OTTAWA, Feb. 2 /CNW/ - On the sixth anniversary of the tragic death of
Jordan Anderson, a child from Norway House Cree Nation in Manitoba,
Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo
and AFN Manitoba Regional Chief Bill Traverse today called for
effective and immediate implementation of Jordan's Principle.
"First Nation children are too often denied health services and other
services available to other children in Canada," said AFN National
Chief Shawn Atleo. "Jordan's Principle reminds us that no child should
be denied health or medical services because of jurisdictional disputes
between federal and provincial/territorial governments. It has now been
six years since the tragic death of Jordan Anderson, and we continue to
call on all governments to work with First Nations to ensure the full
and proper implementation of Jordan's Principle, including support for
the Declaration on Action for the Implementation of Jordan's Principle
as put forth by the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs. We can all agree that
every child deserves respect, care and equitable treatment and First
Nations children must not be treated differently."
Jordan's Principle states that in the event of a dispute over
responsibility of costs between various levels of government, the
government department of first contact will pay for health services to
a child without delay or disruption and can be reimbursed later if
necessary. It is named to honour the memory of Jordan River Anderson, a
First Nation boy from Norway House Cree Nation in Manitoba who passed
away at five years of age after spending his entire life in hospital
because the provincial and federal governments could not agree on which
would pay for home care.
In December 2008, the Government of Canada and the Government of
Manitoba agreed to work together on the implementation of Jordan's
Principle. In April 2009, the Government of Ontario formally pledged
to work with First Nations on its implementation, yet work by both
provinces and the federal government has been delayed.
The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs today called on Crown Governments of
Canada and Manitoba to "ensure action is taken this year to fully, and
without equivocation, implement in spirit, intent, and practice
Jordan's Principle, in his homeland of Manitoba, and across Canada."
"Our children deserve the same level of care as Canadian children living
off reserve. First Nations have a Treaty right to health care and sadly
the Canadian health care system failed young Jordan Anderson in 2005,"
said Bill Traverse, Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief for
Manitoba during a press conference in Winnipeg today. "We must work
together to ensure this tragedy never strikes a First Nation child in
the future. Jordan's Principle is a step forward in closing the health
gaps that exist between First Nations and other Canadians."
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.
SOURCE ASSEMBLY OF FIRST NATIONS
For further information:
Don Kelly, Assembly of First Nations A/Communications Director
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Jenna Young, Assembly of First Nations Communications Officer
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Alain Garon, Assembly of First Nations Bilingual Communications Officer
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