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Conservatives push motion to ‘axe the tax’ at committee meeting on Indigenous child welfare

March 20, 2024

NDP MP says motion was ‘disgusting’ considering the issue being studied.

APTN News: A committee meeting set to discuss the federal government’s Indigenous child welfare legislation was suddenly thrust into a conversation about the federal government’s carbon tax.

The meeting started with witnesses from Indigenous Services and Justice giving an overview of the child welfare legislation regarding First Nation, Inuit and Métis children, also known as C-92.

During the question and answer period, a Conservative MP introduced a motion to the committee to “axe the carbon tax.”

“Thank you to my colleague Martin Shields for raising that very important motion as he pointed out 133 chiefs of Ontario have come out against the carbon tax,” said Conservative MP Jamie Schmale.

“We’ve had multiple premiers, territorial leaders, speaking about how the carbon tax increased the cost of living for the people they represent.”

Carbon pricing is a program where the federal government adds a levee to products such as gasoline and heating fuel. The tax collected is later returned to the provinces. Families in some tax brackets receive cheques as compensation. Conservative leader Pierre Polievre is making the “axe the tax” a rallying cry ahead of the next federal election scheduled for October 2025.

After five minutes of bashing the carbon tax, Liberal MP Jaime Battiste ended the debate. But the NDP’s Leah Gazan didn’t let it go.

“If they’re going to talk about First Nations, I’m going to talk as a First Nations mother,” said Gazan, NDP MP for Winnipeg Centre. “I can tell you the biggest issue in our communities is child welfare and the fact that our kids are dying in the system and the fact that Conservatives at the committee today are talking about life and death and how hard it is for families, I’d like them to come to Manitoba where 90 per cent of the kids currently in childcare are First Nations who are dying in the system going, murdered and missing as Indigenous women and then we’ll talk about urgency.

“I find it disgusting.”

Katrina Peddle, director general of the children, youth and families branch at Indigenous Services, said there are seven Indigenous governing bodies now asserting jurisdiction over child welfare in Canada.

She was asked how long it would take for 200 more to take control.

“That’s a very good question,” she said. “It does depend upon the pace at which the communities wish to proceed, so that is in their hands.”

The government’s child welfare legislation recently supported by the Supreme Court of Canada after the law was challenged by Quebec for being unconstitutional.

The legislation gives Indigenous communities control over their child welfare services and laws associated with them supersede provincial and federal statutes.

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