Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations Chief Bobby Cameron has responded to survivors of the Sixties Scoop who criticized his call for the province to pay them $200 million.
Lynn Thompson, who is part of a long-standing class-action lawsuit on the Sixties Scoop, said Friday that Cameron didn't consult with her group before making the statement calling for provincial compensation. She said he should have done so.
But Cameron said the call for $200 million was just a suggestion to spur discussion about compensation, and that dollar amount was chosen because it seemed like a realistic starting point.
"We know full well this government would never commit to $800 million when we are in a $1.2 billion-dollar deficit. That's clear to see," said Cameron.
"These are all suggestions, nothing is set in stone by all means. It was to generate some discussion and that's what it's doing."
Cameron made the original call for a $200 million payment on Wednesday. He said it should be attached to a long-awaited apology for the Sixties Scoop, which took thousands of Indigenous children out of their homes and placed them with white families across the North America.
His comments followed last month's announcement from the federal government that it will provide $750 million in compensation to survivors across the country. Another $50 million has been set aside for reconciliation initiatives.
Thompson said Friday that any provincial compensation should go to survivors.
Cameron said it would not go to the FSIN.
"If there is a compensation, not once did we ever say that any compensation would ever come to the FSIN, so I'm not sure where some people are getting their facts," he said.
"If the compensation ever did happen, it must go to the survivors, not the FSIN or anyone else."
Cameron said he had reached out to Thompson via a reporter at another news organization.
He said Saturday there was still time for consultation and feedback from survivors on what type of compensation, if any, they think would be would be appropriate.