January 10th, 2018

NDP: Liberals must stop “settling of scores” against St. Anne’s IRS survivors

TIMMINS - The NDP is calling on Minister Bennett to come clean over her department’s ongoing vendetta against survivors of St. Anne’s Residential School. Justice Paul Perrell in a January 4th Ontario Superior court ruling stated that the government’s tactic of going after two St. Anne’s Residential School survivors for court costs amounts to a “settling of scores.”

“This kind of political vendetta against survivors of brutal abuse is not acceptable. Why is Minister Bennett’s department more interested in settling scores with survivors than ensuring that reconciliation is made real?” asked NDP Indigenous Affairs Critic (youth) Charlie Angus. “The government suppressed evidence of the crimes at St. Anne’s. They fought survivors with the meanest of legal tactics. It is unconscionable that they are using the unlimited resources of the justice department to go after survivors for costs when some of them couldn’t even afford the bus fare to their own hearings.”

In his ruling, Justice Perrell described the government’s relationship to St. Anne’s survivors as a “festering sore of animosity, distrust and resentment” that caused one distraught survivor to attempt suicide.

“This vendetta has to stop. I have always had enormous respect for Minister Bennett, but cannot understand why she would go along with such scorched earth tactics,” added Angus. “She needs to call off her lawyers and agree to sit down with the St. Anne’s survivors. Reconciliation in Canada will be a hollow word until the St. Anne’s survivors obtain justice.”