’60s Scoop deal wrongly ex­cludes Metis kids: sur­vivor

Regina Leader-Post - - CITY + REGION - BETTY ANN ADAM badam@post­media.com

SASKA­TOON The Gov­ern­ment of Canada dis­crim­i­nated against Metis sur­vivors of the ’60s Scoop when it left them out of an $800-mil­lion set­tle­ment agree­ment, a Saskatchewan man ar­gues in a com­plaint to the Cana­dian Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion.

Robert Doucette, a for­mer pres­i­dent of the Metis Na­tion-Saskatchewan, who was taken from his mother in 1962, names Carolyn Ben­nett, Min­is­ter of In­dige­nous and North­ern Af­fairs Canada (INAC) in an Oct. 27, 2017 com­plaint of race dis­crim­i­na­tion filed with the com­mis­sion in Ot­tawa.

He “went from hope, to dis­be­lief and then dis­gust” when he re­al­ized Metis adoptees and foster chil­dren “were left out of a ma­jor an­nounce­ment that was her­alded as a mo­ment of con­tri­tion and rec­on­cil­i­a­tion by the Gov­ern­ment of Canada,” Doucette wrote.

“Once again, the Fed­eral gov­ern­ment has failed to de­fend the rights of one of the In­dige­nous peo­ples of this coun­try, be­trayed the trust of my fam­ily,” and other Metis ’60s Scoop sur­vivors, he wrote.

His com­plaint al­leges Ben­nett vi­o­lated Canada’s Char­ter of Rights, which says every­one is equal be­fore the law.

Doucette said the ex­clu­sion is es­pe­cially galling be­cause lawyer Jef­ferey Wil­son, who ar­gued the suc­cess­ful On­tario case of Mar­cia Brown Martell, has said there were no rel­e­vant records to iden­tify Metis peo­ple at the time. Doucette said his birth cer­tifi­cate and the so­cial ser­vices file that placed him as part of Saskatchewan’s Adopt In­dian and Metis pro­gram iden­ti­fied him as Metis.

Ben­nett and gov­ern­ment lawyers ne­go­ti­ated the agree­ment with rep­re­sen­ta­tives of four law firms that had filed class ac­tions in var­i­ous lo­ca­tions across Canada. Plain­tiffs rep­re­sented peo­ple who were in­fants or chil­dren when they were made wards of the gov­ern­ment and adopted out or placed as foster chil­dren in mainly non-In­dige­nous homes. Many say they were harmed when they were sev­ered from fam­ily, com­mu­nity, cul­ture and lan­guage. Many also de­scribe phys­i­cal, emo­tional and sex­ual abuse.

On Oct. 6, 2016, Ben­nett an­nounced com­pen­sa­tion for af­fected sta­tus In­di­ans and Inuit peo­ple who were adopted or made wards of the gov­ern­ment be­tween 1951 and 1991, but not to Metis or non-sta­tus In­di­ans.

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