REUTERS/Chris Wattie
Canada’s Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett (R) and Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould arrive at a news conference regarding a ruling by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada, January 26, 2016. They have promised to ensure that the government takes action.

Indigenous Advocates Press for Change After Canada Human Rights Ruling

Cara McKenna

In the wake of a landmark ruling on human rights and indigenous children, advocates are demanding that Canada take immediate action to fix a failing system that is causing tens of thousands of First Nations children on reserve to suffer solely because of their race.

The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruled on January 26 that the federal government racially discriminates against First Nations children by giving them significantly less funding for child welfare services than the rest of the population, despite their having a greater need. The tribunal ordered the federal government to “cease its discriminatory practices” by reforming relevant legislation and programs. Indigenous leaders and human rights organizations called the decision a watershed moment and a potential catalyst for eradicating inequities in First Nations health, education, housing and clean water.

RELATED: Validated: Canadian Human Rights Tribunal Rules in Favor of First Nations Children

Federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, and Indigenous and Northern Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett have promised to work with First Nations leaders and communities, as well as provinces and territories, to equalize both funding and social outcomes. Advocates said they are keeping a close eye on the government to make sure it follows through. Urgent action is required, they said, because 163,000 First Nations children are still in jeopardy.

First Nations Child and Family Caring Society executive director Cindy Blackstock, who first launched the complaint to the tribunal with the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) nine years ago, said the government could take its first steps right now—from information already available in the organization’s database.

“I welcome the remarks made by the government,” Blackstock said after the ruling. “But children only have one childhood. They can’t wait for studies.”

She added in a later statement that Canadians must now keep their government accountable.

“Racial discrimination against children must not be tolerated,” Blackstock said. “It is vital that Canadians watch the government's actions closely to ensure the ruling is implemented and inequalities in other First Nations children's services such as education, health and basics like water and housing are fully addressed."

RELATED: Scared and Spied On Under Harper, Why Child Advocate Didn't Give Up

UNICEF Canada said that necessary next steps include funding preventative services to keep children out of foster care, establishing an indigenous child welfare agency, and creating an office of a national commissioner for children and youth. UNICEF Canada’s Chief Policy Advisor Marv Bernstein said while government has a key role, the well-being of First Nations children is everyone’s responsibility.

He said there must be immediate action after a lengthy litigation process and agreed that it must encompass other areas along with child welfare.

“Nine years is an eternity in the childhood of a girl or boy in critical need of services and supports that have been systematically denied throughout their short lives,” he said, adding that the decision “is a watershed moment and must serve as a catalyst to end inequities on all levels—not just in child welfare services—including the rights of Canada's aboriginal children to health, education, housing and clean water.”

Frontline child and family workers echoed the same call for action and are asking to be included in the government’s next steps to repair the broken child welfare system. In Saskatchewan, Yorkton Tribal Council Child and Family Services and Touchwood Child and Family Services issued a joint statement that said interim measures must be determined to end discriminatory practices.

“For several years we have asked the federal and provincial governments to work collaboratively with us. The panel re-affirms this request and it is time for action in Saskatchewan,” the statement said. “Daily challenges include a current need for a moratorium on family court applications, adoptions of our children, and a First Nations advocate who specializes in on-reserve child population.”

Kw’umut Lelum Child and Family Services on Vancouver Island echoed those assertions.

“What is required now is urgent action by both the federal and provincial governments working in full partnership with First Nations,” said Robina Thomas of Kw’umut Lelum’s board of directors in a statement. “There is no time to sit around and talk while children are discriminated against and suffer.”

First Nations leaders also joined the call for action.

“I call on the federal government to take immediate action in implementing fair and equitable funding provisions to ensure our children are cared for adequately and to meet the needs of our communities,” said AFN B.C. Regional Chief Shane Gottfriedson. “Now is the time for governments to take action in partnership with First Nations in addressing real and substantial change for the improvement of child welfare in our communities.”

Taking it even further out, Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN) Vice Chief Kimberley Jonathan called the ruling “a great opportunity for the Liberal government and the Province of Saskatchewan to truly implement the United Nations Declaration of Rights on Indigenous Peoples and the Truth and Reconciliation of Commission Calls for Action in not only its legislation but in its everyday practices and policies”—something that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had promised during his campaign.

RELATED: Indigenous Leaders Look to Justin Trudeau for Adherence to 'Obama Style' Campaign Promises

“We want to see real change for our First Nations children both on reserve and off reserve. Prevention, resources and adequate funding is only the beginning,” Jonathan said in a statement. “We can see from the tribunal’s decision that there is much more work that needs to be done. It is time this country and our home province really takes human rights seriously, especially when it comes to our most vulnerable groups of peoples, which includes our indigenous women and those living with disabilities. By honoring our First Nations children we become a richer nation.” 

