Former prime minister Paul Martin to unveil aboriginal youth program


OTTAWA – Former prime minister Paul Martin will be in Alberta on Tuesday to unveil a new entrepreneurship program for aboriginal youth.

Martin will be at the Blood Reserve near Calgary along with Chief Charles Weasel Head and Scotiabank president and chief executive Brian Porter to announce the new initiative.

It will provide Grade 11 and 12 students with business knowledge and financial literacy skills. The program will also involve local business leaders mentoring the students.

The initiative is a collaboration between the Martin Aboriginal Educational Initiative, the Blood Tribe and Scotiabank (TSX:BNS). A similar program was launched in The Pas, Man., in 2011.

“The aboriginal population is one of the youngest and fastest-growing populations in Canada, yet Statistics Canada is telling you that there is generally lower levels of education within the community,” said Scotiabank spokeswoman Ann DeRabbie.

“One in three haven’t completed high school. An initiative like this, we have great hopes for in terms of encouraging students to stay in school.”

A spokesperson for Martin didn’t immediately reply to a request to interview the former prime minister.

The Blood Tribe also has a connection to the current prime minister, Stephen Harper.

The First Nation made Harper a ceremonial chief in the summer of 2011, making him the third sitting prime minister to be bestowed the honour. Jean Chretien was given the title before becoming prime minister.


Former prime minister Paul Martin to unveil aboriginal youth program

  1. An entrepreneurial program for reserves, without the ability for the people who the program is trying to help to own property on reserves.

    Yeah… that’s not really going to work is it? The education program might help some students who take advantage of it an edge when they go for their MBA’s off reserves and work outside the reserve though. But off reserve isn’t where the entrepreneurship is needed most.

    • Agreed. But good education is never a loss. If their chiefs were motivated better to allow productive enterprises, there is no reason the Blood Reserve could not be both prosperous and self sufficient with pride and self esteem.

      The real problem is in (lack of good) leadership.

      • Hopefully good education, and the role modeling and support to encourage their youth to believe in themselves, will lead to good leadership in the future.

        We’ve messed them up badly and need to be sincere and compassionate in helping them regain their footing as functional societies.

  2. The Blood Reserve (Kainai Nation) is sitting on a gold mine of sorts. With 1414 sq/km of land, they could become a huge food producer of beef, bison, deer, chickens, and more….

    But I question the effectiveness this program will be, as wealth comes not from politics, but productive work. Get self esteem, pride too.

    I would be happy to pay $20/kg for deer or bison meat steaks from free range and no chemicals.

    If this is like the under rated Junior Achievement type program it could be good.

  3. I do hope this initiative helps to make a difference. Unfortunately, Martin helped turn Canada’s economy into one of the world’s least innovative, selling off Crown assets at firesale rates, and increasing foreign-ownership through an artificially low dollar.

    Perhaps, Martin has seen the fundamental error in his idea of economics and is involving people with less destructive ideas than his own. He does seem well intentioned, but then ‘St. Paul” always did. We can hope, if nothing else.