Official Statement from Ontario Sixties Scoop Claim regarding new government motion before the court

TORONTO, Feb. 7, 2017 /CNW/ – “Today, in an unprecedented legal maneuver, the Government of Canada sought to block the court from delivering a verdict on liability next week in the Ontario Sixties Scoop case.  Canada’s request to suspend judgement comes just one week before the court is expected to deliver its decision and eight years, almost to the day, after the case was launched.

Canada’s lawyers are citing Minister Carolyn Bennett’s recent announcement regarding a pan-Canadian settlement as justification for this request. We fail to comprehend that reasoning. Negotiations for a pan-Canadian settlement of all Sixties Scoop claims can certainly take place concurrently or following the court’s decision on liability.  Indeed, we look forward to working with the Minister and bringing forward meaningful recommendations on how to move forward together in the spirit of reconciliation.

“The government’s actions today, however, fly in the face of that spirit. This truly astonishing action leaves us with three questions:

  • Does the government truly think it fair and reasonable to ask Sixties Scoop survivors to abandon their quest for justice just days before the court makes its decision?
  • Just days ago government lawyers were arguing that Canada bears no responsibility for protecting the cultural identities of Indigenous children. Does the government maintain this position?
  • The government has been spending time and resources litigating this case for close to a decade. Why is it suddenly trying to block the court from delivering its judgement?

“Ontario Sixties Scoop survivors ought not to be re-traumatized by a government that says one thing and does another. Is it because they are First Nations’ people that the government believes they are not entitled to a decision from the Courts of Justice?  Is this the legacy of compassion this government intends for Canadians? ”