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David E.H. Smith's picture
David E.H. Smith
Submitted by David E.H. Smith on
New Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau’s Liberal Party swears that they may not part of the Planning, Gratification, &/or, Continuing Cover-up of The Residential Schools’ Native Canadian Cultural Genocide & ‘Ordained’ Pedophile Rings? Trudeau sheds Tear as Liberal Party & Canadian Establishment Caught in Complicity of Cultural Genocide? "NATIVE SUICIDES LINKED TO INFO. DEPRIVATION; HELP IS ON THE WAY?” Re; the NUNAVUT & NESKANTAGA First Nation's high rate of SUICIDES. The UN’s Special Rapporteur Mr. ANAYA; ”IGNORAMUS et IGNORABIMUS?’ After discussing with a PSYCHOLOGIST, et al, the relationship BETWEEN: the DEPRIVATION of the most vulnerable Native community members, et al, of the simplest & most basic information, such as the information in The W.A.D. Accord (aka; “The Australian Question”) and the high rates of: 1) SUICIDES, 2) despair, 3) disenchantment, 4) unemployment, 5) poverty, 6) etc., that are found in many Native communities, et al, across Canada, the PSYCHOLOGIST CONCURRED. I have subsequently shared some of the aforementioned information, et al, with, &/or, have had the information & questions improved by, amongst others: 1) senior politicians & bureaucrats; both, federal & provincial, Canadian, et al, 2) the relevant lobbyists' clients & the executives of the political parties operating in Canada, 3) the "coveted" foreign investor, et al, 4) the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights & 5) et al. If you are interested in utilizing the aforementioned information to minimize, &/or, ELIMINATE the aforementioned major contributing factor to the SUICIDES, etc, &/or, have questions regarding the basis for The Compensation (similar to the compensation re; the Residential Schools, except larger, et al) to the most vulnerable community members, et al, for being deprived of the aforementioned simplest & most basic information, then, you might consider contacting the above groups & individuals in order to obtain some of the information that is in The W.A.D. Accord, etc., then, contacting me by mail at: David E.H. Smith, 2173 Bradford Ave., Sidney, B.C. CANADA. V8L 2C8. By way of closing, does the information in this letter & the information in The WAD Accord belong to you, or, to the community members? And, what do the psychologists that the Nunavut & Neskanataga, et al, are utilizing know about the aforementioned relationship? And, do they concur, or, not? Sincerely, David E.H. Smith - Researcher - "Qui tam..." ****** For a less Comprehensive version of The Australian Question, aka; The W.A.,D. Accord, see; ****** Please also see; The UN’s Special Rapporteur Mr. ANAYA; ”IGNORAMUS et IGNORABIMUS”; “ABORIGINAL CANADIANS, INFO DEPRIVATION, & The Growing GLOBAL CORPORATE ECONOMY”(#10). see; *** Also see; Truth & Reconciliation between: Native & NON Native Canadians AND the Government of Canada, corporate Canada', et al; ‘YOU’ Committed, &/or, Enabled Secret 'Cultural Genocide'… ****** Please consider sharing the enclosed information & questions with 10 members of your family, friends, associates in order that they can use the due diligence info to make more informed decision about their families' financial planning, & then they can share it with 10 others... ****** For more Information & Questions re; The Relationship between Human (Nature) Rights & Economics by way of the C-CI Treaty, the CET Agreement, TPP, et al, and The WAD Accord & List of RECENT ARTICLES, LETTERS & NOTIFICATIONS by DEHS, see;

