Tag Archives: Premier Greg Selinger

Premier’s ’60s Scoop’ Apology Criticized By Manitoba Métis Federation

By Red Power Media, Staff

Manitoba’s Metis Federation President says his people are being left out.

Manitoba’s Metis federation says its people are being left out of an apology — set to happen on Thursday at the legislature — for aboriginal children who were taken from their parents and adopted into white families.

The apology, thought to be the first by a Canadian province, is directed at individuals from the so-called “60s Scoop,” which many see as an extension of Indian residential schools policy.

Premier Greg Selinger said the apology, will acknowledge damage done to those taken from their homes and their culture. Manitoba was one of the provinces most affected, so it is appropriate that it be among the first to apologize, he said.

“It’s an acknowledgment that they did lose contact with their families, their language, their culture,” Selinger told The Canadian Press. “That was an important loss in their life and it needs to be acknowledged. It’s part of the healing process.”

Manitoba’s Metis Federation President David Chartrand said no one from the Manitoba government consulted with the Metis or formally invited him to the event. The Metis were left out of the residential school settlement and it feels like the same thing is happening again, he said.

David Chartrand, president of the Manitoba Metis Federation, says his people are being left out of an apology for the '60s Scoop.

David Chartrand, president of the Manitoba Metis Federation, says his people are being left out of an apology for the ’60s Scoop.

Manitoba appears to be blaming Ottawa for what is known as the ’60s Scoop when it was provincial social workers who seized aboriginal children and placed them with families as far away as the southern United States, Chartrand said.

“It’s the province that took our children. It’s the province that sold our children to the United States and other places. It’s the province that did harm to my families.”

“Clearly we’re not going to let the province get away from this.,” said Chartrand.

Paul McKie, spokesman for Selinger, said numerous aboriginal organizations have been invited to witness the apology. The Manitoba Metis Federation was invited Friday by phone, by email and formally by letter, he said.

The province, along with affected adoptees, has been working on the apology for months, he said.

“Many people, groups and organizations have been invited,” McKie said. “There were informal consultations with many people.”

An apology without a plan and proper consultation with those affected is empty, said Chartrand, who has worked with ’60s Scoop adoptees and their families for years.

“You can’t just say ‘I’m sorry’ and walk away. You did permanent damage here. You tore entire communities apart. Maybe they’re thinking if they say ‘I’m sorry’ that ends my responsibility.”

Grand Chief David Harper, with Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak which represents northern First Nations, still remembers children being taken away from his community, never to be seen again. He said he will be there to witness the apology but will also be looking for more.

From the 1960s to the 1980s, thousands of aboriginal children were taken from their homes by child-welfare services and placed with non-aboriginal families. Many have filed class-action lawsuits in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Alberta. Another class-action lawsuit in Ontario is still making its way through the courts.

Residential school survivors have had a formal apology from Ottawa and were able to speak at hearings held by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which released its final report. The ’60s Scoop’ adoptees have been fighting for the same recognition of their experience and a formal apology. 

Source articles:

http://www.vancouversun.com/Manitoba+apologize+aboriginals+taken+from+parents+adopted+into+white+families+Scoop/11131157/story.html

http://globalnews.ca/news/2055457/manitoba-metis-federation-president-criticizes-60s-scoop-apology/

Manitoba Premier Concerned Kids Stuck In Jail Due To Lack Of Foster Spots

The Manitoba Youth Centre. (Brian Donogh, Winnipeg Sun files)

The Manitoba Youth Centre.

The Canadian Press

WINNIPEG – Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger says he’s concerned about complaints that children in government care are languishing in jail because of a lack of foster homes.

Children’s advocate Darlene MacDonald told The Canadian Press this week that she receives calls from judges who want to release youths from police custody, but can’t because there is nowhere for them to go. Others who work in the justice system say once a child is in custody, Child and Family Services doesn’t move quickly enough to find a placement.

Selinger said the Family Services Department is looking into the matter.

“That’s always a concern,” Selinger said just before a caucus meeting Wednesday.

“If there are any children staying in any kind of correctional facility longer than necessary, we want to make sure that’s not the case, and that we get children in safe, community environments with their families as quickly as possible.”

Manitoba has more than 10,000 children in care. The vast majority are aboriginal. A chronic shortage of foster-care spaces has forced the province to use hotels to house children — a practice which has been criticized for more than a decade.

The NDP government is being accused of violating the charter rights of children by allowing them to stay in police custody longer than necessary.

Grand Chief Derek Nepinak with the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs said he has raised the issue with the justice and family services departments, but no action has been taken.

“I’m disappointed that the province is treating these issues as if they’re not aware of the problems.”

If the government didn’t know this was going on before now, that highlights an even more serious problem, Nepinak suggested.

Family Services Minister Kerri Irvin-Ross has declined repeated interview requests on the matter. Her spokesperson, Rachel Morgan, said in an emailed statement that youth in custody have complex needs and often require counselling, addiction treatment or help leaving gangs.

“These youths can’t be placed with foster families who don’t have specialized training,” she wrote. “Specialized placements must meet sentencing conditions to protect the public and ensure that they do not reoffend.”

The province is working hard to create more placements for foster children, Selinger said. But the main goal is to keep children at home with their families.

“The interests of the child are No. 1.”

Ian Wishart, critic for the Opposition Progressive Conservatives, said the government has known for some time that it has a critical shortage of foster placements. Police custody is not an appropriate place for a vulnerable child and the government isn’t moving fast enough, he said.

“Kids in the justice system — everybody is a loser in that situation. Their lives are scarred and it’s difficult to get them going back on the right foot.”