APTN National News
OTTAWA–The federal government is appealing a court decision that ordered Ottawa to help pay for the care of a severely disabled teenager on the Pictou Landing First Nation in Nova Scotia.
The case was launched last year by the Pictou Landing band council in an effort to force the federal government to help Maurina Beadle care for her teenage son Jeremy.
Beadle has cared for Jeremy his entire life. But after suffering a stroke in 2010, Beadle had to bring in outside help with that care. Those costs can be as high as $8,000.00 a month.
Beadle applied under Jordan’s Principle for help to offset those costs.
Jordan’s Principle was a motion introduced by NDP MP Jean Crowder. It states that when contacted by a family in need, the first level of government contacted will pay for the service and then argue over who foots the bill later. Crowder’s motion was unanimously supported in the House of Commons in 2007.
Last month, in what was considered a landmark ruling, a Federal judge ruled that Ottawa is bound by Jordan’s Principle. Justice Leonard Mandamin ordered Ottawa to reimburse the money associated with helping Beadle care for her son at home.
Crowder said the Harper’s government’s decision to appeal undercut their support for the Jordan’s Principle motion.
“I’m disappointed to see the Conservatives appealing this decision,” said Crowder. “This points to their lack of support for the principles outlined in my motion on Jordan’s Principle that passed unanimously in the House of Commons back in 2007. ”
The ruling had broad implications for the federal government which would end up facing millions of dollars in health care costs.
“I was hoping that they wouldn’t (appeal),” said Philippa Pictou, the band’s health director.
But she added that it’s not over yet.
“I believe that we will win the appeal,” said Pictou. “But it is so tiring to have to keep fighting, it takes so much energy. ”
Cindy Blackstock, executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring society and a staunch supporter of Jordan’s principle said it was “unfortunate” Canada decided to appeal the ruling.
” I find it hard to believe that Canada would appeal a Federal Court decision that allows Maurina Beadle to care for her son while she recovers from her stroke and is saving the taxpayer money doing it,” said Blackstock.
Crowder said the money the government is using fight Beadle could go to better use.
“The money the Conservatives are spending on fighting this court case could be spent on Jeremy’s and other children’s care.”
Minister Bernard Valcourt’s office directed enquiries about the case to the department’s media relations section.
“Following careful consideration we have decided to appeal the decision,” said the department in a statement.
When asked to elaborate, a spokesperson for the department said it would be looked into “tomorrow.”