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Send a Valentine to PM Harper in support of the well-being of Indigenous children

First Nations children have the right grow up safely at home, get a good education, be healthy, and be proud of their cultures

It’s an obvious truth but it’s far from being a reality.

As the Auditor General of Canada and many others have noted, the Federal government provides less funding per child for many services for First Nations children on reserves than the Provinces provide for children in their jurisdictions. This is despite often higher costs of delivering such services in small and remote communities, and the greater need experienced by many First Nations communities.

The result of the denial of basic rights that most people in Canada take for granted.

The annual Have a Heart Day campaign is about involving ordinary people across Canada in demanding an end to this fundamentally unjust situation. The campaign is led by the First Nations Child and Family Caring, a dynamic non-profit organization led by Dr. Cindy Blackstock which advocates for the rights of First Nations children. The Caring Society says, “Have a Heart Day is about caring Canadians working together to ensure First Nations children have proper services that make them feel proud of who they are.”

Amnesty International has worked alongside the Caring Society for years to raise awareness of the ongoing discrimination in the funding and quality of basic government services available to First Nations children. Also in February we will once again standing alongside Dr. Blackstock and the Caring Society as the long awaiting Canadian Human Rights Tribunal hearing into the Society’s discrimination complaint against the Federal government is finally heard.

The Caring Society has made joining the Have a Heart Day campaign easy. You can take part by sending a Valentine’s Day card or letter to the Prime Minister and your Member of Parliament, hosting a Valentine’s Day party to raise awareness in your school or community, or by spreading the word through social media like YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

Last year, people across Canada celebrated Have a Heart day in all sorts of energizing and creative ways. Southeast Child and Family Services in Manitoba collected over 5000 Valentine’s Day cards to send to Parliament. Students at Carleton University held a bake sale, and community members in Saskatchewan celebrated with an educational puppet show.

Visit the Have a Heart Day website at www.fncaringsociety/have-a-heart for more information, to send an e-Valentine, or to order Have a Heart Valentine’s cards, posters, bookmarks, and buttons!

To find the contact details for you Member of Parliament, visit the Parliament of Canada website.

However you take part in Have a Heart Day, please let us know. It's really important to build a picture of all the activity taking part across the country. Please drop us a line - and send pictures, if you can - to writeathon@amnesty.ca

There is also an ongoing related action on our own website at:
http://www.amnesty.ca/our-work/issues/indigenous-peoples/discrimination-against-first-nations-children-in-canada

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