Ot­tawa seek­ing to set­tle suits from ’60s Scoop

Cape Breton Post - - CANADA -

In a ma­jor shift in tac­tics, the fed­eral gov­ern­ment said Wed­nes­day that it wants to ne­go­ti­ate claims re­sult­ing from the so-called ‘60s Scoop in which thou­sands of abo­rig­i­nal chil­dren were taken from their fam­i­lies and placed in non-na­tive homes.

The change, which comes as a judge gets set to rule on a years-old $1.3-bil­lion class ac­tion in On­tario, aims to re­solve a “dark and painful chap­ter” in Canada’s his­tory, Indige­nous Af­fairs Min­is­ter Carolyn Bennett told the House of Com­mons.

“I am very proud to say that we are ad­ver­saries no more and that ne­go­ti­a­tion rather than lit­i­ga­tion is our gov­ern­ment’s pre­ferred route to set­tle these dif­fer­ences and right his­tor­i­cal wrongs,” Bennett said. “Re­solv­ing these cases is an im­por­tant step in our jour­ney of rec­on­cil­i­a­tion with indige­nous peo­ples.”

Bennett’s state­ment, which was short on de­tails or time frames, comes af­ter a last-minute can­cel­la­tion of a hear­ing the judge in the On­tario case had re­quested for Thurs­day.

Two for­mer abo­rig­i­nal lead­ers were ex­pected to tell the court about the ad­vice they would have given the gov­ern­ment - had they been asked - on help­ing on-re­serve chil­dren re­tain their cul­tural iden­ti­ties af­ter place­ment in non­indige­nous homes.

In­stead, gov­ern­ment lawyers this week in­formed Su­pe­rior Court Jus­tice Ed­ward Belob­aba that they now had no plans to cross-ex­am­ine the ag­ing elders or any fur­ther ev­i­dence to ten­der, doc­u­ments show.

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