End discrimination against First Nations children

Media release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 28, 2016

End discrimination against First Nations children

Yesterday, the NDP put the issue of First Nations child welfare to a vote in Parliament as an opposition day motion. New Democrats are calling on the government to comply with the historic ruling of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ordering the end of discrimination against First Nations children.

MP Gord Johns (Courtenay-Alberni) stood up in the House to deliver a statement from Deb Foxcroft, the president of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council on this motion.

"Our children, youth and families have been waiting a long, long time to get much needed supports and services to ensure their safety and well-being," quoted Johns. "We all have a responsibility to our children. Let's not have them wait one more day, one more night, one more month, one more year."

One-third of children living in the Alberni Valley are living in poverty, more than double the national rate, and many of them are First Nations children. According to BC Vital Statistics Agency, when measuring three important indicators of adolescent healthy development in Alberni Valley, the number of children less than 15 years of age living on income assistance, in need of protection, and living in care is three times the provincial rate.

The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has ruled that the government discriminates against First Nations children in its delivery of child welfare services on reserves. Since the ruling, the Tribunal has issued two compliance orders to compel the Liberals to act.

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The following NDP motion was debated in the House on Thursday, October 27, 2016:

That the House call on the government to comply with the historic ruling of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ordering the end of discrimination against First Nations children, including by:

a) immediately investing an additional $155 million in new funding for the delivery of child welfare that has been identified as the shortfall this year alone, and establishing a funding plan for future years that will end the systemic shortfalls in First Nations child welfare;

b) implementing the full definition of Jordan's Principle as outlined in a resolution passed by the House on December 12, 2007;

c) fully complying with all orders made by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal and committing to stop fighting Indigenous families in court who are seeking access to services covered by the federal government, and;

d) making public all pertinent documents related to the overhaul of child welfare and the implementation of Jordan's Principle.

Full videos of Gord Johns' comments in the House of Commons can be found here:

Government must end discrimination against First Nations children

Gord Johns calls for funding for First Nations child welfare services