Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada

August 23, 2012 16:30 ET

Harper Government and St. Mary's Band Celebrate Opening of the ?aq'amnik Education Centre

CRANBROOK, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Aug. 23, 2012) - David Wilks, Member of Parliament for Kootenay-Columbia, on behalf of the Honourable John Duncan, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, announced today the opening of the ?aq'amnik Education Centre. This investment has been assisted in part by measures under Economic Action Plan 2012.

"The Harper Government is taking concrete steps to improve on-reserve learning environments and, in turn, improve educational outcomes for First Nation students," said Minister Duncan. "A good education is key to positioning First Nation students to get jobs and achieve the success and prosperity they seek and Canada needs."

"Our Government is proud to have partnered with the St. Mary's Band to help the next generation of First Nation students achieve their educational goals," said Mr. Wilks. "We believe that good education and a growing economy go hand in hand and investing in schools on reserve will lead to healthier, more self-sufficient communities."

"?aq'amnik Elementary has been offering quality educational programming to the community for over 25 years. This new facility will provide additional opportunities to expand our educational programming and services to better meet the needs of our community and to meet the goals and objectives set out in our long term strategic plan," said St. Mary's Band Chief Cheryl Casimer.

The new elementary school will accommodate approximately 50 students from kindergarten to Grade 7 in a two-story building that includes several classrooms, office space, a meeting room, and a cafeteria. The new facility will better meet the needs of St. Mary's Band students and enhance their educational experience by providing a modern and functional learning environment.

The Harper Government invested over $1.8 million in the?aq'amnik Education Centre. The St. Mary's Band contributed an additional $500,000 towards the $2.3 million facility. This project is part of the $175 million for new schools and major renovations included in the Government's Economic Action Plan 2012 commitments to First Nation education.

These measures build on the more than $1 billion a year the Harper Government spends on First Nation education and will contribute to creating the conditions required for Canada's First Nations to participate more fully in Canada's economy.

The St. Mary's Band is located east of Cranbrook, B.C., near the Rocky Mountains. The community has a total population of 365 people, of whom 191 live on reserve.

This release is also available on the Internet at www.aandc.gc.ca

You can receive all our news and media updates automatically. For more information or to sign up for our Media Room RSS Feed, visit: www.aandc-aadnc.gc.ca/1info/rssinfo-eng.asp.

Contact Information

  • Minister's Office
    Jan O'Driscoll
    Press Secretary
    Office of the Honourable John Duncan
    819-997-0002

    Media Relations
    Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
    819-953-1160

    St. Mary's Band
    Michelle Shortridge
    Capital Projects Manager
    250-426-5717 ext. 3523