to increase the number of Aboriginal teachers and the quality of teachers
that will come with the experience they get in teaching in their communities.
Mr. Steeves: There is always some concern in terms of the degree to
which you decentralize programming. Having said that, it is absolutely a good
idea. The more that people can access that programming locally, the better off
you will be. However, if good teachers are not treated in a stable and secure
way, they will quickly find other opportunities for employment with other bands
or in the provincial system. We need more funding for local programs such as the
TEPs program. That one is probably an ITEP program from the University of
Saskatchewan. That is excellent. The more things we can do to provide local
community based teachers, the better off they will be.
Mr. Sanderson: When we withdrew our kids out of Kinistino School after
15 years of integration, the first thing we did was test them for their skills
in reading, writing and math. We found students trying to do grade 9, 10, 11 and
12 with reading skills and math skills of grade 4 and grade 5. It is critical
that those skills are taught from kindergarten to grade 12. If we do not have
teachers that have the ability to do that instruction, then we should be working
on developing those teachers, and put money into that aspect of education
because it is worth it.
I strongly support community-based post-secondary education skill and trades
training, because I did it at home. I saw it at work, and a mother and daughter
graduated with their master's in social services at the same time.
We took the social assistance dollars and created economic subsidies, not
just for employment opportunities but also for education opportunities. If they
went off reserve, we continued to provide the economic subsidy for shelter and
food and did not tap into the education dollars because they were entitled to
continue with that fund. We created, as I said earlier, from two jobs to 185
jobs. We had a strong counselling unit of 12 people, one for the men and the
boys, one for the women and the girls, and we had one in education, health and
social development. That strong counselling unit paid off in dividends.
The community based educational strategy we are looking at would introduce
more of that. We worked with Red Earth First Nation, where students spoke in
Cree for the first two years with English as a second language. They reversed
the system in the third year. Those students did very well in high school and
right through university.
My wife and I developed, on our own over 10 years, a First Nations government
specialist-training program. We advertised and had 345 applications within one
week. We selected 45 students.
We received the funding from the province and the feds for the first year.
After they saw what we were teaching — some of what I took you through just now
— they cut off all our funding. Over one-half of our students had their funding
cut. Now do you see what I mean by economic and fiscal intimidation? It is real.
That community based strategy that you saw at Onion Lake, yes, we modelled
that at home. What we did, besides that, is we tired out our instructors because
we made it individual instruction. You know what happened? One young fellow
completed up to grade 9 in two years and completed his first year English in
university in one year.
We can do it. We are capable of doing it. I encourage you to look at the
broader picture because what you are doing is setting the stage for a few
generations. It will impact on us.
Senator Raine: I appreciate what you are saying and your presentation.
I could not help thinking, as I was listening to you, however, about either a
chief or an elder who said to us that we are in the same river, paddling in two
different canoes. We all want to go to the same place. If we get in trouble, we
need to help each other because we are here together. It should not be about
them or us. It was a very powerful message.
In this particular committee, we are very strong supporters of First Nations
and Aboriginal peoples in Canada. However, we are also in a bigger picture
situation, where we know all money comes out of the taxpayers' pockets across
this country. We know there is a finite amount, especially right now in the
economic situation in the world.
It behooves all of us to look for solutions where we can work together and
optimize the opportunity for everyone. Some of the models we are seeing in our
study are going in that direction. I think of FNESC in British Columbia, where
they are working not under the provincial education system, but along with them
and working together wherever possible. That, I think, is the way forward in the
short term. The long-term goal may be running your own programs completely, but
in the short term, I think we all have to work together. I would like your
Mr. Sanderson: In terms of the fiscal arrangements, the funding that
is generated here in Canada is not all taxpayers' dollars. It is taxes and
royalties generated off resources that we are supposed to share. That is the
majority of the funding.
Your taxpayer dollar, for example, cannot even support what I talked about in
terms of the federal subsidy that goes to supplement the cost of living to the
provinces and the territorial and Nunavut governments. It can hardly support
your systems of government — municipal, provincial and federal.
We just recently examined the funding that goes to sustain a member of
Parliament, a member of the Senate and an MLA. You are talking over $1 million
to sustain one member of Parliament. You are talking almost $900,000 to sustain
one senator. You are talking almost $900,000 to sustain one MLA. For the average
retirement fund, one MP draws $176,000 a year in retirement dollars. One MP who
sat in opposition all his life is drawing $126,000. I sat in Indian politics for
50 years and I do not draw a nickel. You tell me that it is costly? That is
where the cost is.
In Saskatchewan, I am the lead on the Medicine Chest Task Force on Indian
Control of Indian Health. We cannot access a nickel from federal or provincial
sources. However, in 20 years, the provincial budget has gone from where they
used to spend 45 per cent on education and 20 per cent on health, to 20 per cent
on education and 45 per cent on health. It is not because of the Indian
population; it is because of the aging population — the non-Indian population.
We have to acknowledge that there are some real double standards. I did not
create those double standards. I want to fix those double standards. That is my
Yes, we can find ways of dealing with financing Indian education. I just gave
you one example. Why do we cut off the supplementary funding that goes to
families on reserves when they move off reserve to get an education? Why can we
not continue with supplementary funding for their shelter, food, transportation
and so on? That is from social development; that is not from education.
We need expertise in the education sector. A lot of that dollar is in the
health sector. We can help. I think we need to work at these things with some
mutual understanding and undertakings.
Mr. Steeves: Senator, you asked for specifics and I will mention
three. First, we need more funding and training seats for First Nations and
Metis teacher training; that is a huge issue. Second, we need more stability in
terms of teacher tenure, salary and working conditions issues. That is a huge
issue that needs to be addressed. Third, there should be a creative approach to
the governance issue. Until we deal with that, we will not be able to deal with
the other areas very effectively.
The Chair: Thank you, Dr. Steeves and thank you, Mr. Sanderson.
There being no other business, the meeting is now adjourned.
(The committee adjourned.)