Quicker res­i­den­tial school pay­outs urged

Saskatoon StarPhoenix - - General -

WIN­NIPEG (CP) — Two days of hear­ings in a Win­nipeg court­room ended Fri­day with sur­vivors of phys­i­cal and sex­ual abuse at In­dian res­i­den­tial schools urg­ing the court to speed up pay­outs from a $1.9-bil­lion com­pen­sa­tion pack­age.

The deal is not ideal, but the suf­fer­ing has gone on long enough, said 10 sur­vivors who stepped for­ward Fri­day.

If the deal goes through, it will beApril or May be­fore the first cheques, av­er­ag­ing $25,000, go in the mail.

“I have to say I ac­cept the set­tle­ment, but un­der great duress,” sur­vivor Va­lerie Wood said.

In a day of tragic tes­ti­mony, there was one story that had lawyers and sur­vivors chuck­ling.

Josie Bear from Peguis First Na­tion, 220 kilo­me­tres north of Win­nipeg, re­lated a tale of one se­nior who re­ceived an $8,000 ad­vance pay­ment un­der pro­vi­sions that fast-tracked money for peo­ple aged 65 and older this sum­mer.

“He’s car­ry­ing a cell phone around, even though there’s no cell ser­vice,” said Bear. “He’s got some­thing, and that makes me happy.”

The sur­vivors said they at­tended schools ei­ther in Man­i­toba or On­tario for nine to 14 and 1960s.

Most are poor and many said the long wait to get cheques is frus­trat­ing.

Sur­vivor Ted Fon­taine said lawyers and gov­ern­ments don’t seem to be keep­ing track of mil­lions of dol­lars spent be­hind the scenes on le­gal briefs and con­sul­tants’ re­ports, but he said the deal should go through.

“For some sur­vivors, it will clear the path to be­gin heal­ing.”

Queen’s Bench Jus­tice

years

dur­ing

the 1950s

Perry

Schul- man turned over the sec­ond day of hear­ings to sur­vivors. Droves had shown up the first day to speak and never got the chance.

Un­der the terms of the set­tle­ment, nine pro­vin­cial courts, in­clud­ing Man­i­toba’s, must hold pub­lic hear­ings and ap­prove the deal.

In ad­di­tion to court ap­proval, the set­tle­ment calls for a wait­ing pe­riod of six months to al­low sur­vivors who would rather take their chances in court to reg­is­ter for­mal ob­jec­tions.

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