Thursday, 18 October 2012

CONs & poor First Nation Child Welfare

: Child poverty rampant among
First Nations.

Image Source: CBC

Bottom: Harper at Buckingham Palace as Queen
Elizabeth II reveals a portrait of herself.

Image Source: The Chronicle Herald
There's a litany of First Nations Child Welfare horror cases, frequently sighted by critics of aboriginal self-government. There seems to be a deep, structural problem with the First Nations child welfare system, but what's the likeliest cause? How about underfunding?

Government lawyers were trying to quash claims from first nations child rights advocates that Ottawa is short-changing native communities by funding child welfare services at 22 per cent below provincial levels.

The First Nations Child and Family Caring Society and the Assembly of First Nations launched a human rights challenge that dates back to 2007.

They say the federal government is discriminating by not providing the same level of child welfare support to first nations children as other children in Canada receive from provincial governments.

Ottawa has challenged the advocates with legal technicalities at every step along the way, arguing that the case does not belong in the court system.

After much back and forth, and more than $3-million later, the Federal Court rejected the government’s arguments, ordering a full hearing at the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.

("Ottawa spends $3-million to battle first nations child welfare case". Heather Scoffield. Oct. 1, 2012. Canadian Press. )
Years after apologizing for residential schools, the Prime Minister is revealing how truly unconcerned with the third world poverty plaguing many aboriginal communities he is. The Harper Government can sure talk, but the don't do - preferring to sweep issues under the rug - like in this case - or to order band councils to pay $1,300 a day to private, third party consultants to perform "reviews" - as in the case of the Attawapiskat crisis - rather than working to deal with the problems.

Given this context, the cheap talk from the aboriginal affairs office would be laughable were the stakes not so high.

A spokesman for Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan said last week that the federal government does not believe the courts are the proper forum for differences over child welfare.

“We believe that the best way to ensure first nations children and families get the supports and services they need is by working together – with first nations, provinces and territories – and not through the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal,” Jan O’Driscoll wrote in an e-mail.

“Our commitment to supporting first nations children and families is clear.”

("Ottawa spends $3-million to battle first nations child welfare case". Heather Scoffield. Oct. 1, 2012. Canadian Press.)
Stephen Harper's apology to residential school
survivors: no child welfare funding attached.

Image Source: Dawg's Blog
How about actually funding the First Nations Child Welfare system equivalently to the provincial Child Welfare Systems? Maybe that should be a top priority, rather than $1,300/day corporate welfare for private sector consultants and tax cuts that benefit county club Conservatives?

Harper spoke of the "moral authority" to govern when it came to AdScam and the Liberals. Frankly, the Harper Government's behaviour when it comes to First Nations should be seen as morally scandalous. The Harper Government has lost the moral authority to govern - the Prime Minister should follow his 2008 precedent & quit his job, opening the door to more qualified candidates.

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  1. It's obvious the whole system is corrupt. An entire overhaul of of how to fund native communities is needed. And not by consulting some American research group for thousands of dollars per day.



  4. Aboriginals should start looking in the mirror and stop pointing fingers at others outside of their community.....their is a hell of alot of people in Canada beside Aboriginals who are poor and use food banks,blame America corporations/share holders and the tory repulicians for these dire straits

    1. "Aboriginals should start looking in the mirror and stop pointing fingers at others outside of their community." -Anonymous6 November, 2012 8:46 PM

      This is pretty stupid and knee-jerk, the type of stanndard, pavlovian, prejudiced response you'd expect anytime aboriginal poverty is brought up. It's especially stupid in this context, given specific funding gaps between non-aboriginal & aboriginal child welfare services are being discussed.

      "their is a hell of alot of people in Canada beside Aboriginals who are poor and use food banks" -Anonymous6 November, 2012 8:46 PM

      Yeah, 'cause there's other people in poverty that must somehow mean:

      a) That there's no unique causes of aboriginal poverty.


      b) This somehow makes it okay.

      Applying the same reasoning, a man living downstream from a factory who gets cancer after the factory's dumped toxic waste into the water supply shouldn't be upset because people who haven't been exposed to toxic waste can still get cancer. Thus that can't really be the cause. Also, since other people have cancer it's a-okay.