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The Honourable Chuck Strahl, PC, MP
Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-status Indians
Announcing the Government of Canada’s Investment in the Construction of New Schools in Cat Lake First Nation and Lac Seul First Nation
Lac Seul, Ontario
July 14, 2009
Check against delivery
Good morning, Elders, Chief Bull, Chief Keewaykapow (kee-way-ka-pow), MP Rickford, ladies and gentlemen. It’s a great day in the Treaty #3 territory and it’s great to be with you here in Lac Seul. I wish to also recognize Chief Keewaykapow (kee-way-ka-pow) is from the Nishnawbe Aski territory. And to congratulate him on his recent election.
As Canada’s Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, one of the best parts of my job is being able to travel widely throughout our country and visit First Nations and communities. It is wonderful communities like yours that provide us with the truest sense of both the natural beauty and uniqueness of these regions of our great country.
I’m here in Lac Seul today to ensure the children and youth of this community and of Cat Lake are equipped with the quality education, real-life skills and practical training that will help them to participate fully in and strengthen their communities. Your children and youth are our leaders of tomorrow.
And that’s exactly what brings us all here for this important announcement. On behalf of the Government of Canada, I’m delighted to announce that new schools will be built in Cat Lake First Nation and in Lac Seul First Nation! These new schools will ensure youth from Kindergarten to Grade 8 will have healthy, safe, nurturing learning environments in which to grow, develop and mature for years to come.
To be more precise, the facility in Cat Lake will become the academic home to some 140 students. Construction on the new school is expected to start in January 2011 and be complete in time for the 2012 school year.
The new facility in Lac Seul will welcome 29 students in Junior and Senior Kindergarten and 87 students from grades one to eight. Construction on the new school is expected to start this fall and be complete in time for the 2011 school year.
I’m also pleased to report that these projects are examples of what our government is doing to ensure First Nation students have access to the finest schools and the highest-quality education.
Our government has set aside more than $100 million to build or renovate eight schools in First Nation communities across Canada, including these new schools in Cat Lake and Lac Seul.
We also launched Canada's Economic Action Plan in January which included $515 million that we will invest over the next two years to accelerate “ready-to-go” First Nation projects in three priority areas: schools, water and critical community services. In fact, we have already devoted a significant portion of those funds to begin construction of 10 other new schools across Canada and major renovations to an additional three schools.
These actions are clear proof that our Conservative government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, is fulfilling its promises to First Nation communities… that we are committed to helping Aboriginal people achieve longer, healthier, more fulfilling lives… and that we are dedicated to making sure students in First Nation communities access the finest schools and the highest-quality education.
Thank you very much and all my best wishes to you—the people of the Cat Lake First Nation and Lac Seul First Nation.