Ottawa spent $707,000 in legal fees fighting decision that protects Indigenous children

June 2, 2017
Article Source
Toronto Star

Ottawa spent $707,000 in legal fees fighting a Canadian Human Rights Tribunal order since January 2016 that insisted they stop discriminating against Indigenous children, according to the attorney general’s office.

New Democrat MP Charlie Angus asked Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould on April 10 what the government’s total legal costs were in the battle between the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society and the Assembly of First Nations against the government since Jan. 25, 2016.

Angus just received the answer of $707,000 for legal costs, including disbursements. That is nearly twice the $380,000 needed by Wapekeka First Nation for emergency mental health care after the northern Ontario community uncovered a suicide pact last year. Health Canada denied them the funding and two 12-year-old girls, Jolynn Winter and Chantell Fox, took their lives in January.

“How is it possible the office of (Indigenous Affairs Minister) Carolyn Bennett and (Health Minister) Jane Philpott decided it was awkward to spend money to keep those girls alive but it wasn’t awkward to spend money on lawyers to fight the tribunal?” Angus said Thursday.

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