Desnethe-Missinippi-Churchill River NDP candidate Georgina Jolibois is calling out the Liberals for saying the federal government would seek a judicial review of a Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruling on discrimination of First Nations children.

The ruling calls on the federal government to pay more than $2 billion to as many as 50,000 First Nations children and their families.

That covers First Nations children in the child welfare system after Jan. 1, 2006 and states each should be compensated to the tune of $40,000.

“First Nations children deserve the same opportunities and the same care as any child in Canada,” said Jolibois. “There is no excuse that justifies the Trudeau Liberals’ or the Scheer Conservatives’ decision to take First Nations children back to court.”

The October ruling also says caregivers should be eligible for $20,000 plus an additional $20,000 for each child apprehended by government agencies.

Liberal candidate Tammy Cook-Searson defended the federal government decision.

“This ruling touches on issues of great importance. I agree that what has been lost cannot be recovered and to be clear, the Liberal Party agrees with many of the findings of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal including the recognition of discrimination and mistreatment and the need for compensation,” she said. “The recent ruling from the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal is significant and raises important questions and considerations. In order to give us both clarity on the ruling and time to have conversations with our partners, which are not possible during an election, we are seeking a judicial review and stay.”

“This is beyond unacceptable. The Government of Canada is once again preparing to fight First Nations children in court. I’ve connected with Minister Seamus O’Regan to share my deep disappointment,” AFN National Chief Bellegarde explained.

“The CHRT panel found that the government racially discriminated against First Nations children in care in a willful and reckless manner. As a result, the CHRT ordered Canada to pay the maximum amount allowable under the Canadian Human Rights Act. The government could have addressed the broken system and the funding inequalities before, but they didn’t. To appeal this CHRT ruling, which was meant to provide a measure of justice for First Nations children in care, is hurtful and unjust.”

Files from Fraser Needham.