Métis, non-status Indigenous launch suit
TORONTO • Métis and nonstatus Indigenous peoples across Canada are seeking damages for the alleged harms inflicted on them by the Canadian government during the ’60s Scoop, according to a proposed class action filed on Thursday.In an untested statement of claim, the survivors of the Scoop argue they were deprived of their identities by being taken from their families and placed with non-aboriginal families. As a result, they say, they suffered mental, emotional and other harms.“Aboriginal communities describe the ’60s Scoop as destructive to their culture,” the claim in Federal Court asserts. “Canada was careless, reckless, wilfully blind, or deliberately accepting of, or was actively promoting, a policy of cultural assimilation.”Among other things, the claim seeks a court declaration that the government breached its duty toward the plaintiffs and seeks unspecified damages.Garth Myers, lawyer for the plaintiffs, said on Thursday it was unclear how many people might be taken in by the class at this point or what an appropriate level of compensation might be if the claim were to succeed.Earlier this year, the government struck an $800-million settlement of a similar class action — one involving on-reserve Indigenous people who became victims of the ’60s Scoop — in which each victim would receive up to $50,000. Lawyers for the plaintiffs say it’s time Canada recognized its actions taken in the ’60s Scoop affected a much larger group of Indigenous people.In June, Crown-indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett said the settlement agreement did not address “all of the harm” done by the ’60s Scoop. More work needed to be done with Métis and nonstatus peoples, she said.Bennett had no immediate comment to the proposed action.The proposed representative plaintiff in the case is Toronto-born Brian Day, 44, a Métis who now lives in Ottawa.According to the claim, Day was raised in accordance with his family’s Métis tradition that included hunting until age four, when the Kawartha-haliburton Children’s Aid Society took him from his family and placed him for seven years with a non-aboriginal family in Sudbury, Ont.“Mr. Day was told by his non-aboriginal adopted family that he was not Métis or Indigenous,” the claim asserts. “For years, he was told by this family that he was white and Scottish.”Given his upbringing, Day has lost his Métis cultural identity and cannot speak French, the claim states.“Because of ’60s Scoop, Mr. Day is emotionally, spiritually and culturally disconnected,” the claim says. “He feels alienated, anxious, hopeless, sad, frustrated, and resentful.”
© PressReader. All rights reserved.