OTTAWA, May 8, 2013 /CNW/ - Assembly of First Nations National Chief
Shawn A-in-chut Atleo expressed concern regarding the Government of
Canada's appeal of the April 2013 federal court decision reaffirming
Jordan's Principle - a 2007 parliamentary motion requiring governments
to put jurisdictional disputes related to payment aside in order to
ensure First Nations children receive the same care available to
non-First Nations children.
"It is extremely frustrating that the federal government has chosen to
expend scarce resources to continue this case in court, rather than
fulfilling the commitment under Jordan's Principle with the health of
our kids first," said AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo. "If we're
genuinely committed to achieving solutions, we have to smash the status
quo of protracted legal disputes that cost everyone. The lives and care
of our children are at stake, and we must do everything in our power to
support their health and safety. This is not something that can be
disputed. It cannot wait."
In what was considered a landmark ruling, last month the Federal Court
ruled that the federal government is bound by Jordan's Principle,
ordering the federal government to reimburse the cost of care for
Pictou Landing First Nation member Jeremy Meewasige (18) who lives with
numerous complex disabilities requiring 24 hour care.
In the first decision to uphold the application of the unanimously
passed motion of 2007, federal court Justice Leonard Mandamin ruled not
only that Jordan's Principle be applied in this case, but that
"Jordan's Principle is not to be narrowly interpreted."
National Chief Atleo's comments come after a statement from Aboriginal
Affairs and Northern Development yesterday confirming that the federal
government has decided to appeal the Court's April 2013 decision.
"No child should be denied health or medical services because of
jurisdictional disputes between federal and provincial/territorial
governments, and AFN will continue to call on all governments to work
with First Nations to ensure the full and proper implementation of
Jordan's Principle," said National Chief Atleo.
Adopted unanimously by the House of Commons December 12, 2007, Jordan's
Principle is a mechanism to prevent First Nations children from being
denied equal access to benefits or protections available to other
Canadians as a result of First Nations status. It states that the
government department first contacted for a service readily available
off-reserve must pay for it while pursuing repayment of expenses, and
that jurisdictional disputes, whether they are between departments or
between levels of government, must not impede the provision of health
care services to First Nations.
Jordan's Principle is consistent with government obligations set out in
the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Charter
of Rights and Freedoms, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of
Indigenous Peoples and many federal, provincial and territorial
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing
First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Comms,
SOURCE: Assembly of First Nations
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