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Motion passes urging feds drop court actions on rulings regarding First Nations kids

Last Updated Jun 7, 2021 at 2:21 pm PDT

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh holds a press conference in Ottawa on Monday, June 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Summary

MPs are calling for the feds to drop legal battles against a pair of rulings involving First Nations children

Parliamentarians from five parties demanded Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government abandon the judicial reviews

OTTAWA — MPs from all parties have joined New Democrats in supporting a call for the federal government to drop its legal battles against a pair of rulings involving First Nations children.

In a motion put forward by NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, parliamentarians from all five parties teamed up today to demand Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s minority government abandon the judicial reviews to be heard in Federal Court next week.

The motion, which expresses the view of the House of Commons but is legally non-binding, passed 271-0, with Liberal cabinet members abstaining from the vote.

It also asks the government for faster implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action, trauma resources for survivors and a progress report to be tabled in 10 days, and sit down with a group representing survivors from St. Anne’s, a former residential school in Fort Albany, Ont., over their search for justice.

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The motion came in response to last month’s news that ground-penetrating radar detected what are believed to be the remains of 215 children at a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C.

Next Monday, the federal government is poised to argue against a Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings regarding compensation for First Nations children in foster care and the expansion of Jordan’s Principle to children who live off reserves.

The first ruling ordered Ottawa to pay $40,000 each to some 50,000 First Nations children separated from their families by a chronically underfunded child-welfare system, as well as to each of their parents or grandparents.

The second widened the applicability of Jordan’s Principle, a rule stating that when governments disagree about who’s responsible for providing services to First Nations children, they must help a child in need first and argue over the bills later.