Skip to main content

Canada Saskatchewan’s NDP leader apologizes for Sixties Scoop, says more action needed

Opposition Leader Ryan Meili speaks to the media at the Legislative building, in Regina, on March 20, 2019.

Michael Bell/The Canadian Press

Saskatchewan’s NDP leader has apologized for the Sixties Scoop, a policy that saw thousands of Indigenous children removed from their homes and placed with non-Indigenous families.

Ryan Meili said past NDP governments in the province share responsibility for using the policy.

He said on Thursday that New Democrats must ask for forgiveness because of harm done to children, their families and their communities.

Story continues below advertisement

Robert Doucette, a survivor and co-chair of a group called the Sixties Scoop Indigenous Society of Saskatchewan, was on hand for the apology and thanked Meili for this words.

“When we were sitting in his office, there’s the picture of Allan Blakeney,” Mr. Doucette said. “Allan Blakeney was the premier of the province of Saskatchewan when they sent two of my sisters and my brother to … Michigan.”

Mr. Meili also accused the Saskatchewan Party government of ignoring recommendations presented to the province by Mr. Doucette’s group earlier this year when Premier Scott More formally apologized for the Sixties Scoop.

Manitoba and Alberta have also issued apologies.

The Saskatchewan group presented the government at the time with a report that recommended, among many things, that it create a task force to help people access their records. The group also wants to see sharing circles continue and more public awareness.

Some members of the group said Thursday they are concerned with the government’s lack of action so far.

“They promised us that they would continue to work with us and recognize the survivors – that this wasn’t the end,” Melissa Parkyn said.

Story continues below advertisement

She said helping survivors find their records is an important step.

“They still feel like they’re not being heard.”

Mr. Doucette said some survivors who are trying to access their records have discovered they no longer exist or have been destroyed.

Minister of Social Services Paul Merriman said they have been able to obtain about 85 per cent of requested records, but others that date back decades have deteriorated over time.

The government is dealing with requests for information on a case-by-case basis, Mr. Merriman said, adding some records have also been redacted for privacy reasons.

He said some work on the recommendations is already under way.

Story continues below advertisement

“The general theme of the report was to make sure that this doesn’t happen again,” Mr. Merriman said.

“That’s why we’ve taken some steps forward with our Indigenous partners to make sure that this process doesn’t repeat itself.”

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter