Sask. cuts funding to First Nations University

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al-Qa'bong
Sask. cuts funding to First Nations University

Quote:

The Saskatchewan government has announced it will not fund the First Nations University of Canada after April 1, saying it has lost confidence in the leadership of the institution.

The province's annual contribution to FNUC amounted to $5.2 million, or just over a fifth of the school's annual budget.

"Our government has lost confidence in the governance and management of First Nations University," Rob Norris, the provincial minister of advanced education, employment and labour, said in a statement.

CBC

There have been many allegations of fraud and abuse of funding in the upper echelons of the FNUC administation over the years, but I don't see why the university itself is being penalised.  Why not investigate the corrupt individuals and charge them instead?

Ktown

kropotkin1951 wrote:

I think since there are allegations of fraud by the main players they should disband the school and reconstitute under a different name but with the same corrupt individuals at the helm.  Isn't that how the Sask. Party dealt with the fact that most of its MLA's were convicted of institutionalized fraud.

How about they just name it the Sask. FN university and move on from the bad publicity.

 

Why don't you tell us how many Sask Party MLA's "were convicted of institutionalized fraud."  Or are you just pissed off that the majority of the electorate in this province voted for a party that does not agree with your ideology?

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

The Conservative Party of Sask. became the Sask. Party because their MLA's were convicted of fraud.  They did a name chance and now the Sask. Party has a clean slate.  I was saying the university should do the same thing and rebrand themslves just like the corrupt Conservatives became the squeaky clean Sask. Party.

And yes a slim majority of the electorate that isn't disgusted by the game voted for the Sask. Party not a majority of the electorate.  About a third of the eleigible voters actually voted for the Sask. Party.  About 250,00 votes all told to win a provincial election with a majority government. 

Next you will tell me how brilliant that asshole "free market" shill John Gormley is.

Ktown

4 former Progressive Conservatives (Bill Boyd, Dan D'Autremont, Ben Heppner, Don Toth) and 4 Liberal Party members of the Legislature (Bob Bjornerud, June Draude, Rod Gantefoer, Ken Krawetz) formed the Sask Party.

 

Were the 4 Liberals also guilty of fraud. There continued to be a Conservative party in Saskatchewan after the Sask Party was formed.
So name me 1 sitting Sask Party MLA who has been charged with fraud.

al-Qa'bong

kropotkin1951 wrote:
Next you will tell me how brilliant that asshole "free market" shill John Gormley is.

 

How do you know John Gormless so well?

 

I can't stand to listen to either him or his station.

japagaijin

I too would like kropotkin1951 to name one sitting Sask Party MLA that was convicted of fraud.  If you're going to make the comment, at least back it up with some evidence.

japagaijin

On another note, I don't think the province had any other choice than to pull their funding.  The university had not implemented changes recommended in a 2005 report (FIVE years ago) and there's another report on its way.  If provincial funding is contingent upon the university remaining accountable to students and taxpayers, then it's clear that funding should have been taken away.  They need to clean up this mess once and for all and I think the FSIN also did the right thing by dissolving the board of governors.  This is an important institution and that's why it needs to be fixed.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

I think since there are allegations of fraud by the main players they should disband the school and reconstitute under a different name but with the same corrupt individuals at the helm.  Isn't that how the Conservative Party became the Sask. Party to deal with the fact that most of its MLA's were convicted of institutionalized fraud.

How about they just name it the Sask. FN university and move on from the bad publicity.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

japagaijin wrote:

I too would like kropotkin1951 to name one sitting Sask Party MLA that was convicted of fraud.  If you're going to make the comment, at least back it up with some evidence.

I've changed my post above since I wrote it so sloppily.  Now what do you have to dispute.

