GATINEAU, QC, June 26, 2018 /CNW/ - The Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs, Carolyn Bennett, issued the following statement today:
"In October of last year, our government announced that we had reached an Agreement-in-Principle to end years of contentious litigation related to the Sixties Scoop.
This settlement is squarely focused on the needs of survivors. It is about recognizing the importance of language and culture and the harm done when it is taken away.
It's why our government included the creation of a national foundation dedicated to healing, wellness, education, commemoration and restoring and protecting Indigenous languages and cultures in the agreement; something Justice Belobaba described in his recent ruling on the agreement as, "an important institutional benefit that could not have been attained with continued litigation."
This settlement agreement does not address all of the harm done by the Sixties Scoop – there is more work to be done, including with Métis and non-status peoples. This agreement is, however, a very important step forward for thousands of people.
They have waited far too long to be recognized and for the harm done to them to be acknowledged. They should not be made to wait any longer nor suffer through any more court battles.
That is why I am hopeful that all legal counsel involved in discussions over legal fees will do the right thing and agree to settle that issue in a separate, parallel process.
This will allow us to move forward together in identifying those who are entitled to compensation, and make those payments to deserving people. It will also allow us to begin the work of the foundation.
Should legal fees be reduced after a process of fair negotiation, the unused funds will be redirected to the national foundation.
As Justice Belobaba also said in his ruling, "It would be beyond tragic if the Sixties Scoop Settlement Agreement was derailed or delayed because of an unseemly squabble among class counsel over legal fees."
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SOURCE Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada
For further information: media may contact: James Fitz-Morris, Director of Communications and Issues Management, Office of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, 819-997-0002; Media Relations, Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, 819-953-1160