First Nations leaders are expressing their disappointment with the federal government's decision to appeal a ruling ordering Ottawa to compensate Indigenous children removed from their homes, but will "work together" with officials to reach a resolution.
David Pratt, vice-chief of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN), told CTV News Channel on Saturday that the appeal is "not productive" in working towards reconciliation. Pratt said FSIN's position is that the federal government "needs to fully comply with the tribunal rulings."
"Let's start working to make sure that there's equitable funding for Indigenous children and to just stop the discriminatory practices that continue to be perpetuated by the Government of Canada," Pratt said.
The federal government appealed a Federal Court decision to uphold a Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) order requiring Ottawa compensate First Nations children, but says it plans to resolve the dispute outside of court.
Indigenous Services Minister Patty Hajdu published a statement noting that Ottawa and the Indigenous groups on the other side of the lawsuit have agreed to "sit down immediately" to reach a resolution by December.
Former Liberal MP Jody Wilson-Raybould took to Twitter to criticize the outcome. "Yet another sign this government is meretricious," she wrote. " The wrong decision for Indigenous kids and for Canada. And inconsistent with its own litigation directive."
"Let's work together to not only compensate those that have been in the system, but also to ensure that our children are receiving the best quality of care and funding and resourcing that they need," Pratt said.
If the federal government is "serious" about its commitment to reconciliation, Pratt said, officials should stop prolonging this process.
"Let's deal with these discriminatory practices, ending them once and for all against Indigenous children in all of Canada," he said.