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Status of Canadian Government

The government of Canada has done almost nothing to help or assist the Home Children community with any problems since the program to bring young British children to Canada in 1869.

Over and over when we contacted various federal government departments prior to 1998 we got the same answer “Sorry, we have programs to help this group of people”, end of discussion. In February we met with the minister of heritage and Parks Canada, Sheila. We were astonished to learn that she had no prior knowledge of the Home Children and had never been briefed by anyone in her department. We had a good meeting with Mrs. Copps and were promised much help with the Home Children’s problems. Her main statement was we will do for the Home Children as what we did for the Irish at Gros isles P.Q.

The U.K. government hearings were to be held in May of that year and the minister was aware we would be appearing before and filing a report with the U.K. government committee. We were in constant contact with the Ministers staff after we returned form the U.K. Unfortunately as the months went on and no help was forthcoming, we tried to meet with the Minister, but she refused. It became obvious as the months went by that nothing was going rto happen I n spite of the Minister’s promises. Even with pressure from our local M.P. we could not get the Dept. of heritage to budge. We conclude that we had been deliberately deceived and used by the Minister, dept. of Heritage and Parks Canada, so they would avoid looking bad before the international media and public. Sadly to say we did make them look in the eyes of the media and public. But is a lesson well learned and it will not happen a second time. There is much more to this story and a full report will be made available later.

Canada's Parliment Building
Parliament Hill
Ottawa, Canada

The only real progress that has been made in Canada is primarily due to the tremendous volunteer effort by the British Historical Society of Ottawa in processing the national archives passenger lists. On its own, the government has put up a plaque at a former Bernardo home in Ontario. To paraphrase a once popular song “it ain’t paradise to put up a plaque”.

In December of 1998 the U.K. government sent a senior representative from the dept. of health to deliver a copy of the committee’s report and to answer questions. He met with the Cdn. Dept. of Foreign Affairs. The only response from the Government of Canada, of which we were aware, was a short letter from the Deputy Minister agreeing in principle with the proposed actions of the U.K. government which contained basically nothing for Canada. All resources, monies and interest was focused on Australia. There has never been any objection to the favoritism shown Australia then or now. Canada continues to remain mute on the disrespect that the U.K. Government continually displayed towards Canadian Home Children and their families. It may even be that Canada has given silent tacit approval to this attitude to try and keep the status quo of neither government doing anything about the Canadian situation.

The situation has not only improved since 1998, it has significantly deteriorated. The Spanish have a phrase that fits the situation. “Los Desaparaceidos”. The literal translation is the disappeared ones. As far as the government is concerned the Canadian Home Children community is so invisible to them, that they have disappeared and there is absolutely no doubt they intend to try and keep it that way. Well we are here to tell them that enough is enough and we intend to make them own up to their responsibility.