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Victory for Beadle, Measawige, as Crown drops appeal

After four year legal battle, Jordan's Principle to finally be implemented

by Miles Howe

"It's to benefit all children across Canada." Maurina Beadle on her first-in-the-nation implementation of Jordan's Principle.. [Photo: Miles Howe]
"It's to benefit all children across Canada." Maurina Beadle on her first-in-the-nation implementation of Jordan's Principle.. [Photo: Miles Howe]

Pik'tuk (Pictou Landing), Nova Scotia - “It was like going into the ring and the opponent throwing in the towel,” says Maurina Beadle of Pictou Landing First Nation. “No bout. No nothing.”

For four years, Beadle has been forced to do legal battle on behalf of her son Jeremy Meawasige – who suffers from a variety of serious ailments - to see the Jordan's Principle implemented. The case appears to have ended in victory for her on Friday, July 11th, as the Crown withdrew its appeal against her case.

As documented by Moira Peters, in her exhaustive reporting on Beadle's last court bout against the Crown, the heart of the Jordan's Principle is the notion that “no child should suffer a lack of critical health care as a result of a dispute between levels of government as to jurisdictional responsibility for providing that care.”

As Peters notes, the Jordan's Principle is named after: “Jordan River Anderson of Norway House Cree Nation, who spent all his life in hospital while the province of Manitoba and the government of Canada argued over who was responsible for funding the child's care at home. Jordan died at the age of four, having never lived at home.”

Beadle won her case in 2013, when the presiding judge determined that the federal government should shoulder Measawige's health care costs. But the feds appealed.

The appeal to Beadle's case was set to take place on September 8th, 2014, in federal Supreme Court. Instead, under pressure from the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs - instrumental in getting the principle underway to being with – the Crown folded its hand.

“I just got in-boxed and they said, 'Congratulations you won!' and I said 'What did I win?'” says Beadle. “They said the Jordan's Principle has been implemented.”

The implementation, by which the federal government will now reimburse the Pictou Landing First Nation band - which has been paying about $6,000 per month out of pocket - for Measawige's health care costs, will be the first of its kind in Canada.

Not lost on CBC coverage is the fact that the federal government has spent over $200,000 in fighting Beadle's case – about 3 years worth of Measawige's health care expenses.

For Beadle, the victory is four years in the making, and is almost overwhelming.

“I had the jitterbugs, butterflies in my belly. The news of the Jordan Principle case was overwhelming,” says Beadle. “I didn't know how to take it all in. It's to benefit all the children across Canada, and that's one of the things I was fighting for.”

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