Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day attends a news conference at the Ontario Legislature in Toronto on September 9. 2015. (Photo: Aaron Vincent Elkaim/CP)The announcement came just one day before Ottawa was required to prove to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal that it is not discriminating against First Nations children in delivery of child welfare services. But the details took aboriginal leaders by surprise and left many people scratching their heads. "It's important that aspects of Jordan's Principle are being implemented," commented Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day. "But funds should also be put in place for all services, such as social, education and other investments — not just health dollars. As the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal pointed out earlier this year, there exists unequal levels of health care — and all social services — that indigenous children in Canada receive compared to non-indigenous children."
Cindy Blackstock speaks at a news conference in Ottawa in January 2016 as Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde looks on. (Photo: Adrian Wyld/CP)Cindy Blackstock, who runs one of the organizations that filed the original child-welfare complaint with the human rights tribunal, said she is reviewing Tuesday's announcement and Wednesday submission to the tribunal. It is problematic the government appears to be using a flawed oversight process to assess and oversee the application of Jordan's Principle, she said. "The (government's) fact sheet leads us to believe that the two assistant deputy ministers are from Health and Indigenous Affairs are going to oversee it but in my view, this needs some independent oversight," Blackstock said in an interview. "Those two departments are responsible for the discriminatory definition and implementation of Jordan's Principle so it shouldn't be just left to them to oversee this process."
Blackstock wants answers
Bennett vows 'overhaul'"It is a slap in the face to our First Nations and their families, and it is a slap in the face to the residential school survivors who were really the assault on our child welfare." In its six-year examination of the Canada's residential school legacy, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission flagged the number of indigenous children in care as a key issue to be addressed. Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett has vowed to "overhaul" the system.
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