Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Kids Need Schools

Big thanks to ST for writing this blog for me.

This is a picture of children from the Cree community of Appawapiskat. The community and these kids have been advocating to the federal government for years for funds to help build a new school to replace their old one, which has been declared condemned. They had received promises from both federal Liberal and Conservative Indian Affairs Ministers that the school would be built, but nothing has been done. Now, however, the ultra-compassionate (said with sarcasm) Chuck Strahl has point-blank said that the school wouldn’t be built. Not on the priority list, according to Chuck, even though these kids have been without a school for eight years.

In the meantime, one of the kids, Thirteen-year-old Shannen Koostachin, has been nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize for her efforts in getting the new school. That award is given out by the same folks who give out the Nobel Peace Prize. It would be a great honour for Shannen, and at the same time an extreme embarrassment to the Conservative government, if she were to win that award and the school had still been refused funding.

That isn’t the only action these kids have taken:

The youth have sent notice to the federal government, letting them know they intend to send a report to the UN detailing Indian and Northern Affairs’ failure to build a school. It will be addressed in the upcoming review of Canada’s obligations under the Conventions on the Rights of the Child. “We want what every other kid takes for granted, we want a new school,” said Shannen Koostachin, 14…The group would like to invite the UN to visit Attawapiskat and “walk a mile in our moccasins” to see what students are forced to live with every day — a request Indian and Northern Affairs Canada Minister Chuck Strahl denied when students visited Ottawa.

Of course Chuck would deny the UN the opportunity to visit the community - because it would guarantee international condemnation (which it still might anyhow). It would show the world that while the Conservatives may mouth apologies for past wrong deeds and speak nice words (which still get sneered at by the likes of Pierre Poilievre), it can’t act on current wrong deeds.

H/T to Cam for highlighting the plight of the kids and community of Attawapiskat.

I've linked to the sight on my sidebar.

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