SASKATOON – The former head of a Metis group has announced his intention to sue the federal and Saskatchewan governments over the 60s Scoop.
Robert Doucette, a 60s Scoop survivor and former president of the Metis Nation of Saskatchewan, says it’s wrong that Metis were left out of a federal government apology and compensation deal for victims of the practice.
“For the most part, we’re looking for respect and for justice. We have seen nothing but disdain from the federal minister of Indigenous affairs, Carolyn Bennett, by leaving us out of this agreement,” Doucette said in Saskatoon on Monday, accompanied by other survivors and his lawyer.
The 60s Scoop was a practice that saw Indigenous, Metis and Inuit children taken from their families and placed in non-Indigenous care.
Bennett made a statement of apology in the fall for 60s Scoop survivors who were robbed of their cultural identities, but it didn’t include Metis.
The federal government agreed to pay a maximum $750 million to status Indian and Inuit victims. Ottawa also agreed to set aside a further $50 million for a new Indigenous Healing Foundation.
The settlement followed an Ontario court decision from February, when the federal government was found liable for the harm done to at-risk, on-reserve Indigenous children who were placed in non-Indigenous homes from 1965 to 1984 under terms of a federal-provincial agreement.
In 2015, then-premier Brad Wall promised an apology for Metis and First Nation survivors. However, an apology from the provincial government has not yet been issued. Wall had said he was ready to make an apology but he didn’t agree with the idea of provincial compensation.
The lawsuit filed by Doucette is not a class-action lawsuit as he says other survivors have the intent of filing other lawsuits in the future.
“Both levels of government are not taking responsibility for their actions and now leave Metis 60s Scoop survivors no choice but to defend ourselves and we will hold both levels of government accountable for the damage they’ve brought on Metis individuals,” Doucette said.
The chief of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, which represents 74 First Nations in Saskatchewan, suggested in November that Saskatchewan pay out $400 million, or at least $200 million, to 60s Scoop survivors.