Singh demands Trudeau drop legal battle against First Nations children, survivors

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh calls on Prime Minister Trudeau to stop his "hypocrisy" of gesturing solidarity with Indigenous people and instead end his government's legal battles against improved health services for Indigenous children.

OTTAWA — New Democrats are making a renewed push for the federal government to take concrete steps toward reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.

In the House of Commons today, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is putting forward a motion that calls on Ottawa to drop a pair of Federal Court appeals he says represent a "belligerent" approach to justice for Indigenous children.

The demand comes as the country reels from the discovery of an unmarked grave holding what are believed to be the remains of 215 Indigenous children at a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C.

Singh says symbolic gestures are not sufficient and that the moment demands action, accusing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of hypocrisy in sympathizing with Indigenous communities while fighting them in the courts.

The Liberal government is appealing a Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruling ordering Ottawa to pay $40,000 each to some 50,000 First Nations children separated from their families by a chronically underfunded child-welfare system.

It is also fighting a tribunal decision that widened the applicability of Jordan's Principle, a rule stating that when governments disagree about who's responsible for providing services to First Nations children, they must help a child in need first and argue over the bills later.

Trudeau said earlier this week that "an awful lot" of work remains before reconciliation can be achieved, stating that residential school survivors need more support amid profound intergenerational trauma.

Singh is also asking the government for faster implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's calls to action, trauma resources for survivors and a progress report to be tabled in 10 days.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 3, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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