Trudeau files last resort against billions for Indigenous children | Canada
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Justin Trudeau’s government has filed a last-minute legal remedy against a ruling that would force it to pay billions of dollars to First Nations children who are discriminated against in the welfare system.
Minutes before a court deadline on Friday afternoon, the government filed documents indicating that it planned to once again oppose a human rights tribunal ruling ordering the payment of a compensation.
Soon after, however, the government issued a statement saying he would end the litigation while he negotiated with First Nations groups to determine how compensation should be paid.
The decision to challenge the court’s ruling – and the ensuing pause in litigation – was quickly condemned by prominent indigenous voices.
“The Feds have had years to sit down and negotiate. The courts told them to negotiate. Instead, authorities refused to comply with court orders. Discrimination and evil continued to our children. Now, before the federal government agrees to negotiate, they wait until 4:30 p.m. Friday and get their call first. Wow, ” tweeted Pam Palmater, Mi’kmaw lawyer and chair of Indigenous governance at Ryerson University.
In 2019, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal held that the federal government “willfully and recklessly” discriminated against First Nations children living on reserve by underfunding child and family services. Children were removed from their communities and placed in government-run programs.
The court ordered Ottawa to pay C $ 40,000, the maximum the court can award, to each child and their parents and grandparents, but the federal government has appealed the decision.
This appeal was dismissed by a Federal Court judge who concluded that the government had failed to demonstrate that the court’s decision was unreasonable.
The battle for compensation dates back 14 years, when Cindy Blackstock, executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society and the Assembly of First Nations, argued that by underfunding the welfare of the As a childhood on reserve, Ottawa’s conduct amounted to racial discrimination.
Indigenous leaders have long criticized the Prime Minister’s decision to oppose both decisions – but had recently expressed hope that the Liberal government would end the years-long battle.
In its brief, the government says it “recognizes the finding of systemic discrimination and does not oppose the general principle that compensating First Nations people who have experienced pain and suffering” – but has stated that he found the way in which compensation was determined was problematic.
In its statement on Friday, the government said it hoped to reach a deal by December.
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