Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wished to end 2021 with a new gesture of appeasement for Indigenous communities. Tuesday, December 14, just before the suspension of parliamentary work for the Christmas truce, on the occasion of an economic update of the 2021-2022 budget, his Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Chrystia Freeland, announced in front of the House of Commons set aside C $ 40 billion (approximately € 27.6 billion) for Indigenous children.
The first half will be devoted to compensating children taken from their parents since the 1990s to be placed in a family protection system chronically underfunded by Ottawa. The other half will be used to improve child protection services in indigenous communities across the country. “It is essential that we pay our debt to indigenous peoples so that future generations are never faced with the same systemic tragedies of the past”, the minister pointed out, referring to the residential school system for native children that existed in Canada between 1831 and 1996.
The $ 20 billion promised for compensation remains conditional on an agreement that Ottawa must still reach with the Assembly of First Nations and the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada. In 2007, they had indeed filed a complaint against the federal government in order to obtain redress.
In 2016, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal found that the country continued to demonstrate « discrimination » with respect to Aboriginal children, and three years later ordered the federal government to pay $ 40,000 to approximately 54,000 children and their families. Ottawa appealed, but the Federal Court last September upheld the court orders.
Since October, negotiations to find an amicable agreement have been initiated between the government and indigenous child protection associations. They must be concluded before December 31st. By showing its good will, with an envelope in the key, the government hopes to put an end to a legal battle which has lasted for nearly fifteen years.
Without prejudging the final deal yet to be reached, Caring Society director Cindy Blackstock acknowledged that “This offer represented an important step”. “The scale of the compensation offered is a testament to how many of our children have been torn from their families and communities,” also noted the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, RoseAnne Archibald.
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In Canada, a 28 billion euro plan to right the wrongs suffered by Indigenous peoples