Mr. Speaker, I congratulate the Speaker in his position once more in the 40th Parliament.
I would like to congratulate the member on his election. We sat together in one of those notoriously fractious committees in the last Parliament. I am hoping that in the new spirit of parliamentary conciliation our new committee structures will be much more open and workable.
I listened with fascination to my colleague's speech. I think we all agree that innovation and education are absolutely essential for building a 21st century economy. However, I was struck by the enormous disconnect between the language that I am hearing from the member and the reality that I am seeing in my region.
This month the Conservative government made an announcement that it was sending a wrecking ball to the community of Attawapiskat, which has sat with toxic school grounds for 30 years. For 10 years it was without a school. The only solution the government has is to send in a wrecking ball to leave 400 children with no school facilities. There are similar situations in Kashechewan, White Dog and Fort Severn.
In communities where there are no schools, dropouts begin in grade four. The failure rates of first nations' education are below standards that we see in the third world.
The people of Attawapiskat have been pushing for a school for 10 years. Next week they will be meeting with the education leaders of Canada at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education to discuss the need for an appropriate strategy to ensure that first nations children in isolated reserves are guaranteed just the most basic education rights: the right to attend clean, safe schools and the right to ensure that within provincial jurisdictions on which isolated reserves exist the children are not being unfairly discriminated against.
I would like to ask the member, what concrete steps will the government take to make sure that a young generation of incredible potential is not just tossed away on the toxic junk piles? Will the government make sure there is actually a strategy to ensure that communities like Attawapiskat are given great schools so that we can actually develop a 21st century agenda that we can be proud of as Canadians?