Trudeau breaks important promise to Indigenous students
By Emily Niles
At a campaign stop in Saskatoon on August 13, 2015, Justin Trudeau was asked by a reporter from APTN whether he regarded access to post-secondary education as a treaty right of Indigenous Peoples. His reply: “I regard it as a fundamental human right, but also a treaty right. We recognize that First Nations have a full and complete right to education, that is in the original treaties that were all signed and we need to make sure we’re living up to that”?.
Earlier in the day, Trudeau had committed to investing $50 million annually in the Post-Secondary Student Support Program (PSSSP), which provides financial support to First Nations and Inuit college and university students.
Unfortunately, in their first real statement of priorities, Trudeau’s government failed to deliver on the PSSSP funding promise with the budget showing no new funding allocated to the program.
For the past twenty years, successive federal governments have maintained a restrictive two per cent funding cap on the PSSSP that has resulted in funding falling far behind growing demand for post-secondary education, rising tuition fees and increasing living costs. As a consequence, Indigenous communities administering the funds are forced to make impossible choices about which students in their communities receive support each year.
During a recent visit to Halifax, Nova Scotia, Minister of Indigenous Affairs and Northern Development Carolyn Bennett told student representatives from the Dalhousie Students' Union that the government intends to use existing funding allocated to the Canada Student Grants Program to fund Indigenous post-secondary education. An internal INAC briefing memo on the matter says the same.
Not only is the funding for the Canada Student Grants program still inadequate for funding all Indigenous learners, but also by lumping Indigenous students into a program designed for non-Indigenous students, the Government of Canada has abandoned its unique obligation to Indigenous peoples. This move would maintain the government’s broken promise to Indigenous students and violate the nation-to-nation relationship avowed by Trudeau’s government time and time again.
But, it’s not too late. The budget is not set in stone, and there’s still plenty of time to mend this broken promise before school resumes in September. Otherwise, we can expect that thousands of Indigenous youth will continue to be denied access to college and university education this fall – a demographic that happens to be the fastest growing in Canada.
The student movement has launched a petition with MP Charlie Angus calling on the federal government to immediately mend this broken promise by investing $50 million in the PSSSP and fully fund post-secondary education for all Indigenous students.
Leaked TiSA text as bad as imagined for public services
The Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) is an extremely complex and far reaching trade agreement and trade researchers have written extensively on the threat it poses to public services like water, healthcare, energy, pharmacare, child care and more. (See below for some detailed analysis)
The take home message is that the TiSA promotes and entrenches deregulation, increases precarious work, income inequality, and is a direct threat to democratic control over all our public services. In the Canadian context, state owned enterprises (SOEs) like our Crown Corporations are under direct attack over their ability to provide a non-profit market alternative to private monopoly companies.
Most countries have had broader public services excluded from trade agreements allowing for their expansion. This has also allowed unions and social movements to fight against outsourcing, bad labour and environmental practices, and for a public non-profit option within the broader public sector. TiSA, if signed, destroys all these protections we have had.
TiSA promises to do to our public sector what NAFTA and other agreements facilitated in our manufacturing sector: loss of needed quality services and jobs.
IMF Research says neoliberal policies are oversold - without hint of irony
In an article that would be hilarious if the contradictions were not so obvious and crazy making, the International Monetary Fund research branch has crticized neoliberalism. It is an analysis that might be uplifting if it did not come from the organization that continues to force privatisation and other anti-worker policies regardless of the mountains of data that have shown it’s negative since day one.
The most absurdist part of the article is when they claim that the IMF is leading the way to challenge the neoliberal orthodoxy:
“These findings suggest a need for a more nuanced view of what the neoliberal agenda is likely to be able to achieve. The IMF, which oversees the international monetary system, has been at the forefront of this reconsideration.”
It is amazing when elite economists can so wilfully ignore an entire stream of economic thought that disagrees with their fundamental positions. An alternative stream of economic analysis that has been proved correct over and over again throughout history.
What the IMF Research authors seem to fail to realize is who they are working for. It is no secret to the world who the IMF works for and it is the least surprising thing that the program is leading to an increase in inequality.
The choice quote:
“Moreover, since both openness and austerity are associated with increasing income inequality, this distributional effect sets up an adverse feedback loop. The increase in inequality engendered by financial openness and austerity might itself undercut growth, the very thing that the neoliberal agenda is intent on boosting. There is now strong evidence that inequality can significantly lower both the level and the durability of growth (Ostry, Berg, and Tsangarides, 2014).”
“The evidence of the economic damage from inequality suggests that policymakers should be more open to redistribution than they are.”
.1. See and hear how Brazilian artists are dealing with the recent coup:
.2. UK rapper Stormzy discusses the state of politics in the UK and why he likes Jeremy Corbyn so much:
.3. Rage Against the Machine has a new project that might involve Chuck D:
.4. A good op-ed on the lack of diversity in the Canadian music scene.Â Also, learn what Toronto radio station had (has?) a rule about not playing two female artists back to back:
.5. [WARNING: NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART] Here is M.I.A.’s depiction of the not so distant future: