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A lawyer is accusing the federal government of withholding important documents from people seeking redress for alleged abuse in Indian residential schools.
He also says the government misled the committee charged with supervising the compensation process.
And that oversight committee, the lawyer argues, is unwilling to do anything about it.
The case is an example of how residential school survivors are dependent on the federal government to provide records that support their demands for justice, leaving them feeling like the decks are stacked against them.
Victims of Canada’s infamous residential schools program are still missing many documents that may be in “churches across the ocean” while other evidence is at risk of being destroyed, Sen. Murray Sinclair said on Wednesday.
“More and more of the documents that were created around the residential school settlement agreement and around residential schools, continue to be in the possession of churches across the ocean and archives that are not available to Canadian law,” Sinclair said at a ceremony hosted in Gatineau, Quebec, by Information Commissioner Suzanne Legault to honour champions of the right to access information. “They’re not accessible, therefore, to survivors.”
A Canadian Catholic archbishop dismissed Sinclair’s comments, ridiculing the notion that some records might be overseas.
As Canada's Residential Schools Settlement Agreement draws to a close, some survivors are calling for a review.
A review is needed in order to identify any mistakes that have been made throughout the process and make them right, said Garnet Angeconeb, a residential school survivor who lives in Sioux Lookout, in northwestern Ontario.
There will be a 10-day walk that Angeconeb hopes will raise awareness of the needs of residential school survivors. Walkers will depart from Thunder Bay on June 11 and will arrive in Kenora, Ont. on June 21, National Aboriginal Day.
Lawyers working for the federal government used a technicality to avoid compensating a man who survived sexual abuse at an Indian residential school in Quebec, legal experts say
The survivor, an Innu man, says he was molested by a priest and a nun while attending a residential school near Sept-Îles between 1969 and 1971. And while a judge deemed the claim “credible” in a 2015 legal document, federal lawyers managed to get it thrown out because it occurred after the school’s administration was transferred to the province in 1969.
A confidential memorandum obtained by the Montreal Gazette suggests the federal government knew this distinction was merely technical. The federal government document shows that even after 1969, the Sept-Îles residential school was being run by the same nun who administered it when it was a federal Indian Residential School with documented cases of sexual and physical abuse.
The claim was one of an estimated 1,000 rejected across Canada because of this technicality — often referred to as the “administrative split.” That estimate, first reported by The Globe and Mail, comes from independent officials who evaluate residential school abuse allegations.
Dene National Chief Bill Erasmus says that there are "mistakes" in the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, and is calling for it to be reviewed.
The agreement, which was reached in 2006 between the Government of Canada and Indigenous Canadians who went through the residential school system, established a $2 billion compensation package for former students — the largest class action settlement in Canadian history.
However, Erasmus says it's strayed from its ultimate goal of reconciliation, too many former students have been left out or had their claims denied
The Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement is nearing its end after paying out billions in compensation, but indigenous leaders say there are so many gaps that left so many people uncompensated for their suffering that the deal must be reviewed, then rewritten or replaced.
The executive committee of the Assembly of First Nations will be asked at a meeting in Ottawa this week to consider what to do about the deal, which was struck nine years ago between former students, the government and the churches that ran the schools where abuse was rampant.