In a precedent-setting case taking place over the next two days in Halifax, Maurina Beadle and Pictou Landing First Nation are taking the Government of Canada to court over its failure to provide to Beadle's son the same level of health care that a child living off-reserve would receive from the province of Nova Scotia.
Beadle, with the support of Philippa Pictou, Health Director for Pictou Landing First Nation, are invoking, for the first time in its history, Jordan's Principle, a child-first policy passed unanimously in the House of Commons in 2007. The policy dictates that in the instance of a jurisdictional dispute over which level of government foots the bill for a First Nations child in need of medical care, the government first contacted must come up with the funds; any arguments over who ultimately pays for the child's care are to be argued later.
The bill is designed, in other words, to leave the child out of the jurisdictional red tape.
Jordan's Principle is named after Jordan River Anderson of Norway House Cree Nation, who lived all four years of his life in hospital while the governments of Manitoba and Canada fought over which level of government was responsible for paying for his home care.
Jordan's Principle has never been implemented in any province or territory.
Carol Hughes, NDP Health Issues Critic and MP for Algoma–Manitoulin–Kapuskasing, Ontario, saluted Beadle in the House of Commons this past Wednesday, June 6 in her "quest for justice, not only for her son but for all First Nation children." The House gave Beadle a standing ovation.
The trial is open to the public and begins at 9:30 am at the Law Courts on Lower Water Street.