Nishnawbe Aski Nation

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November 29, 2018

YOUTH RALLY AGAINST FORD GOVERNMENT’S CUTS TO PROVINCIAL CHILD ADVOCATE

THUNDER BAY, ON (November 29, 2018): Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler, on behalf of the Executive Council, expressed support for youth rallying against the Ford government’s plan to eliminate the office of the Ontario Child Advocate at Queen’s Park today.

“We are proud of all youth who are finding their voices and expressing their concern over the Ford government’s ill-advised plan to eliminate the office of the provincial Child Advocate,” said Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler. “The Ontario Child Advocate has been a strong voice for youth, especially those in care, and is a much-needed defender for some of the most vulnerable members of society. This rally shows that our youth have expectations of the Premier and will hold his government accountable for its actions.”

Mishkeegogamang First Nation member Cassandra Spade, 23, represented NAN at the ‘Solidarity for Ontario's Children’ rally organized by the Ontario Children's Advocacy Coalition.

“To have an independent body such as the Ontario Child Advocate, it ensures that the systemic gaps and failures within the provincial Child Welfare System are not being overlooked or unnoticed,” said Spade. “By cutting the Child Advocate and the Environmental Commissioner, this government is removing entities that hold them accountable while dismantling a platform that gives youth access to resources such as health, knowledge of their rights and a voice within the system. It is crucial these entities exist to ensure the recognition of rights for our children and the environment, which are one and the same.”

Spade was part of the NAN youth delegation who travelled to Ottawa last week for a meeting with the Prime Minister, members of Parliament and Senators. They asked the federal government to fund a Northern Child Advocate to be a voice for youth while holding government to account.

The Ontario Child Advocate has supported NAN First Nations through several key initiatives including the Feathers of Hope youth-led initiative to facilitate dialogue between youth and First Nation leadership and government, their involvement in the Seven Youth Inquest, and their commitment to reforming child welfare.

For more information please contact: Tamara Piche, Communications Officer – (807) 625-4906 or cell (807) 621-5549 or by email nan%23on%23ca|tpiche

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