 

Al-Q I wet to school with him and had to listen to him telling all and sundry how terrible the welfare state was and what bums and a drain on society  single mothers were.   Then when the Conservative fraud scandal broke it was revealed this asshole was getting $60,000 a year from a Tory slush fund as a communications consultant while he went to law school. The most hypocritical jerk I have ever had the displeasure of meeting.

japagaijin

So...what about the four Liberals that also were founding members.  Four Liberals, Four Conservatives.  How is that the Conservatives changing their name?  The Conservative Party actually still exists as a registered political party in the Province of Saskatchewan - I believe they even ran candidates in the last general election.

al-Qa'bong

Quote:

How is that the Conservatives changing their name? 

That's almost as disingenuous as the Conservative name change itself. Pretending that the Alber, er, Sask. Party is anything other than the old PC party relabelled is either dishonest or ill-informed.

 

In any case, either former Conservatives or former Liberals have cut funding to the First Nations University of Canada.

Ktown

It was made up of as many Liberal MLA's. You must have forgot that.

al-Qa'bong

Maybe that was the case at their first meeting, but there is still a Liberal Party in Saskatchewan.  I've voted in every election since the creation of the Sask party, and don't recall ever seeing a PC candidate on my ballot.

 Who do you think you're kidding?

Moreover, why is this nonsensical distraction being thrown up a thread about First Nations University?

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

al-q

This person likely would have us believe that the same people who controlled the Socred's don't now control the BC Liberals. I admire their ability to re-brand themselves when the corruption gets so odious the old brand name is unelectable but I don't have to believe their bullshit.

Sorry for the thread drift I was merely pointing out that in Sask. some peoples alleged improper behaviour is vilified and other peoples gets swept under the carpet even after they have been convicted of fraud.

If there are problems with individuals in the governance structure then replace them but cutting funding is an unacceptable solution.

japagaijin

Okay, to get back on topic. In 2007, the NDP threatened to pull FNUC's funding if the board was not depoliticized.  However, the board remained politicized and the funding continued to flow.  At least Norris has taken a stand and said, if you can't be accountable for the money you are getting, you won't get it any more.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

you either believe in FN's ability to solve the problem or you don't. I agree with the FN's that the government is acting in a highhanded manner.  Looks like the same old colonial mentality.

 

Quote:

Clarence Bellegarde, a chief in the federation and the chairman of the board of governors of First Nations University, said Norris should have tried to meet with First Nations leaders before acting.

"How he was proceeding with this through the media is totally inappropriate," Bellegarde told reporters Wednesday night. "We don't like dealing with our business through the media. We should have had a meeting set up."

 

japagaijin

I'm not saying I don't believe in FN's ability to solve the problem.  But, why should they be treated differently than any other university in the province when it comes to accountability.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

It's not about ability, it's about willingness to deal with the problem.  Any and all requests that FNUC fix the problems have either been rebuffed or dealt with in a highly superficial manner.  This isn't a sudden reaction - it's been coming for a long time and it was well within the board's power to avert their current circumstance.

Malcolm Malcolm's picture

There was a group within the FSIN political system who wanted FNUC to be simply another piece of the patronage pie.  It was the younger leaders, like Guy Lonechild, who want to see the best interests of the University and expecially the students put ahead of the political games and political favours.

 

The good news is that Lonechild et al have carried the day.  A new board is to be appointed today.  I expect the province will revisit the funding question, though they may want to see how this retooling of governance plays out.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Malcolm wrote:

There was a group within the FSIN political system who wanted FNUC to be simply another piece of the patronage pie.  It was the younger leaders, like Guy Lonechild, who want to see the best interests of the University and expecially the students put ahead of the political games and political favours.

 

The good news is that Lonechild et al have carried the day.  A new board is to be appointed today.  I expect the province will revisit the funding question, though they may want to see how this retooling of governance plays out.

I hope the FNUC gets a new board in place but I fear the government will insist on having "Indian Agent" status as a type of accountability.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Given the complete absence of accountability so far, can you blame them?

Sean in Ottawa

So are there no other levers than pulling the funding?

What if we take for granted that we want this institution and take it from there?

