New Brunswick First Nations won another legal battle in their fight against the federal government’s cuts to social programs in First Nations communities, when a Federal Court judge rejected the efforts of the government to stop other First Nations from joining the court battle.

Madam Justice Mary Gleason of the Federal Court of Canada granted permission to seventeen First Nations in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island to join the action launched by Elsipogtog First Nation last spring. In her decision, the judge cited the broad impact the cuts would have in First Nations communities, finding that many communities would be “directly affected” by the proposed changes.

The decision marks the second setback for the Harper government in its efforts to cut anti-poverty programs.  The cuts have already been delayed by an injunction issued by the Federal Court barring the government from proceeding in a decision that cited the potentially irreparable harm the cuts might have on people living in poverty.

Chief Arren Sock of Esipogtog First Nation celebrated the latest victory, noting that the widespread support among First Nations for the case shows how devastating the cuts will be.  “Clearly, the government tried to silence the clear message that First Nations are united in warning how many innocent people will be hurt by the cuts. We appreciate the Court’s refusal to let those voices be silenced.”

Noting that the feder ...

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