ontario news watch

Trudeau mum on calls to abandon appeals of compensation for First Nations kids

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is sidestepping questions about whether he will adhere to a unanimous motion passed in the House of Commons Monday calling on the federal government to drop its legal battles against a pair of rulings involving First Nations children.

The non-legally binding motion, passed by all five parties in the Commons, was put forward by NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and demands that Trudeau’s minority government abandon the judicial reviews to be heard in Federal Court next week.

Trudeau, Liberal cabinet members and some Liberal backbenchers abstained from the vote.

When asked a direct question today about whether he would drop the court cases, Trudeau avoided answering, pointing instead to previous statements he has made saying that Indigenous kids who suffered harm at the hands of the child welfare system deserve compensation.

One of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings is being appealed by Ottawa ordered the federal government 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.

Last week, Trudeau suggested that compensation should be proportional to the trauma suffered, rather than a blanket amount awarded to all Indigenous kids who suffered harm.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 8, 2021.

The Canadian Press