TORONTO, February 7, 2017— “Today, in an unprecedented legal maneuver, the Government of Canada sought to block the court from delivering a verdict on liability next week in the Ontario Sixties Scoop case. Canada’s request to suspend judgement comes just one week before the court is expected to deliver its decision and eight years, almost to the day, after the case was launched.
“Canada’s lawyers are citing Minister Carolyn Bennett’s recent announcement regarding a pan-Canadian settlement as justification for this request. We fail to comprehend that reasoning. Negotiations for a pan-Canadian settlement of all Sixties Scoop claims can certainly take place concurrently or following the court’s decision on liability. Indeed, we look forward to working with the Minister and bringing forward meaningful recommendations on how to move forward together in the spirit of reconciliation.
“The government’s actions today, however, fly in the face of that spirit. This truly astonishing action leaves us with three questions:
- Does the government truly think it fair and reasonable to ask Sixties Scoop survivors to abandon their quest for justice just days before the court makes its decision?
- Just days ago government lawyers were arguing that Canada bears no responsibility for protecting the cultural identities of Indigenous children. Does the government maintain this position?
- The government has been spending time and resources litigating this case for close to a decade. Why is it suddenly trying to block the court from delivering its judgement?
“Ontario Sixties Scoop survivors ought not to be re-traumatized by a government that says one thing and does another. Is it because they are First Nations’ people that the government believes they are not entitled to a decision from the Courts of Justice? Is this the legacy of compassion this government intends for Canadians?”
The Sixties Scoop Case by the Numbers
|· 8: # of years the case has been in process. Initial pleadings in the case were issued February 9, 2009
· 8: # of times the government has attempted to have the case thrown out
· 16+: # of times that the federal government has attempted to have the case adjourned
· 9+: # of lawyers that the federal government has had working on this case
· 3 # of lawyers Plaintiff has had working on the case
· 20,000: # of pages of documentary evidence the government has submitted to support its arguments against the claim in the last 18 months
· $2 millon+: amount that this has cost Canadian taxpayers for the costs of the government’s opposition to the case over the last 8 years
· $166,500: total amount awarded to the Plaintiff, to date, to cover their costs. Canada was ordered to pay these costs
· 66: # of pages of legal argument submitted by the Crown to argue, for the 8th time, that the case should be thrown out. These were submitted after the Minister made her February 1, 2017 statement about a “dark chapter” in Canadian history and wanting to end the litigation.
|· 0: # times the government has made a proposal for resolution