VANCOUVER (March 21, 2023) – Michael Lee, BC Liberal Shadow Minister for Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, and Norm Letnick, Shadow Minister for Children and Family Development, released the following joint statement today to acknowledge the Key First Nation’s exercise of its jurisdiction over child and family services as they continue to mourn the loss of fourteen-year-old Noelle O’Soup:
“Our BC United Caucus stands with the Key First Nation, as well as the loved ones and family of Noelle O’Soup, as we mourn her disappearance and death. Noelle’s tragic story, her disappearance while in government care, and the failure for authorities to provide timely details and communications highlights the many gaps in the B.C. government’s response to Indigenous children and youth who are vulnerable. We share the Key First Nation’s concerns about the lack of transparency shown by relevant authorities leading up to and after the disappearance and death of Noelle.
“Immediate action must be taken to seek justice and closure for Noelle’s family. This includes addressing the systemic failures that posed barriers compromising Noelle’s safety and access to timely information for her loved ones. Indigenous families have the right to get information and take care of their children. We urge the Ministry of Children and Family Development to immediately identify the gaps in the system which lead to the disparity between outcomes for Indigenous and non-Indigenous children under government care.
“As the Key First Nation begins their consultation process to define a new Child Welfare Law for their Nation, we encourage those with lived experiences with child and family services to tell their stories and be heard. We also call on the government to seek justice for Noelle O’Soup by pursuing immediate and comprehensive dialogue with loved ones, family, and the Key First Nation to ensure tragedies of this kind do not happen again.”