QUEEN’S PARK – NDP critics Sol Mamakwa (Indigenous and Treaty Relations) and Teresa Armstrong (Children and Youth Services) issued the following statement after the Parliamentary Budget Office released their report on Tuesday that showed hundreds of thousands of First Nations children are eligible for up to $15 billion in compensation due to delay and denial of government services.
“If anyone doubts that the vestiges of colonialism towards First Nations people still exists in Canada today, the Parliamentary Budget Officer’s report shows in stark terms that hundreds of thousand of First Nations children have been denied life saving and life giving, essential public services in this country,” said Mamakwa.
Despite orders from the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) for governments to protect the rights of First Nations children to access public services through Jordan’s Principle, and despite the constant promises from governments, more than 250,000 children were denied the services that every other Canadian child accesses daily.
“How much suffering and oppression must First Nations children endure in this country before they are treated as equals to other Canadian children? How much indignity and racism must Indigenous families suffer before they are respected?” said Mamakwa.
“The PBO report shows the magnitude of the unjust treatment of First Nations children and families,” said Armstrong. “The report puts numbers to the cost of systemic racism towards First Nations children in this country, pins it in the billions and still doesn’t come close.
“Such is the extent of the government’s attitude towards First Nations people, that even after the CHRT found the federal government guilty of systemic discrimination against First Nations children in 2016, the government refused to negotiate a solution with families, increasing the cost of compensation to the PBO’s estimates today.
“Systemic discrimination is not exclusive to the federal government. We saw this play out in July of last year when Ontario’s announcement for child welfare system reform proved to be largely symbolic and did not put in the resources to fulfill the need. We require systemic change.”