Nova Scotia

Jeremy Meawasige support decision brings 'overwhelming' relief

Maurina Beadle is busy thanking her supporters now that the federal government is no longer fighting her over support for her severely disabled son.

Ottawa drops appeal in case of financial support for Pictou Landing teen with severe disabilities

Jeremy Meawasige, seen here with his mother in 2011, requires about $6,000 in care every month. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)

Maurina Beadle is busy thanking her supporters now that the federal government is no longer fighting her over support for her severely disabled son.

"All I've been doing on the Facebook is answering people and thanking them," Beadle told CBC News on Saturday. "So many things going on right now!"

Beadle lives on the Pictou Landing reserve in Nova Scotia with her son Jeremy Meawasige, who has cerebral palsy, autism and other disabilities.​

She has been locked in a legal fight with the federal government over his monthly $6,000 bill for care and treatment.

But Beadle got good news on Friday when she found out the federal government is dropping its fight to pay much less.

She's very relieved she won't have to go back to court in September.

"It's overwhelming," she said. "There's no longer a court case to go to, which is a really, really nice feeling that it's all done."

Who is responsible?

Beadle fought for the same level of care that the provincial government would provide to an aboriginal child off reserve.

Because Meawasige lives on a reserve, his care is the responsibility of the federal government. The federal government wanted to cap the payments at $2,000 per month.

Last year, the Federal Court of Canada sided with Beadle and ruled that the government was wrong to cover only a portion of the costs to care for Meawasige.

It said the federal government must uphold Jordan's Principle, an agreement that First Nations children should get the public assistance they need regardless of jurisdictional spats. The principle is named after a boy who died in Manitoba while governments fought over payment of home-care services.

Beadle's lawyer, Paul Champ, was told Friday that the government was dropping its appeal.

He called it a victory for the Pictou Landing First Nation, which has been paying for Meawasige's care out of its own budget.

Documents show that the federal government has spent nearly $200,000 fighting the Federal Court ruling.