How many national institutions have screwed up and we need to get them fixed? If we want the institution then we find a way to fix it. Only ones we don't want get shut down. Sorry but I am not buying this-- can someone try to convince me this was needed because I just don't see it. We had a sponsorship scandal-- we did not shut down Public Works-- this is not worse.

If there is a problem with the structure then we should be hearing how the institution will be replaced-- today not later. We should not imagine even for a day that it is expendable.

While this does not make some of the spending acceptable, there is no reason to assume that this is something we can just do without.

 

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Um.  I think you need to look into this further.  We're talking about alleged misappropriation of funding (I say alleged because I can' recall off the top of my head if it was proven, but I think it may have been), interference by political appointees in the academics, defection of instructors back to U of R and enrollment dropping precipitously.  This has been ongoing for about 5 years, with warning after warning being given and not taken seriously.

I only hope that FNU's bridges haven't been entirely burned and that, now that they've suspended the administration and fired their board of governers, somebody can pull it out of the fire.

Bacchus

The federal government has pulled funding too

japagaijin

Thank you Timebandit.  Well put.

I actually think John Gormley got it right...

http://bit.ly/byJyJO

The column provides a good history of some of the issues the institution has faced.

 

japagaijin

It appears the NDP have waded into the fray now.

 

http://www.ndpcaucus.sk.ca/news?id=366

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

I listened to the head to the head of the Student Union at the FNU and he told it like it is.  He and his fellow FN's students are being punished for alleged abuses by people who were given leadership roles.  The students think the institution is providing them with an education that they cannot get anywhere else.

The students are being punished for something they have no control over that is collective punishment.  Besides I don't for a minute believe either the federal Neo-Cons or the Sask. Party has any commitment to FN's governance. In BC we would have to shut down the legislature if all it took was allegations of corruption that have not been resolved.

remind remind's picture

Quote:
In BC we would have to shut down the legislature if all it took was allegations of corruption that have not been resolved.

 

Exactly, and the colonial commentary in this thread is disturbing....as it signifies a "their crimes are worse than our crimes" mentality.

Sean in Ottawa

Timebandit wrote:

Um.  I think you need to look into this further.  We're talking about alleged misappropriation of funding (I say alleged because I can' recall off the top of my head if it was proven, but I think it may have been), interference by political appointees in the academics, defection of instructors back to U of R and enrollment dropping precipitously.  This has been ongoing for about 5 years, with warning after warning being given and not taken seriously.

I only hope that FNU's bridges haven't been entirely burned and that, now that they've suspended the administration and fired their board of governers, somebody can pull it out of the fire.

I don't get your reply. I made the comparison the the sponsorship scandal which also had misappropriation of funds. I get that this is a problem. The issue is when you have an institution you want to keep you fix it-- you don't shut it down. Why can't the funders -- provincial and federal come to the table with a solution that leaves a FNU in place. This is clearly something that First Nations people want-- even if the solution is to replace the governance model completely with a new one negotiated between FN and the funders designed to allow more accountability. The idea of just closing an entire idea and institution due to governance issues makes little sense to me. I am sure there are many options here where the AFN among others could be consulted. You don't just give a warning and then shut it down unless this is something you do not consider as essential.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

I don't think the provincial government has the authority to go in and change the governance of an institution that is not a provincial gov't organization - they can ask for it to be done, but the only real enforcement they can impose is financial.  Repeated refusal to negotiate has taken that kind of mediation of the table.  Pat Atkinson threatened to withdraw funding in 2007, they made promises, got the funding and reneged.  It's a pattern of behaviour. 

What really sucks is that the staff, faculty and students are left in the lurch because the upper management simply would not play ball.  I think your view of the situation is overly simplistic.  It wasn't just a warning.  It was repeated attempts to negotiate and repeated warnings.  How long do you go on warning while the other party refuses to take you seriously?

ETA:  It's unfortunate, IMV, that the board of governors and senior administration didn't behave as if FNUC was essential.  If they don't, why should any one else?

remind remind's picture

An interesting aside is that the BC government announced yesterday it was halting  all provincial government oversights of the universities in BC.

