Thank you, Chair.
According to documents recently released under access to information, the federal government spent more than $110,000 fighting a first nations girl in court to block payments for orthodontic treatment that cost $6,000. Stacey Shiner, the child's mother, sought payment for the braces under the first nations and Inuit health benefit program, but was denied by Health Canada. She appealed three times to no avail. Ultimately, she had to take the case to Federal Court.
Cindy Blackstock, executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada and an intervenor in the Shiner case, said the following:
As a human being, I think it's immoral that Canada would not fund services where two concurring pediatric orthodontists agree that without treatment this girl will experience chronic pain and will have difficulty eating and talking. As a taxpayer, I'm absolutely floored that Canada would spend $110,000 defending [against] a $6,000 investment to help [an indigenous] child. They could have used that money to buy 18 children in medical need the orthodontic services they needed.
In your view, does this expenditure of $110,000 in legal fees represent good value for money?