Indigenous Youth Deaths Prove Need for Bold Shake Up in Ottawa: Angus

For Immediate Release
June 19, 2017  

Indigenous Children’s Ombudsman and Dismantling of INAC Part of Plan to Put Children First  

OTTAWA- In the wake of recent Indigenous youth deaths, NDP Leadership Candidate, MP Charlie Angus  (Timmins-James Bay) says that it is time to dismantle Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC)  establish clear mechanisms that protect the interests of Indigenous children.  

"The death of these kids in Wapekeka shows us the federal government is incapable to protect what is  most precious - the lives of children," says Angus. “It's time for action that returns accountability to  where it belongs, with parents and these communities.  “That's why I’m proposing measures that will give hope to Indigenous children and all who care for them  by dismantling the colonial structures that still impeded Indigenous social development."  

Angus will create a federal Indigenous Children's Ombudsperson with the legal authority to order  compliance of government departments. As well, Angus will establish a process to begin dismantling  INAC and return the power to set the agenda for the healthy development of Indigenous children back  to parents and their communities. This will start with a forensic audit of INAC and Health Canada into  just how they make decisions and spend money allocated to Indigenous children and communities.

"Decolonization means that the needs and hopes of Indigenous children will no longer exist at the whim  of government departments" says Angus.  This past month, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal found the government culpable in the deaths of 12-year-old Jolynn Fox and Chantall Winter of the Wapekeka Reserve, stating that the government  ignored requests for support in what the Tribunal rules was a known “life and death situation."

The  Trudeau Liberals have ignored four compliance orders of the Human Rights Tribunal and have ignored  Parliament’s order to immediately end the underfunding of child welfare and Jordan’s Principle.  

Angus’s plan will bring real change by:  

  1. Establish an Indigenous Children’s Ombudsperson with order-making powers to compel the  government to act when it is found in breach of its obligations to children.  
  2. Audit and dismantle INAC to return decision-making powers for education, health, and community development back to Indigenous communities.  
  3. Work with the Parliamentary Budget Office and Indigenous leadership to determine the true  cost of service delivery.  
  4. Ensure that Justice Canada acts in compliance with core human rights and freedoms, including  Indigenous rights.  
  5. End the federal government’s culture of secrecy around Indigenous people.  

“It’s time that Ottawa stop trying to interfere with how these communities raise their kids,” says Angus.  “It’s time that we help these Indigenous parents and give their communities the tools they need to start  healing and build towards a prosperous future these kids deserve.”