’60s Scoop deal wrongly excludes Metis: survivor
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 Jeffery 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 nonstatus Indians.