Valcourt defends funding levels for FN child services now under scrutiny by human rights tribunal - APTN NewsAPTN News

Valcourt defends funding levels for FN child services now under scrutiny by human rights tribunal

APTN National News
OTTAWA–Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt defended Ottawa’s treatment of First Nation children Tuesday as the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal continued to hear closing arguments on a discrimination case against the federal government.

Valcourt faced questions from the NDP in the House of Commons over the lack of funding for First Nation child and family services.

NDP Aboriginal affairs critic Jean Crowder said during question period that Ottawa was providing 22 per cent less funding for child services compared to provincial levels.

“The Conservative government is facing an unprecedented human rights tribunal for systematically discriminating against First Nation children on reserve,” said Crowder. “Its own experts have confirmed the shortfall. How can the prime minister justify treating children on reserve as second-class citizens?”

Valcourt said the Harper government had increased funding for Aboriginal Affairs’ child and family services program by 40 per cent since 2006 and the total had risen to almost $630 million.

“Protecting women and children, in particular on reserve, is and remains a priority of our government,” said Valcourt. “We will continue to take action to ensure that children and families have the support they need.”

A few blocks away, in an eleventh floor hearing room, the three-person Canadian Human Rights Tribunal panel continued to hear closing arguments in a discrimination case against the federal government. The First Nation Child and Family Caring Society along with the Assembly of First Nations launched the complaint alleging Ottawa discriminated against First Nations children by spending less for child welfare compared to provincial child welfare systems serving non-Indigenous people.

Justice Canada lawyers have unsuccessfully tried to have the complaint thrown out on grounds the tribunal does not have the jurisdiction to rule on the matter.

There are currently between 30,000 to 40,000 Indigenous children in care across the country, according to Aboriginal Affairs’ numbers from 2012.


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3 Responses to “Valcourt defends funding levels for FN child services now under scrutiny by human rights tribunal”

    Philip Shupe October 22, 2014 at 7:34 pm #

    30,000 – 40,000 of our Aboriginal Children are in care? I thought statistics explained the main reasons behind Government removal or apprehension was Neglect, does anybody know or understand where our Aboriginal funds are spent? SCFS (Secwepemc Child & Family Services) Agency in Kamloops B.C. spends tens of thousands of our Secwepemc dollars on non-native care-givers while giving Aboriginal parents $50 gift cards, my children were removed because we had a messy house, SCFS Agents didn’t concern themselves with the fact I was a tax-paying, gainfully employed and independant single parent with 3 happy and healthy children…lot’s of food in the cupboards but they still used the term “Neglect” in an attempt to destroy our once happy and healthy family, it’s no secret the Government continues to make a decent living off of our children and families, nor is it a secret social workers and Indian Agents alike continue to abuse their powers while getting paid to act in our best interest’s….and guess what? SCFS Agency still advertises the need for more foster homes.

    seanna784 October 22, 2014 at 1:36 pm #

    This another form Residential school program but still doing the same thing, taking Aboriginal children away from native families. After tthey turn 16 years old, they’re dumped on the streets by economic thinking foster parents. What Harper apologize for, he’s doing the same thing.

    Watsennisaks Norton October 22, 2014 at 12:47 am #

    Valcourt should live on what they give to the children, let’s see how he will survive on that!