OTTAWA – Today’s federal court ruling is an indictment of the Conservatives’ mishandling of the humanitarian crisis in Attawapiskat – and vindication for the community, according to the NDP.
“The Prime Minister and his cabinet tried to blame the community for this crisis. Today’s ruling vindicates the people of Attawapiskat and shows that the Conservatives’ conduct was unacceptable,” said New Democrat Aboriginal Affairs critic Jean Crowder. “Conservatives should now accept the ruling and apologize to the people of Attawapiskat.”
In a scathing judgment, the Court said that the Minister’s actions in response to this crisis were “not reasonable”, the government “misunderstood the nature of the problem” and never even considered “more reasonable, more responsive or less invasive remedies.”
“After the emergency was declared, I privately raised this with the Minister and urged him to act before it became a full blown humanitarian crisis. Sadly, the Minister did nothing until the Red Cross arrived. And then Conservatives tried to claim the community was at fault,” said local Timmins-James Bay MP Charlie Angus.
“This was an international embarrassment for Canada. It wasn’t only incompetence by a single minister – it was a mean-spirited response from a Prime Minister and a government that seemed more interested in saving face than helping this community in its time of need.”