Former MN-S president taking feds, province to court over 60’s scoop inaction
- NC Raine | January 30, 2018
“I feel that the Metis people, as well as First Nations and Inuit people, are not being treated fairly. I'm not waiting another 111 years,” was Robert Doucette's message to federal and provincial government in regards to the sixties scoop settlement exclusion.
Doucette, former president of the Metis Nation – Saskatchewan, is taking federal and provincial governments to court for damages and compensation for survivors of the sixties scoop. The claim, filed Monday in Saskatoon, alleges that government resisted and denied responsibility for loss of Metis identity and family during the scoop. He wants the courts determine suitable compensation.
“Both levels of government are now playing the same game of throwing hot Metis issue back and forth, both denying any responsibility and leaving Metis people, our families, and our communities to heal themselves,” said Doucette.
“Sixties scoop survivors (have) no choice but to defend ourselves and we will hold both levels of government accountable.”
Last October, Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, issued an apology and $800 million in compensation for sixties scoop survivors, excluding non-status and Metis people. Doucette responded by filing a human rights complaint against Bennett, to which, he says, he has not received a response.
“I haven't heard a phone call, I haven't received a letter. I've phoned them at least three times a week, and keep getting the bureaucratic shuffle. Nobody says anything to me, so I'm frustrated,” he said.
Doucette was taken from his family in 1962. The lawsuit claims that Doucette lost contact with his culture and identity, and was unable to re-integrate into his home community of Buffalo Narrows because of the cultural gap. Doucette used a baby sweater given to him by his mother 53 years ago, to illustrate the impact that forced assimilation has had on families.
“It is a reminder of the failed, damaging, and tragic attempt by both levels of government to further their goal of assimilating Aboriginal people at whatever cost,” he said.
Former Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall failed to issue an apology to sixties scoop survivors during his decade long tenure. Doucette filed a request for a formal apology from premier designate Scott Moe in his statement of claim.
“I want to tell premier Scott Moe that we are going to hold his government accountable,” he said. “I would say to the government of Canada and Saskatchewan, get ready because the flood gates are going to open. It is my hope that somewhere down the line that they would sit down and negotiate with us in a fair and equitable manner.”