Justin Trudeau has come under fire as his government sought to appeal a court ruling that found Canada’s on-reserve child welfare system discriminated against Indigenous youth and mandated billions of dollars in reparations be paid.
Canada’s human rights tribunal ruled that Indigenous youth were “wilfully and recklessly” harmed by the government’s policies and called for compensation worth $40,000 CAD to each child removed from their home. The amount is the maximum compensation currently allowable under the country’s human rights act.
However, Trudeau announced his government would appeal the ruling, a move that puts his party in line with the Conservatives. “We agree with the tribunal’s finding that there must be compensation for those who were hurt,” he told reporters. “But the question is how to do that. We need to have conversations with partners, conversations with leaders and communities to make sure we’re getting that compensation right.”
Though the New Democratic Party’s Jagmeet Singh and the Green party’s Elizabeth May vowed to stick by the ruling of elected, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer said he would also appeal the decision. “This is a far-reaching decision that has major impacts on multiple levels of government,” he said. ”It would be appropriate to have a judicial review.”
Indigenous groups have also slammed Trudeau for the move, with Perry Bellegarde, the national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, stating “This is about supporting First Nations children and families, and respecting human rights... It is unconscionable that anyone would oppose this”.
Outgoing parliamentarian Romeo Saganash tweeted,
“I never want to hear one single Liberal pronounce the word Reconciliation, ever again!”
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