David E.H. Smith's picture
David E.H. Smith
Submitted by David E.H. Smith on
Truth & Reconciliation & Corporate Canada’s (East) PM Trudeau & The Canadian Establishment’s Cultural Genocide; Native Residential Schools of Canada, et al; ‘YOU’ Committed, &/or, Enabled Secret 'Cultural Genocide' Against Aboriginal Canadians’, et al, or, Was/Is it Corporate Canada’s (The Canadian Establishment’s) Secret 'Cultural Genocide' Committed Against Aboriginal Canadians’? New Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau’s Liberal Party swears that they may not part of the Planning, Gratification, &/or, Continuing Cover-up of The Residential Schools’ Native Canadian Cultural Genocide & ‘Ordained’ Pedophile Rings? Trudeau sheds Tear as Liberal Party & Canadian Establishment Caught in Complicity of Cultural Genocide? Flurry of Global Corporate Treaties/’Arrangements’ helps Corporate Canada take back Native Canadian gains & Dilutes CorpCan’s Liabilities re; The Compensation in The WAD Accord. • Pope Francis may continue to have ‘Difficulty’ Apologizing to the PM Trudeau for Residential Schools’ Abuses while PM Continues to Blame & Punish Those Who He Has Been Deliberately Deprived of the Info including the citizens of the EU? Other Religious Leaders may have similar Difficulties. • While the cultural genocide of the Residential Schools were perpetrated against Native Canadians by non-Native leaders, the continuing cover-up & continuing deprivation of the relevant information is a deliberate ‘arrangement’ to keep the grassroots of Native communities (95% - 99% of community members) & non-Native communities from working together to prevent ‘our’ leaders, the Canadian Establishment, from continuing to keep trying to get away with ‘it’ again & again &… • PM denies depriving Global Corporate Associates, et al, of Due Diligence info & questions re; Compensation in The WAD Accord? Contribution to WAD Compensation by Global Corporate Associates & citizens of China, TPP & EU nations consensual cost of doing business? (CAN.) At the risk of annoying Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin & the Justices of The Supreme Court of Canada while they consider the merits of: ‘The Submission’ to The SUPREME COURT of CANADA: ‘The SHAREHOLDERS & Corporations of AMERICA, Japan, the EU, Canada, the Trans Pacific nations, et al v. the harmless Canadian NON shareholders, both; Native & non Native, et al’ (see; davidehsmith.wo¬ including 'The MERKEL (Chancellor of Germany) Letter; To Sue, or, Be Sued?' (see; davidehsmith.wo¬, would it be more accurate if the Chief Justice said that it was corporate Canada & its associated religious & governmental leaders that attempted 'cultural genocide' on Aboriginal Canadians as opposed to saying the vague remark that is was ‘Canada’ that attempted the aforementioned 'cultural genocide'? And, what other nations are, &/or, can be, implicated as a consequence of being co-signatories to the recent flurry of Global Treaties/'Arrangements' with Canada? *** Prime Minister Trudeau; 'Blaming & Punishing Those Who Have Been Deliberately Deprived of the Info’; ‘Inquiry’ Settlements Protect Gratified Rapists, Pedophiles, et al. Courts Only Forum for Justice, Guilt & Reconciliation. …DEHS; Cont’d… RECONCILIATION between: Native & NON Native Canadians AND the Government of Canada & corporate Canada'. Excerpts are from "TOWARDS A MORE INFORMED OPINION regarding the Environmental Impact& Context of the Enbridge's Northern Gateway (Pipeline) Project (NGP), et al" by DEHS. (Last Edited; Nov., 2014) "It is also in the spirit of reconciliation between the most vulnerable Native & non-Native Canadians, et al, that seems that most Canadians are insulted for being blamed for PM Harper deliberately depriving non-Native Canadians, & the world court of public opinion...of the information...& then have the "bright idea" of blaming the good people of Alberta, et al, who have been deprived of the information...Therefore, once again the governments are covering for those who need to continue to benefit from the deprivation of the information. And, this time Canadians are being deprived of the information embodied in the comprehensive version of The WAD Accord, etc., at the peril of the most vulnerable Canadians; the info deprivation is continuing to cost hundreds of billions of dollars. I would also like to thank those members of First Nations communities, et al, who are trying to help make non-Native Canadians, et al, aware of the problems created by the lobbying process, particularly, at the level of the federal government that has resulted in the present "diasporas'" fear regarding their suggesting alternatives, improvements, etc., to the Aboriginal political process... And, in the spirit of the reconciliation of the First Nation in Canada & the people of Canada, I think that it is a very appropriate place to apologize on behalf of: 1) the (individuals &) group of Canadians that were, amongst other things, sexually "satisfied", &/or, gratified, et al, by their abuses in The Residential Schools that caused the compensation, et al, whether the abuse was; a) sexual, b) physical, c) psychological, d) racial, e) cultural, f) religious, et al, & /or, g) et al, 2) the Canadians that, not only caused the environment that permitted the abuses, but, also deprived the Canadian public & the world of the information about the abuses for so long, including; a) the executives of the relevant political parties of Canada, b) the relevant lobbyists, if any, & c) their political representatives sitting in the Parliament of Canada, for continuing in their attempts to off-load their responsibility & their guilt on to the information deprived public. Is it regrettable, or, convenient that the Canadian inquiry looking into the Residential Schools abuses deprived the public of the large amount of information that could have been elucidated by plea bargaining defendants in any adversarial, criminal prosecutions? Furthermore, this protection afforded by inquiries, in general, as opposed to criminal prosecutions, provides a great deal of succour for those who are the direct beneficiaries of the information deprivation as it enables the "deprivers" to continue to assist their global associates in their associates' quest to acquire, manage, control & transport the natural resources that are continuing to be found in Canada...” *** For the FULL ARTICLE, see; or Google: PART 4 - ENBRIDGE'S NGP; ‘TOWARDS A MORE INFORMED OPINION...; Enbridge's Northern Gateway (Pipeline) Project... by David E.H. Smith, or, see; ________________________________________ Also see; Google; ‘HELP IS ON THE WAY? U.N.’s Mr. Anaya, et al; 'IGNORAMUS et IGNORABIMUS' & ‘The W.A.D. Accord’ & its Compensation. *** For the FULL 'Submission' to the Supreme Court of Canada, see; The Supreme Court of Canada ________________________________________ For more Information & Questions re; The Relationship between Human (Nature) Rights & Economics by way of the TTIP, the CET Agreement, TPP, C-CI Treaty, et al, and The WAD Accord & List of RECENT ARTICLES, LETTERS& NOTIFICATIONS by DEHS, see; *** Please consider sharing the enclosed information & questions with 10 friends who will share it with 10 others...