Human rights tribunal dismisses complaint about the welfare of First Nations children

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Both the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada (FNCFCSC) have expressed deep concern after the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal dismissed their joint complaint on discrimination caused by unequal funding for First Nation children in the child welfare system.

AFN National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo stated via press release, “We are very disappointed with this ruling by the Tribunal which seems to suggest it is acceptable for the federal government to treat our children unequally and unfairly.”

According to the AFN, the Tribunal ruling disregards numerous documents provided to the chair that confirm this inequality.

The AFN’s co-complainant, the FNCFCSC, has already stated its intention to appeal the March 15 ruling within the next 30 days.

Ontario murder trial postponed due to lack of Aboriginals in jury pool

A landmark Ontario court of appeal decision has halted the trial of Andre Theodore Wareham, accused in the January 2009 stabbing death of William Harvey Atkins, because the jury pool lacked Aboriginals.

While over 100 people presented themselves for jury duty In Thunder Bay on March 15, Ontario Superior Court Judge Helen Pierce adjourned the second-degree murder trial, turning away those who showed up. Pierce said she based her decision to halt proceedings on the fact that a jury pool lacking Aboriginal community members would fail to be representative of the northern Ontario community that has a large Native demographic.

The trial has been reset for November by which time court officers are expected to have assembled a list of Aboriginal community members who have previously participated in jury duty.

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