Metis ’60s Scoop victim files claim against federal, provincial governments
Robert Doucette, centre, a Metis man and '60s Scoop victim who is taking legal action against the Saskatchewan and Canadian governments, stands with supporters outside Saskatoon's Court of Queen's Bench. (Albert Delitala/CTV Saskatoon)
Sixties Scoop victim Robert Doucette is taking the federal and provincial governments to court.
The Metis man, who filed a human rights complaint two months ago against federal Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett for the exclusion of Metis people from the government’s $800-million ’60s Scoop class-action settlement, filed a statement of claim against the Saskatchewan and Canadian governments Monday.
The claim — which is considered separate from the human rights complaint — alleges Doucette lost his Metis identity and was rejected by his home Metis community in Buffalo Narrows, Sask., because he was taken from his mother when he was about six months old.
“As a result of being scooped from his mother at birth, the Plaintiff entered adulthood with a significantly impaired knowledge and experience of what it meant to be a Metis,” part of the lawsuit states. “He lost contact with his Metis families, Aboriginal language, culture and identity.”
He was unable to re-integrate into his home community later in life because he could not speak the language and did not understand the culture.
“He is still emotionally, psychologically and spiritually overwhelmed by his sense of rejection by his community,” the claim reads.
The suit also claims the governments failed to properly screen foster parents, failed to properly supervise and inspect foster placements, and failed to protect the plaintiff from physical and mental abuse while in foster care — among other allegations.
“As a result of the loss of Metis culture and identity, as well as the mental and emotional abuse, the Plaintiff sustained serious, lasting and permanent personal injuries including nervous shock, anxiety, depression, emotional trauma, personality change, loss of confidence, decreased social ability, and fatigue,” the lawsuit claims.
Canada’s Ministry of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs issued a brief statement Monday in response to the statement of claim.
“The Sixties Scoop is a dark and painful chapter in Canada’s history. This proposed settlement represents the first step in resolving this issue,” the statement read, referring to the $800-million class-action settlement.
“We know that there are other claims that remain unresolved, including those of the Métis and non-status. We remain committed to working with all Indigenous peoples affected by the Sixties Scoop to resolve the remaining litigation through negotiation.”
The province stated commenting on the claim would be inappropriate.
“It would not be appropriate to comment at this time as the statement of claim has just been filed and it is before the courts,” Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Justice said.
The lawsuit does not specify an amount of money sought by Doucette.