05.31.2013 10:14 AM

Abused institutional survivors to Kathleen Wynne: a year later, nothing


Full disclosure: I work with the abused survivors of a number of Ontario institutions. A year ago this week, they met with Kathleen Wynne, who promised to help them. A few months later, they followed up with a letter – and got nothing back.

This isn’t just another case of government being insensitive – it’s in fact outrageous. And these people – who were herded into these province-run institutions when they were children, and routinely beaten and sexually abused – deserve far better from a government that, even now, still refuses to acknowledge it owed them a duty of care.

More to come on this. For now, their presss release, just out:

Did Premier Kathleen Wynne Break Her Promise to Abused Institutional Survivors?

Before she was Premier, Wynne said she would help but now that she is Premier, the victims are ignored

TORONTO, May 31, 2013 /CNW/ – Survivors of the Huronia Regional Centre (HRC) have followed up on yesterday’s dramatic Queen’s Park press conference, demanding to know why – after a full year – Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has yet to make good on a personal promise she made to address the horrific abuse they suffered.

Patricia Seth and Marie Slark, plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit against HRC and the province of Ontario, met with Wynne at a Truth and Reconciliation gathering in Toronto – exactly a year ago this week – and told her about the abuse they endured by those entrusted to care for and protect them. Patricia and Marie were impressed with the attention the Premier paid to their plight. “She really seemed to care about us,” recalls Marie of the meeting. Patricia added, “Kathleen looked us right in the eye and said she would help us. But she hasn’t. Nothing has happened and we never heard from her again. Justice seems so far away.”

The institutional survivors followed up on their meeting with Wynne. In January 2013, Patricia and Marie wrote to the then-Minister during the Ontario Liberal leadership race, imploring Wynne to help them and all the other victims receive justice in a fair and timely manner. “She never really responded to that,” said Patricia.


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    Glen says:

    Maybe she brought it up with McGuinty, and he wasn’t into it? If they remember correctly, he was premier at the time.

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      Luke says:

      Still, if you make a promise and can’t deliver, you should at least have the decency to apologize to the ones you promised, especially when they are writing to you.

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    Chris says:

    Wynne is Premier now. She has the power. Liberal Premiers have had no trouble ordering rush legislation to force teachers to accept contracts, G20 security measures, HST, windmills, etc etc etc. She can make compensation happen with the wave of her pen. Time to own up to the moniker of progressive Premier Kathy.

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    ray says:

    I had an older brother in Huronia. I remember visiting as a child. It was horrible. It was Gothic. Straight out of Dickens. The tunnels, the green paint, the hissing pipes and the smell of urine. I can only imagine what might have happened to him before he died.

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    Lynn says:

    What happen to politicians, do they lose any shred of humanity when they achieve power? Nova Scotia is also guilty of this behaviour and it sickens me that people who are now adults who are crying out for justice and the truth to come out are ignored, vilified and called liars as they seek redress, The Nova Scotia Home for Coloured Children (yes, you read it right) is fighting against its own residents who suffered horrific abuse and discrimination. Google it and have your heart ripped out. And the NDP who were going to do so much for the marginalized of the province have behaved appallingly toward these individuals now that they have power. Fighting the survivors in order not to compensate them shames us all as human beings.

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    Ted B says:

    How long has Wynne been the Premier? 100 days or so? She had no solidity of governance until the last week or so when she got the NDP to support them.

    And what does “She never really responded to that” mean? Does that mean she didn’t respond or she responded but they weren’t satisfied with whatever it was she said?

    I’m not defending or decrying here, but the survival of the government likely was taking a priority over figuring out the mechanics of how to follow up on her promise. If it’s more than that, have at ‘er, though.

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      Warren says:

      Ted, you’re putting your partisanship ahead of your decency. I never ever thought I would see you do that.

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        Ted B says:

        I’m actually doing nothing of the sort. Certainly didn’t mean it to sound that way.

        I care less and less about this government, but I do know what it’s been pre-occupied with of late and I don’t know how complicated the claims are. Until very recently, we didn’t even know if we’d have a government. And it appears that there has been some communication, although the press release doesn’t describe what Wynne actually said to them. Was she stalling? Did she re-iterate the promise or do so with weasily politician words?

        Like I said, if she doesn’t come through on her promise now that the government is secured, have at ‘er. She’s the premier now and the buck stops with her.

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          Cath says:

          It’s still no excuse for a not issuing a reply. That’s just basic communication consideration no matter who you are or how busy or preoccupied.

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            Glen says:

            Ha ha! Ted, Warren sucked you in good. Take a lesson from him: get your message out there (however wrong and hilariously ironic it may be) and don’t respond in follow up.

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    Elizabeth says:

    That’s disgraceful. It should have been one of her first actions. It wouldn’t take much to carry out even a gesture, a partial move towards completing business.

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    Bruce M says:

    Maybe Wynne needs to be more like that progressive Prime Minister, Stephen Harper. He of official apologies, Truth and Reconciliation Commissions and promoter of equal rights for women on reserves. And hopefully she’ll be a little less like McGuinty, he of broken promises following election and tin ears for public and native concerns (Caledonia.)

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