PM says he will apologize for First Nations child welfare discrimination

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau plans to publicly apologize for the discrimination faced by First Nations children and their families because of the federal government’s child welfare policies, CBC News has learned.

Trudeau outlined the government’s plan for the apology in a June 17 letter to Assembly of First Nations National Chief Cindy Woodhouse Nepinak.

“I confirm that the Government of Canada is committed to delivering a public apology for the discriminatory conduct … and the past and ongoing harm it caused,” Trudeau wrote in the letter, obtained by CBC News.

The apology would fulfil one of the commitments the government made in a recently finalized $23 billion settlement agreement that looks to compensate First Nations people affected by federal policies that encouraged the removal of their children.

Under the deal, more than 300,000 First Nations children and family members will each receive tens of thousands of dollars because Ottawa chronically and knowingly underfunded First Nations child and family services on reserves and in the Yukon.

Woodhouse Nepanik told CBC News she’s been pressing Trudeau to apologize since she became national chief last December.

“I’m just glad the prime minister has committed to an apology,” Woodhouse Nepanik said. “There’s been a lot of damage done.” Woodhouse Nepanik said she plans to ask Trudeau to deliver the apology in the House of Commons when Parliament resumes after its summer break.

Read the full story with accompanying video on CBC:

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