Show Politics August 26, 2011
Examining Aboriginal Rights and Education

CBC Radio's Know Your Rights explores Aboriginal rights on their show this week. As they note on their website the issue is complex, and the experts they spoke to couldn't agree on the "number one" issue facing Aboriginal people. You can listen to the episode here.

For Tracy Booth, executive director of the Elizabeth Fry Society of Manitoba, the most important issue is the high percentages of Aboriginals in jails. Jonathan Rudin, the Program Director at Aboriginal Legal Services in Toronto, thinks the treatment of Aboriginal people in the court system should be at the top of the agenda. Ontario Provincial Police Commissioner Chris Lewis, meanwhile, is most concerned with issues around land and treaties.

It's a thought-provoking episode, and it reminded us of our chat with former Prime Minister Paul Martin. Mr. Martin believes that lack of access to education is one of the main problems facing the Aboriginal community in Canada. He founded the Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative, an organization that is dedicated to promoting Aboriginal education and raising awareness of the fact that "compared to non-Aboriginal Canadians, Aboriginal Canadians have a lower education level as well as lower standard of living."

Check out Mr. Martin telling us why granting Aboriginal people access to education is so important in this video, starting at the 1:45 mark:

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