According to the Globe and Mail, a note made public by an access-to-information request suggests that the Conservative government is politicizing decisions over which impoverished remote reserves get new elementary schools.

This information was found in a note from an Indian Affairs official who works on the file.

In further documents that the Globe obtained, it asserts that INAC hired public-relations firm Hill and Knowlton to help clean up the storm of bad press the agency was facing in regards to the dire state of on-reserve schools in Northern Ontario.

During the parliamentary session in Ottawa on February 26, Canada’s opposition parties attacked Indian Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl arguing that memos themselves suggest that which reserves get the funding are politicized.

The comments were made in regards to a 2008 memo written by John-Paul Fournier, the department’s head of capital planning. According to the documents, the renovation of a severely dilapidated elementary school in North Spirit Lake, north of Kenora, Ontario, was delayed indefinitely while the riding was held by Liberal MP Roger Valley simply because it was in an opposition riding.

Once Valley was defeated by Conservative Greg Rickford in the 2008 election, the community announced that the school renovation would be going through.