On Campus

Tories chose 'spin' over native schools: NDP

New documents suggest feds downplayed risks and hired PR firm for damage control

Internal documents suggest the Harper government downplayed health risks and hired a PR firm for damage control after halting plans for new schools on native reserves.

The papers discuss the hiring of Hill & Knowlton to help the government handle what one official described as “not a good story.”

The government stopped plans in 2007 for new schools and major renovations that weren’t considered health and safety priorities.

But internal documents obtained by the NDP suggest some of those projects were put off despite health and safety issues flagged by Indian Affairs.

New Democrat MP Charlie Angus says the government paid spin doctors while neglecting urgent education needs.

The Conservatives have announced $50 million for five new schools and seven renovation projects, but critics say much more is needed to lower native dropout rates.

– The Canadian Press