Cindy Blackstock eyes Federal Court to force Ottawa to treat First Nations children fairly

APTN National News
If the federal government won’t abide by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruling on First Nations children, Cindy Blackstock says she’ll take them to the Federal Court.

“We see this as a track to the Federal Court,” said Blackstock Tuesday on the eve of a non-compliance hearing that is to begin at the human rights tribunal.

The tribunal called the hearing to examine why the federal government has yet to abide by a Jan. 2016 ruling that it discriminates against First Nation children.

The three-day hearing begins Wednesday in Ottawa but in its most recent filing the government has said the tribunal can’t force them to do anything.

“The tribunal does not have the statutory authority to enforce its own orders,” wrote the Department of Justice, which is headed up by Jody Wilson-Raybould, a former regional chief with the Assembly of First Nations.

Instead, the department said the tribunal should have a little more faith the government will execute the ruling.

“They should generally operate under a presumption that their rulings will be executed with reasonable diligence or good faith,” wrote the department.

Since its January 2016 ruling, where it determined Ottawa racially discriminates against First Nations children by underfunding programs compared to what non-Indigenous children receive under provincial programs, the tribunal has issued two non-compliance orders.

Blackstock said if the federal government didn’t believe the tribunal had authority to enforce its own orders then why did the feds agree to the ruling?

She also questions why the federal government didn’t seek a judicial review if it never intended to fully comply with the ruling.

“Tomorrow we are going to (the tribunal) because Canada has failed to observe three legal orders to stop racially discriminating against 165,000 little kids,” said Blackstock.

She said the government has said it can’t move forward until it finishes it’s “engagement strategy” that has Ottawa talking to groups and organizations to determine their need.

“We asked them what is it that you need to know that you don’t know? They have no idea,” said Blackstock. “They don’t know when this engagement is going to be finished.”

Blackstock is calling on the Minister of Youth to step in – that’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“There certainly can’t be a more important issue for the Minister of Youth then to end racial discrimination of its own government towards kids,” said Blackstock. “He needs to take a leadership role in this and demand his government come into full compliance right now.”

She estimated the government is at about 30 per cent compliant.

The government has said in affidavits to the tribunal it’s provided nearly three quarters of the $71 million earmarked for 2016 for the First Nations Child and Family Services program (FNCFSP). It’s part of $634.8 million funding over five years announced in last year’s budget for FNCFSP. That funding was decided upon before the tribunal made its ruling said Blackstock.

Blackstock has maintained at least $10 million of that stayed in Indigenous Affairs for various costs associated with providing the funding to groups across the country.

She has said there needed to be at least $200 million in immediate funding to try and meet urgent needs.

Blackstock first filed the human rights complaint over 10 years ago, along with the Assembly of First Nations. The former Conservative government tried multiple times to have it dismissed.

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6 thoughts on “Cindy Blackstock eyes Federal Court to force Ottawa to treat First Nations children fairly

  1. Still treating the survivors of the US and Canadian holocaust as ward’s of the state when in fact we are the true gustoedion’s of this continent

  2. This Govt has no authority so why does Cindy Blackstock want the courts to do this! She doesn’t fully understand. She is relentless yes but she don’t speak for us out west

  3. I love the compassion and fight that Dr Cindy Blackstock possesses and it seems based on one thing…frustration! The turns and bends of a government body that specializes in delay tactics that authorizes it’s own power will stall to a sputter soon. It’s out there clear and concise that it has cheated it’s own people.

  4. The audacity of this government to continues its abuse against children is abominable! To put Bill Wilson’s daughter at the forefront is pure trickery. Who continues to suffer…our children. On first contact, confederation, residential schools, the Indian Act, the White Paper. This country continues to treat the First Peoples as their wards and less than. ENOUGH. Our children matter. NOW. Ms JWR be very ashamed.

  5. I am just wondering who else is helping Cindy Blackstock in this epic battle? I never read of others who should be right beside her when demanding respect and action. It has been over a year since the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruling and Ms. Blackstock has been active for decades.

  6. I think it’s time to treat all races equal since the beginning of European invasion untobfirst nations lands in Canada we’ve always been treated less than you the govt have always found ways to oppress us as a people in our own lands you can make things right and give us equal rights on our own lands which we have at no time sold to to you not one acre at this time you hold over two trillion dollars of our moneys in trust as a first Nations I find it hard to believe you call Canada the land of opportunity when you as a govt do everything in your powers to keep us as a people oppressed time to take away that big smear you call democracy and give first nation’s what has always belonged to us our rights as a people in this land we call Canada

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