OTTAWA, ON, July 10, 2020 /CNW Telbec/ - The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP) and its Provincial/Territorial Organizations (PTOs) have filed a notice of discontinuance related to its court application against the Government of Canada for inequitable COVID-19 funding for off-reserve Indigenous peoples. This comes as CAP and its PTOs have received Federal funding of approximately $5.5 million to provide urgent support to off-reserve Indigenous peoples for COVID-19.
"As a result of our litigation against the Federal government, we have moved the needle and secured more substantive funding support for off-reserve Indigenous peoples during this pandemic", said National Chief Robert Bertrand of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples. "While the funding offered is only a fraction of what was requested, we recognize that over five months into this COVID-19 pandemic, we need to use what funds we have been given and support our constituents across Canada in these difficult times."
Unfortunately, the Federal government was only moved to action on providing more equitable COVID-19 funding for Indigenous peoples living off-reserve as a result of CAP's litigation. Sadly, this speaks to the larger systemic discrimination that off-reserve Indigenous people face from the government, its institutions, and law enforcement agencies.
The litigation to secure meaningful funding to support some of the most vulnerable in Canada during COVID-19 is part of the larger pattern of discrimination and systemic racism that institutions in Canada hold towards off-reserve Indigenous peoples. From the tragic deaths and violence of late, to programming and funding discrimination, to the outright denials of systemic racism by some in government, CAP's constituents continue to face tremendous challenges in Canada today.
"As Canadians have witnessed over the last weeks and months, Indigenous peoples living off-reserve continue to face systemic racism and discrimination in how the government fails to meet its fiduciary responsibilities to Indigenous peoples. It's also clear how law enforcement agencies have disproportionately inflicted violence and death on Indigenous peoples", added Bertrand. "The government must ensure it properly engages Indigenous stakeholders in decision-making going forward, and ensure that litigation is not a pre-requisite for action."
The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP) is the second-oldest national aboriginal organization in Canada. It was founded in 1971, one year after the AFN. CAP represents the interests of off reserve status and non-status Indians, Métis and Southern Inuit Aboriginal Peoples throughout Canada. CAP is one of five national Indigenous organizations recognized by the federal government, and holds consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council.
SOURCE Congress of Aboriginal Peoples