Sunday, September 21, 2014
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Family, disabled teen honoured at Assembly of First Nations conference

MICHAEL LIGHTSTONE

Staff Reporter

thechronicleherald.ca

An aboriginal family from Nova Scotia was formally recognized Tuesday at the Assembly of First Nations annual conference in Halifax.

Delegates stood and applauded after an announcement was made about a recent federal government decision to drop its appeal of a court ruling involving the care of severely disabled teen Jeremy Meawasige of the Pictou Landing reserve.

He has autism, cerebral palsy and other disabilities.

Attendees at the national First Nations meeting were asked to stand in recognition of Meawasige, his mother, Maurina Beadle, and others who supported them and battled Ottawa.

Since the young man lives on a reserve, his care is the responsibility of the federal government. Ottawa wanted to cap monthly payments at about $2,000; his care costs the Pictou Landing band council $6,000 to $8,200 per month, news reports have said.

A Federal Court agreed with Beadle last year when it ruled the government was wrong to cover only a portion of the costs hooked to his well-being.

CBC News has reported Beadle’s lawyer was told last Friday the government was yanking its appeal.

Stan Beardy, a regional chief from Ontario, had prefaced a discussion on native health issues Tuesday afternoon with a brief tribute to Meawasige, Beadle and the small Pictou Landing community.

He said the family is “a true inspiration to all of us.”

Beardy told delegates the assembly is working on a national health strategy for natives and the program is expected to be launched next spring.

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