OTTAWA — Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett says a new special representative will lead national discussions on the reform of First Nations child welfare services.
Bennett says Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux — a Lakehead University professor — will advise the government as it works with provinces, territories and child welfare agencies on an overhaul of the system.
The federal government made the announcement ahead of a debate in the Commons on an NDP motion on reserve child welfare.
The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has ruled that the government discriminates against First Nations children in its delivery of child welfare services and has since issued two compliance orders urging the Liberals to act.
The NDP motion calls for the government to comply with the ruling — first with an immediate $155-million investment, then with a funding plan for future years.
Charlie Angus, the party’s indigenous affairs critic, says implementing the tribunal’s decision should not be a matter of consultation because it is legally binding.