NDP leadership candidate Charlie Angus is promising to find better ways to protect the interests of First Nations, Metis and Inuit children—including by dismantling the Indigenous Affairs Department.

The Timmins-James Bay MP said he would create a federal ombudsperson for indigenous children, who would have the legal authority to order government departments to comply with policies aimed at improving child welfare.

Last month, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal found the federal government’s failure to fully implement Jordan’s Principle may have played a role in the suicide deaths of two 12-year-old girls from remote Wapekeka First Nation in northwestern Ontario.

The principle lays out how to handle jurisdictional disputes over paying for services to First Nations children, saying the first level of government to be contacted should cover the cost, with arguments over jurisdiction to be sorted out later.

Angus said he would also audit the Indigenous Affairs Department and Health Canada in order to figure out how the government runs its programs and then work with indigenous communities on giving them the power to run them.

“It’s time for action that returns accountability to where it belongs, with parents and these communities,” Angus said in a news release Sunday.

Filed under: Charlie Angus, Local News, NDP Leadership