December 4, 2019
WINNIPEG - Dougald Lamont, MLA for St. Boniface and Leader of the Manitoba Liberal Party, has written to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to ask the Federal Government to respect the ruling of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal and immediately compensate children taken into care.
"The issue of Indigenous children in care is one of the most important moral issues facing Canada," said Lamont. "As leaders, we have an obligation to address this issue as a matter of justice, healing and reconciliation, and the longer justice is delayed, the longer justice is denied."
Manitoba has 10,000 children in care with some of the highest child apprehension rates in the world. In Manitoba, between 2005 and today, the number of children in care doubled - with a newborn being seized at a rate of one a day.
One of the most common reasons for apprehension is neglect, which in itself can be profoundly traumatic. Neglect is often related directly to poverty - a lack of housing, food, or clothing. Because the number of children in care is so great, shortages of caregivers meant that children were often housed in hotels.
Recent reports have shown breakdowns in Manitoba's CFS system. In databases, less than 50% of the information on children was correct and there have been issues with children being abused or exploited even when they are in care.
There is a shortage of foster families, and while there is financial support and respite for foster parents, the support for parents and families is not there. There is a CFS-to-prison pipeline in Manitoba and a common thread of women and girls who go missing or are murdered is that they were involved at one point in the CFS system.
"There is a reason that the first five of 94 Recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission were all related to children in care," said Lamont. "This is at once one of the most difficult and most important issues we have to address without delay for the sake of Children, and our collective future."