Harper Conservatives spying on well-known aboriginal rights advocate, says UFCW Canada

By: UFCW Canada | Press Release | June 10, 2013

Dr. Cindy Blackstock (Photo credit: Art Babych)

Dr. Cindy Blackstock (Photo credit: Art Babych)

TORONTO, June 9, 2013 – As reported in the Toronto Star, the federal Canadian Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart has found that Dr. Cindy Blackstock, Executive Director of the First Nations Children and Family Caring Society (FNCFCS), has been the subject of surveillance by the Tory Government in Ottawa.

“I was shocked when I realized that in a democracy such as Canada our federal government thinks it is right to violate the privacy of citizens who have a view that is different from theirs,” says Prof. Blackstock. “By simply working towards a more fair and just Canada for all children, it seems that the federal government targeted me as a person of concern.  We have to ask ourselves ‘who else is being targeted and for what purpose?’”

FNCFCS is the only national organization serving Aboriginal children and families. It was developed at a national meeting of First Nations child and family service agencies, held at the Squamish First Nation in 1998.

“Given the Conservative Governments record on privacy and ignoring Canadians’ Charter rights, it is not surprising that Prof. Blackstock has been under systematic surveillance by the Tories in Ottawa for simply connecting communities and advocating for First Nations children,” says Naveen Mehta, General Counsel, UFCW Canada.

As national partners, UFCW Canada and FNCFCS are actively collaborating on projects to advance equality, diversity, education and social and economic justice for First Nations children, youth and families. Previously, Prof. Blackstock has presented to the union’s Human Rights, Equity & Diversity committee, and she is scheduled to speak at the UFCW Canada National Council meeting this November in Toronto.

“Our national relationship with FNCFCS has been very rewarding to UFCW Canada members in that it has shed an intense light on the continuing and fundamental unfairness facing First Nations communities across the country,” says Wayne Hanley, National President, UFCW Canada.  “We look forward to engaging even more UFCW Canada members with the FNCFCS over the next several months including the national ‘Our Dreams Matter Too’ walk on June 11.”

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