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View Jaime Battiste Profile
Lib. (NS)
On the topic Lenore brought up about self-government agreements, in my riding, 36% of children live in poverty. When you look at the community I'm from, the Eskasoni Mi'kmaq, the rate is 73%. You look at that number and say it's terrible, but to put it in some perspective, there are 17 children in my 10-year-old son's grade 5 class, meaning that only three other children in that class are not living in poverty. Yet, despite this poverty, we have the highest graduation rates. When I look at that, how can the people who have the highest rates of child poverty, the highest rates of unemployment, also have the highest graduation rates?
When I had a chance to talk to Chief Leroy Denny, he said it's simple: It's because the Mi'kmaq control their own education system, whereas social services are controlled by the federal government. What is the federal government doing to give first nations autonomy to create their own self-governing agreements around social assistance so we can see the same improvements when first nations take control of their own educational organizations? What if they took control of all of these things? What strides are we making to make sure that indigenous communities, first nations communities especially, are moving in that direction for things like social services and other areas.
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