NDP MP Romeo Saganash stands during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

Examine ‘monstrous’ allegations of forced sterilization of Indigenous women: NDP

The issue of forced sterilizations will also be raised at the UN Committee Against Torture

The federal government and the provinces must examine “monstrous” allegations of modern-day forced sterilizations of Indigenous women, NDP reconciliation critic Romeo Saganash said Monday.

Saganash, who is planning to raise the issue in the House of Commons, said that coerced sterilization clearly breaches human-rights standards that Canada must fight to uphold.

Authorities should very carefully read Article 2 of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide adopted by the UN in 1948, Saganash said.

It says that “genocide” includes any acts committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, such as by “imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group.”

No Canadians should tolerate allegations of forced sterilization in their country, Saganash said, adding that Ottawa must take concrete steps to address the issue as victims share their stories.

“I think they have to take this seriously,” said the MP from northern Quebec, who is Cree. “Just the fact that it is happening and people are coming out makes it serious enough to look for a solution.”

The issue of forced sterilizations will also be raised at the UN Committee Against Torture this week, when Amnesty International Canada and a national law firm call for accountability on the practice.

Maurice Law is leading a proposed class-action lawsuit against the federal government, the government of Saskatchewan, all its health authorities, and individual medical professionals.

The lawsuit was launched in 2017 by two affected women in the Saskatoon Health Region who each claimed $7 million in damages. Now about 60 women are part of the lawsuit.

In its submission to the UN committee, the law firm said there has been no effort at a comprehensive review to understand the scale of the problem or the conditions that make forced sterilizations possible.

It also listed a number of solutions, including a proposal to specifically criminalize forced sterilization as the “single most effective, immediate and enduring measure that could be taken” to protect women from this practice.

Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott recently said in an interview that forced sterilizations are a serious violation of human rights and said Canada must look at policies, education and awareness-raising to ensure the practice stops.

Yvonne Boyer, a Metis senator for Ontario, has said tubal ligations carried out on unwilling Indigenous women are one of the “most heinous” practices in health care happening across Canada.

Amnesty International Canada has recommended the federal government appoint a special representative to examine the prevalence of the practice across the country.

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde also wants to see the scope of forced sterilization examined and called the practice wrong, immoral and a “gross violation” of human rights.

Kristy Kirkup, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Social media a blessing and a curse during time of crisis: B.C. communication expert

‘In moments of crisis, fear is very real and palpable,’ says SFU’s Peter Chow-White

B.C. COVID-19 contact restrictions working, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

’Not out of the woods yet’ as next two weeks are critical

UPDATED: Some states of local emergency suspended by ministerial order

Suspension applies to regional districts but not First Nations

A letter from Bella Coola doctors on COVID-19: ‘All our lives depend on your actions now’

“None of us are invincible; we can all get it and spread it without even knowing.”

COVID-19: Bella Coola RCMP close detachment front door access

The public is being asked to call 250 799 5363 for assistance

B.C. records first at-home death from COVID-19, but 70+ hospital patients have recovered

Total of 970 novel coronavirus cases in B.C., with the majority in the Lower Mainland area

Canada expands 75% wage subsidy to COVID-19 affected businesses of all sizes: Trudeau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

Pay parking suspended at B.C. hospitals due to COVID-19

Temporary free parking reduces need for keypads, contact

Helping those at risk, one piece of paper at a time through ‘isolation communication’

Simple paper tool during pandemic making its way across Canada thanks to social media.

‘Back to school, in a virtual way’ for B.C. students in COVID-19 pandemic

Province adds online resources to help parents at home

Canadian COVID-19 round-up: Air Canada cuts 15,000 jobs, 90% of flights

Comprehensive Canadian news update as of 2:30 p.m., Monday, March 30.

Canadian ferry operators call for inclusion in COVID-19 travel restrictions

Domestic travel restrictions should include ferries, operators say

Cruise ships, one with COVID-19 on board, carry Canadians covertly through Panama Canal

Zaandam, Rotterdam pass through canal under cover of darkness in face of local protests

Most Read