Today, the Ontario government earned a great deal of respect by stepping in to save the First Nations Technical Institute from closing.
The federal government decided that it would cut $1.5-million in annual funding to the institution saying that since it was education, they would no longer fund it.
As everyone knows, our country is dysfunctional. This story is only one of the most ridiculous examples.
We have a federal government saying it is not responsible for assisting a native post-secondary education institution. Somehow, they figure that the federal responsibility for native affairs stops when a native person begins to educate themselves further than high school.
Thankfully, the province of Ontario came to the table and saved the school for another year.
I have been very harsh on both levels of government about this issue. I get sick of hearing speeches about helping native communities and then watch as little is done to assist these communities.
Today, the Ontario government deserves credit for coming up with funds to operate the school next year. The Ontario government deserves credit for actually going to FNTI and helping.
Where’s the federal government today?
They are nowhere to be found.
It’s time for both the federal and provincial ministers to meet. Both governments must meet in good faith. The goal should not be to get the other side to pick up the tab; it must be to find how both levels of government can assist FNTI to grow and how they can build similar institutions on other reserves.
Lastly, today’s news stories quote Ontario’s Aboriginal Affairs Minister Michael Bryant. While he played a key role, the Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities put in a lot of work to get the province where it is today.
The hourglass has been flipped over by the province, and there are technically 364 days left in it. Let’s hope a long-term solution is found before those days are up.