International News Desk – At Home and Abroad

At Home: Second round of First Nations Education Bill deemed Third Rate
Bill C-33, the controversial bill which would create the First Nations control of First Nations Education Act has been rejected by First Nations (FN) Chiefs, and they have demanded that the government immediately withdraw it according to CBC.

Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt has said that the bill meets the five conditions outlined by the Assembly of First Nations. However, various FN chiefs have stated that one of the primary concerns was that the act be co-developed with the FN in conjunction with the government of Canada, something they allege has not happened at all.

Aboriginal Affairs Canada has responded by saying that they will not invest any new money into aboriginal education so long as real educational reforms have not been undertaken, and no reforms will be undertaken until the AFN agrees on new legislation.

Around the Globe: Wouldn’t you love to burn your student loans?
In Chile, they did. An artist, Francisco Tapia, more commonly known as “Papas Fritas” (Fried Potatoes) snuck into a vault at a private, for-profit university, the Universidad del Mar, and stole tuition contracts. He then burned these documents which he claimed represented some $500 million in debt, according to The Guardian. Unlike in Canada, students are deeply involved in politics, with monthly marches and four former student leaders elected to parliament. This has forced the government to institute a massive set of reforms, including ending state subsidies to for-profit universities and schools like the one Papas Fritas stole the documents from. The ashes have now been put in a mobile art exhibit with a video screen that plays the artist’s message about “It’s over. You are all free from debt. You don’t have to pay a penny.”

Government investigators had already shut down the university as being little more than a money laundering operation, but students were still tied to their tuition contracts. Lawyers say that while the destruction of the documents does not technically eliminate the debt, it does make it virtually impossible to prove that any debt is owed, rendering it effectively uncollectible.