Pic 1

Status of UK Government

The U.K. governments through the years  basically ignored the child migration problems. The last Conservative Prime Minister John when asked a question in the House of Commons answered "Any concern about the treatment of children in another country  is essentially a matter for the authorities of that country." 2 Nov 1993 Hansard.

This was generally the attitude of all U.K. governments prior to 1997.Even though the children were still British citizens  they were out of sight out of mind and someone elses problem.

The Chairman of the U.K. Health Select Committee David {Lab.} lead off the first debate since the 1920's  On the 19th of May 1999 Mr Hinchliffe made the following statements among others in his speech to the House of Commons.

"I will say a little in the background to our report but what ever we say  in the debate will fail to do justice to the issue. All those who know about child migration will accept that point. I apologize to those  affected by child migration for the fact we will not be able to justice to what they went through. The debate is about one the most shameful secrets of Britain's recent past. It is about the deportation in effect of thousands of vulnerable children from our care system is about this country washing it’s hands of it’s responsibility for it’s own citizens, who, in many instances had the most appalling experiences as a direct consequence."

The realty for significant numbers of children involved was separation from their siblings : we heard tale after tale of brother being separated from sister  never to see each other again after  arrival ,especially in Australia { Note  the Committee  declined to come to Canada}. The  reality was years of suffering, degradation and denial  of the fact that most children had natural parents , who were  often persuaded and families still living. For the natural parents, who were often persuaded to part with their offspring  on the pretext they would be adopted in good circumstances Britain the reality was years of lies and deceit."

UK Parlimentary Building
UK Parliament Building

These statements along with many others gave much hope to the international child migrants community. This along with the filing  of the Health Select Committee report and the U.K. governments response to the same  gave t he same hope to many Canadians including those who make up the Cdn. Centre for Home Children. Many things were said to us we are still waiting for them to come true. Later that year it became obvious that the U.K. government’s attention and actions were entirely focused on The problems in Australia perhaps the intense media  exposure none of it flattering had something to do with it. 

Although we and others tried to get them to listen and to give  the Canadian diaspora equal and fair attention it was not  to be.  .
Our Chairman even traveled to England to try and meet with Mr HInchliffe but he declined to meet because he was too  busy..
we had been previously assured the hearings and the reports etc. were only the beginning unfortunately we are still waiting to hear .

The behavior of the Blair government  was just so much more of what has come to be known as Tony’s Baloney. It was just an effort by the spin doctors to make the government look good while doing little or nothing. An example was  the Child Migrants Travel Fund a much heralded outcome of the parliamentary hearings a million lbs Sterling  was pledged to reunite families by paying for travel to the U.K.,  when it was over 99% went to Australia and 1% came to Canada  In Cdn funds that represents 2.8 million  to Australia and 28.thousand to Canada. This even though 10 times as many children came to Canada as to Australia.

 Needless to say this was a great blow to those of us in Canada who believed the Blair government was sincere or we were at least prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt .We will know better next time and their will be a next time.

It should be made clear that this does not apply to the good people of the U.K.. of whom their are millions  who are our relatives We don’t know how many millions but it is many more millions than the 4 million descendants in Canada and the thousands in the USA.
They will be as shocked and angered as we were. Hopefully the day may come when they can express their shock and dismay. But first they have to be fully informed and that we will do our best to achieve.

It is our belief that the good people of the U.K. have the greatest respect for Canadians , who they know have responded to
 Britains needs in the most desperate and dire circumstances  and the most perilous of times thousand of Home Children and their descendant responded along with thousands of other Canadians .The British people were grateful and have not forgotten even if the Blair Labor Government has.