December 13th, 2017

NDP: Liberals must end legal obstructions against St. Anne’s survivors

OTTAWA – The NDP is renewing calls to the Liberal government to end their ongoing attempt to obstruct the rights of survivors of the notorious St. Anne’s Residential School in Fort Albany, Ontario. Survivors have been forced to go back to Superior Court in an attempt to end the ongoing obstructions put in their path by government lawyers.

“The government has been fighting St. Anne’s survivors tooth and nail for years, first by covering up documents and now by forcing survivors to find witnesses to verify the police evidence. This is a re-victimization of survivors who have suffered horrific levels of abuse,” said NDP Critic for Indigenous Affairs (youth) Charlie Angus. “The government’s tactics are a betrayal of the promise of the Prime Minister to make reconciliation a reality for residential school survivors.”

The government’s obstruction stems from a decision by government lawyers to suppress thousands of pages of police evidence that documented the horrific crimes of abuse, torture and child rape at the notorious institution.

The government was obligated to disclose records about each residential school so that an independent legal process could examine each survivor’s case with the benefit of full context. The government’s continued refusal to admit evidence from past civil proceedings has made it difficult for survivors to find closure.

“This is at its heart an issue of reconciliation and justice,” added Angus. “If survivors of one of the worst residential schools in Canadian history cannot count on the government to be a partner in their healing process, what can Indigenous people across Canada hope for? Minister Bennett needs to end this fight.”