Mr. Terry Sargeant (Selkirk-Interlake):
Mr. Speaker, on May 1 some 2,500 students were kept out of schools on four Manitoba reserves to protest the very sorry state of affairs at those schools. Over 600 of those students have yet to return.
Whether or not one agrees with the tactics, there is no denying that, when compared to provincial schools, reserve schools are seriously underfunded. Unfortunately, the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (Mr. Munro) has not been giving this issue serious attention despite his nice sounding platitudes.
At the beginning of May the Minister agreed that their complaint was valid and promised to do something about it. He urged the chiefs to be patient and said that he would take their case to Cabinet as soon as possible. Three weeks passed, with no action.
Last Monday in Winnipeg, at a meeting with the four chiefs involved, the Minister gave his word to the chiefs that the submission for funding would go to Treasury Board on Tuesday. As of this morning that submission was still on the Minister's desk awaiting his approval before it could go to Treasury Board.
Indian students cannot wait for the Minister to squeeze their concerns into his leadership campaign schedule. If he cannot find the time to address these concerns he should resign and turn the Ministry over to someone with both the time and inclination to give Indian concerns the urgent attention they need.
Topic: STATEMENTS PURSUANT TO S.O. 21
Subtopic: INDIAN AFFAIRS