 

So the money will flow from provincial coffers, but the universities can spend it how they want....one wonders when the Board falls into feeding their own pockets if they will be shut down too?

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

remind wrote:

An interesting aside is that the BC government announced yesterday it was halting  all provincial government oversights of the universities in BC.

 

So the money will flow from provincial coffers, but the universities can spend it how they want....one wonders when the Board falls into feeding their own pockets if they will be shut down too?

 

Don't worry they will never shut down the Christian U's that have sprung up out here. What they said yesterday in effect is that the universities can charge what ever they like for tuition and when students complain to the government they will ignore them because they are not involved.

al-Qa'bong

FNUC lays off workers

 

Quote:

 

Staff at the university learned through an email that Wednesday would be the last day for all non-essential and non-student casual employees.

More layoffs are expected soon as the Regina-based facility grapples with an estimated $300,000-a-month deficit.

"We were informed we're running a significant monthly deficit and that steps would need to be taken to address that, beginning immediately," said Randy Lundy, a professor and chair of the university's academic council.

 

I'm posting this mostly because Randy Lundy and I were in Patrick Lane's Can Lit. class together about 20 years ago. Another weird thing is that CBC Radio did a story this morning on First Nations unemployment in Saskatchewan, in which they interviewed someone else I know, Darcy Bear, who is the Chief of the Whitecap Dakota First Nation.

 

 

OK, enough name-dropping for now...

 

homanchoochoo

I really cannot believe what I am reading... it's fact check time... first of all japagaijin is in fact Jessica Paul, a long time SaskParty insider who now works for the Queen's printer under a nearly 10,000 per month salary as an appointee of the SaskParty recently. Her basic defense of the SaskParty is very weak from the simple fact that she could be dismissed as a sycophant. That said, I'll accept her premise and argument anyway but it's not relevant in any way to the discussion and I will tell you why in a moment. Secondly, the other sycophants commenting in this thread are simply trying to smear the SaskParty. They all have very valid points about the Fraud that centers on the SaskParty and it's political insiders but again, the points being made are lost in the discussion because there is a much greater point to made which I will get to in a second. Thirdly, Fraud and Public Breach of Trust are in fact what the premier of Saskatchewan was investigated for by the Police Service. A now current sitting Regina Wascana MLA for SaskParty was involved in that investigation and influenced the Regina Police Service and Crown Prosecutors Office to not charge the people invovled - this failure is a grand mistake that people like Jessica Paul are being paid to coverup as media and marketing specialists.

Now to the major point that goes well above and beyond the sychophancy and boot licking of the commentors above who are simply smearing and trying to shame one another: SHAME! I do not support the NDP, Liberals, PC, or SaskParty and I vote my conscience when I enter the voting booth and do not make up my mind before that moment. I say "SHAME" to people like Jessica Paul and others because you are shameless. You and Brad Wall and all the SaskParty MLAs who were on the verge of getting kicked out of the PC party when they jumped over to the Liberals before forming the SaskParty are in fact not only guilty of Public Breach of Trust and and Fraud but you are all SHAMELESS. Most people with a conscience would have left public life and admitted their horrible effect on the province of Saskatchewan but not the SaskParty or people like Jessica Paul. Instead having had a taste of the good life of catered beverages and access to unlimited tax payer money these people - and I use that term loosely - chose to get as many people like Jessica Paul on board to help them reinvent and put a new wrapper on them as possible so as to fool the voters and get another crack at destroying the province of Saskatchewan.

My point then is you are shameless. You destroyed Saskatchewan and you would not go away so I'm telling you now - go away. I'm sick of you shaming Saskatchewan and I want you go away. Just go away and leave my province alone. I know this will mean a loss of luxury to you and that you will no longer be able to take from Saskatchewan Tax Payers your inflated salaries or sit in fancy embroidered leather chairs or get the catered beverages at the Legislature any longer, but just go away. Go away. Just Go away you Shameless human trash.