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Summit keynote Cindy Blackstock: Canada’s ‘relentless moral voice’ for First Nations equality

Friday, July 15, 2016

Nine years, thousands of documents and millions of dollars later, Cindy Blackstock is still shocked she had to bring the case forward in the first place.

Behind all the legal wrangling lay a simple principle: that First Nations children deserve the same treatment as anyone else in Canada. The case, which the federal government spent more than $5-million fighting, resulted in a landmark ruling in January that the government discriminated against First Nations kids on reserves by underfunding social services.

I really believe that the greatness of the country and of our joint society … is bound up in the possibility of raising a generation of First Nations who never have to recover from their childhoods, and a group of non-aboriginal children who never have to say they’re sorry.” - Cindy Blackstock, Globe and Mail, July 14 2016

The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruling was a victory affecting the lives of 163,000 children, one that garnered national attention. Yet half a year later, Dr. Blackstock is visibly frustrated by what she sees as an inadequate response from the government to address urgent funding inequities for kids.

Cindy Blackstock“It doesn’t matter how many announcements they make or how many smiles they give … we should all be accountable for what’s actually happening to these children on the ground level” – and by that measure, “conditions really haven’t changed,” says Dr. Blackstock, executive director of the First Nations Child & Family Caring Society of Canada. [...]

Read the full story in The Globe and Mail.