Canada pays indigenous people taken from their homes

Meagan Wohlberg and Melaw Nakehk’o flesh a moose hide with moose leg bones at the urban hide tanning camp organized by Dene Nahjo in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, in this September 9, 2017 photo. (AFP)
Updated 07 October 2017
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Canada pays indigenous people taken from their homes

TORONTO: The Canadian government has agreed to pay compensation to indigenous people who were taken from their homes and adopted into non-indigenous families.
Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett announced the settlement Friday in what’s known as the “Sixties Scoop.” Indigenous children were robbed of their cultural identities by being placed with non-native families by child welfare services during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. Many lost touch with their culture and language.
The settlement for an estimated 20,000 people is aimed at resolving numerous related lawsuits. The victims will share 750 million Canadian dollars ($596 million), with individual amounts to be determined later. Many said they expected a settlement of around 50,000 Canadian dollars each.
Lead plaintiff Marcia Brown Martel, who was taken by child welfare officials and adopted by a non-native family, called events the “stealing of children.”
“I have great hope that because we’ve reached this plateau that this will never, ever happen in Canada again,” said Brown Martel, who was placed in the foster system as a child and suffered emotional, physical and sexual abuse.
Many had mixed emotions about the settlement.
“I had no idea I was native until I was a teenager,” Colleen Cardinal told The Associated Press. Cardinal was taken from her biological family at the age of two in Alberta and adopted into a non-indigenous family in Ontario along with her two older sisters. She said her sisters were sexually molested by their adopted father.
“There were ongoing attempts to assimilate our people into the mainstream culture,” she said, adding that the settlement doesn’t amount to much.
“It’s quite disappointing,” she said. “It’s quite low. It should be CA$80,000 or $100,000. A lot of us were taken out of the province, out of the country, taken so far away from our families.” Cardinal now lives with post-traumatic stress disorder. But she said she’s now happy and is the co-founder and coordinator of the National Indigenous Survivors of Child Welfare Network.
Ontario Superior Court Justice Edward Belobaba ruled in February that Canada had breached its “duty of care” to the children and found the government liable.
A tearful Bennett, the government minister, said she couldn’t understand how it was allowed to happen.
“I don’t know what people were thinking,” she said.
The settlement package also includes up to 50 million Canadian dollars for a healing and reconciliation foundation.
The agreement is a “first step” in resolving Sixties Scoop litigation, Bennett added, noting the federal government is committed to working with other indigenous peoples affected.
The Sixties Scoop echoes the history of residential schools in Canada.
Some 150,000 First Nations, Inuit and Metis children were taken from their families over much of the last century and put in government schools, where they were forced to convert to Christianity and not allowed to speak their native languages. Many were beaten and verbally abused, and up to 6,000 are said to have died.
Canada’s previous prime minister made a historic apology in 2008 to residential school survivors.


UK govt suffers fresh Brexit defeat, sparking new showdown

Unelected peers in the upper house voted by 354 to 235 to support a rebel amendment on the role parliament should play if the government fails to secure a deal. (AFP)
Updated 43 min 5 sec ago
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UK govt suffers fresh Brexit defeat, sparking new showdown

  • The amendment to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill was drawn up in consultation with pro-European MPs in the lower House of Commons, who will have a chance to vote on it themselves on Wednesday

LONDON: Britain’s House of Lords inflicted another defeat on the government Monday over its flagship Brexit bill, sending it back to MPs and setting up a fresh showdown between Prime Minister Theresa May and her pro-European rebels.
Unelected peers in the upper house voted by 354 to 235 to support a rebel amendment on the role parliament should play if the government fails to secure a deal with the European Union before Britain leaves the bloc in March 2019.
“I want to ensure that parliament does have a meaningful vote and I don’t want to see that left to chance,” said Lord Hailsham, the member of May’s Conservative Party who proposed the motion.
The amendment to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill was drawn up in consultation with pro-European MPs in the lower House of Commons, who will have a chance to vote on it themselves on Wednesday.
They had threatened to rebel on the same issue when they debated the bill last week, but held off following personal assurances from May that she would heed their concerns.
However, her compromise amendment fell short of their expectations, and peers agreed to back an alternative so the MPs could vote again when the bill returns to them, in a process known as “ping-pong.”
May earlier warned that any attempt by parliament to take control of the Brexit negotiations would weaken her hand.
“Of course we have been listening to concerns about the role of parliament,” she told reporters.
“But we need to make sure that parliament can’t tie the government’s hands in negotiation and can’t overturn the will of the British people.”
Despite the stuttering progress in the talks with Brussels, both sides still hope to reach a deal in October.
The government has promised lawmakers a vote on the final deal, but the issue at stake is what happens if they reject it.
Pro-Europeans want to ensure there is some way of holding the government to account in what would be a crisis situation.
The EU (Withdrawal) Bill would formally end Britain’s membership of the bloc and transfer more than 40 years of European law on to the British statute books.
May is on a tightrope as her Conservative minority government relies on the backing of 10 MPs from Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party for a slim majority in the 650-seat elected Commons chamber.
Dominic Grieve, the former attorney general who heads up the pro-European faction, told BBC television that a future vote on a Brexit deal could see May tumble.
“We could collapse the government, and I assure you I wake up at 2:00 am in a cold sweat thinking about the problems that we have put on our shoulders,” he said.
An added risk for the rebels is that if May does fall, it could open the door for an arch-Brexiteer to take over.
May risked stirring the pot further on Monday by announcing new money for the state-funded National Health Service (NHS) based on a “Brexit dividend.”
She said part of the £20 billion ($27 billion, 23 billion euros) injection would be funded by “the money we no longer spend on our annual membership subscription to the European Union.”
The promise to divert money from the EU to the NHS was a key tenet of the pro-Brexit campaign in the 2016 referendum, but highly controversial.
Independent experts warn the figures do not add up, arguing the economy is already slowing as a result of Brexit, which will cost far more than membership fees.
May admitted some of the money would be funded by taxation, risking provoking the Brexit-supporting right wing of her party, who favor reducing public spending.