APTN National News
Liberal leader Justin Trudeau responded Tuesday to NDP accusations that he is already reneging on his party’s funding promise to First Nations education.
The NDP claims there is a $1.7 billion discrepancy between Trudeau’s initial First Nations education announcement delivered in August and the numbers contained in the party’s platform costing document.
The Liberal party released its costing document on Sept. 26 showing that the Liberals planned to invest $900 million over four years for First Nation education.
During an Aug. 13 announcement, Trudeau said a Liberal government would invest $2.6-billion in new money over four years to bolster First Nations education.
Trudeau said when he made his August announcement he added money already set aside by the Conservative government for education and additional funds promised by his party. Trudeau said the total amount is “new” money because none of it has flowed yet. The money in the costing document simply represents the Liberal portion of the new funding, he said.
“We have a commitment to spend $2.6 billion in core K-12 education funding,” said Trudeau, during a taping of an upcoming APTN virtual town hall with federal leaders. “The fact is the federal government as we know under Mr. Harper set aside a certain amount of money that he has yet to be spent on First Nations education. We are using that money, we are going to spend that money and we are adding hundreds of millions more in the first year of a Liberal government…”
The NDP says the Liberals are spinning.
“When we look at what’s costed out, there’s a $1.7-billion dollar hole,” said Charlie Angus, NDP MP for Timmins–James Bay. “It’s K-12 that takes this huge cut, and that’s where we huge disparities, I mean, we have kids going to school in mold filled classrooms.”
Angus said the Liberals are just trying to cover-up their first cut to First Nations education.
“Of all the promises that you could break, the very first promise would break would be to First Nations children,” said Charlie Angus. “Mr.Trudeau is just carrying on unfortunately in a long, very inglorious line of broken federal promises to First Nations youth.”