October 7, 2020
Pallister Robs Indigenous Children
Winnipeg, MB – The Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) continues to sound the alarm on Premier Brian Pallister reneging on reconciliation with Bill 34: The Budget Implementation and Tax Statutes Amendment Act.
Under Federal legislation, child protection agencies can apply to the Federal government to receive Children’s Special Allowance (CSA) payments. These payments are to be applied exclusively for the benefit of children in care, 90% of whom are Indigenous.
In 2006, Manitoba began demanding that child protection agencies remit CSA payments to the province to be placed in its general revenue, or, as the Conservatives have described it, “the black hole.” PC MLA Ian Wishart stated in a February 25, 2015 house sitting that “Clearly, they (the NDP) are not thinking about the children under the care of these agencies.”
“All those years ago when the NDP clawed this money back from the Indigenous authorities, the Conservatives stated that these cutbacks have left our agencies ‘severely underfunded’,” recalled MMF President David Chartrand. “Shortly after Pallister’s first election, then Minister of Families Scott Fielding essentially stated that it was considered reasonable by the NDP, so they were not going to review the practice.”
The Province of Manitoba is estimated to have collected over $385 million in CSA payments that were supposed to benefit children in care.
There are currently two outstanding legal proceedings brought on behalf of children demanding the province to stop this practice and return money it has taken.
Today the government of Manitoba will begin a new session of the Legislature. As part of its agenda, the Pallister government will introduce legislation in Bill 34 which legitimizes this practice of taking money that rightfully belongs to Métis children while making the province immune from any legal claims arising from this practice. The Pallister government is introducing Bill 34 as an omnibus Bill to hide these provisions and ensure the bill gets passed without drawing attention or causing debate.
“It’s shocking that the Premier tries to hide his attack on Métis children in a budget bill while our people are already struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic. Pallister says his government is in the reconciliation business, but actions speak louder than words,” stated President Chartrand. “His true feelings on reconciliation could not be clearer with his attempt to steal money that rightfully, and legally, belongs to Métis children and pass a law that prevents our children from going to court to challenge him.”
Believe in Yourself; Believe in Métis.
The Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) is the democratic self-governing political representative for the Métis Nation’s Manitoba Métis Community. The Manitoba Métis Community is Canada’s Partner in Confederation and the Founder of the Province of Manitoba.