The NDP is optimistic the Trudeau government has gotten the push its needs to end policies that discriminate against aboriginal children.
This week, the Canada Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) ordered Indigenous Affairs to respond to its landmark child welfare ruling by May 10. That order comes months after the CHRT ruling in January that came as a result of nearly a decade of advocate work for indigenous children, by former social worker Cindy Blackstock.
Northern Saskatchewan MP Georgina Jolibois has spoken about the ruling in the House of Commons, and commended Blackstock for her efforts. Until this week, Jolibois and her NDP colleagues have been pressing the Liberal government to respond to the ruling, with no luck.
“When I posed the question in the House of Commons I did not get a reply from the ministers nor the Prime Minister of Canada. When my fellow coworkers stood in the House and asked similar questions, we did not get an answer. To this date, the Prime Minister has not provided a thorough answer for us on this finding,” she said.
Jolibois said she’s disappointed that indigenous children and families are still suffering.
“We are talking about Indigenous children across Canada who are within systems and are facing discrimination. They don’t get full support and their families do not get support and the reserves across Canada do not get supports to improve services and improve the system,” she said.
The CHRT’s increased pressure has given Jolibois hope that the Liberals will take concrete action to end those systemic divides.
“I’m hoping it does. The government has to take action. Especially when we’re talking wtih nation-to-nation relationships. The grassroots, the First Nations and Metis people across Canada are looking for commitments from the government to help improve conditions on the reserve, the Metis communities,” she said.
Jolibois says she and her NDP colleagues are happy with this next step.
“The NDP was actually, we were very pleased with the ruling that came out because it is in support of removing systemic discrimination of children and youth straight across Canada,” she said.
She says it’s time for the Liberals to close the gap in quality of life between First Nations and non-First Nations people and build the nation-to-nation relationship it has promised.