Prime Minister Stephen Harper should call a full independent inquiry into the deaths of aboriginal children in care of the Alberta government, says the leader of the province’s Liberal party.
In a letter sent to Harper and the country’s opposition leaders, Raj Sherman calls on the federal government to look into the high rate of deaths among aboriginal children in provincial care.
“The Alberta Government has failed to deliver reasonable care to the First Nations, Métis and Inuit children-in-care in Alberta, and in doing so has placed you in breach of your treaty obligations,” Sherman wrote.
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Sherman says that 78 per cent of deaths in the provincial care system have been aboriginal children, who only make up nine per cent of the province’s youth.
Alberta opposition parties have been calling for an inquiry into the number of deaths of children in care following investigations from the Edmonton Journal and Calgary Herald that found a total of 145 children died while in care since 1999.
During the time, the province only reported 56 of the deaths.
Sherman’s letter notes that children in care is a provincial issue, but that he believes the federal government’s jurisdiction over aboriginal affairs gives them the power to step in and call an inquiry.
“We have the moral obligation and desire to help these children, but the government of Canada has the power to protect these children and we need you to intervene,” Sherman writes.
Sherman has asked for a prompt reply from the prime minister.