No Group Hug from Premier Wynne for Huronia Survivors

UPDATE Sept 17/13:  I called it right yesterday. The delay in the court case was because the government came to their senses and a deal was struck.  Kudos to Premier Wynne for finally stepping up to the plate.  It's just too bad she had to be forced to do so.

The Government has settled the suit offering $35 million to a fund for the survivors and will issue an apology.  

CBC: Huronia Regional Centre lawsuit ends in $35M settlement

The court case for the Huronia Regional Centre victims has been delayed until tomorrow. 

Kirk Baert, a lawyer bringing the class action case to court said today on the adjournment; "The parties have agreed to adjourn the start of the trial for one day. Because this matter is before the court it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time."
This case has received sporadic coverage as its worked its way to court.  Fortunately in the last few days the issue has gained much more attention and that may be why the case was delayed in court today.  Let's hope so.  

This delay could be for any number of reasons. Yet this case has been headed to court for sometime, the legal teams should be ready.  It would take something unusual for delay to be granted.  Further its unlikely the delay was because those bring the case forward wanted it, its more likely it was the Government's lawyers that made the request.

Now I am a former political staffer in a past government, from another province. I know what I would have been thinking if a case like the Huronia kids case were happening on my watch.  I would want to know how it got this far? Why have 'we' not found a way to settle this? What could we do to resolve the situation? Does this have to be a court case now? What's the right thing to do?

Kathleen Wynne, during the Ontario leadership race, met with some of those involved in this case, some ten or so months ago. According to reports she listened and was empathetic.  For the first time in years these folks felt someone in government was listening.  They dared believe a settlement could be had, especially now that Wynne was now Premier Wynne. 

As Premier, Wynne has been giving out group hugs to anyone within reach, and she has a great reach. Sadly some of the people most in need of the Premier's attention are being forced into what could be a lengthy and costly legal battle.  Many of the people involved in this case are in their 80's, many have died waiting for someone in government to acknowledge what they went through, to say we're sorry.

Let's hope today's delay is the result of someone in government coming to their senses.

some links

Toronto Star: Ontario allowed decades of child abuse: Goar

Toronto Star: Huronia Regional Centre: Class-action lawsuit set to begin over alleged abuse

Institutional Survivors - Background

The Orillia Packet HRC lawsuit to begin Monday


Little Angels and Tiny Toddlers... Ontario's shame, our collective shame

The dormitory and hallways stank of excrement, children went to the toilet and showered in the open, exposed to everyone, once showered they were given clothes by a staff person from a locked room.  These children had nothing, not the clothes on their backs nor underwear they wore each day.

It was the Huronia Regional Centre in the 1970's. Originally named the Orillia Asylum for Idiots. Thousands of children were sent here, conditions so unsanitary, any child who was admitted would be exposed to Hepatitis, parasites and other infectious diseases, and the Ontario government knew this.

The Ontario Government is forcing these people to court to settle their claims against the institution and the government. There is little dispute the harm was done, little dispute people were beaten, abused, humiliated and confined in conditions considered inhumane. Sexually abused, forced to beat up other children.  

The case goes to court September 16th.  Carol Goar of the Toronto Star has called the trial “a day of reckoning”.

You can find out more below, follow the links. I'm hopefull all three Ontario political parties can agree to an apology and settlement. Or must these people relive the horrors in court. Challenged all the way by the Government of Ontario, Our Government. 

Closed after 133 years in 2009, developmentally handicapped children were housed over the years in what some former residents allege were horrific, Dickensian prison-like conditions. 
Thousands are suing the Ontario government in a massive class action suit that alleges they were systematically sexually, physically and emotionally abused while the Ontario government was exclusively in charge from 1945 to 2004. - 

In 2011 CBC covered the story;
The lawyerKirk Baert: 'How far do you think the government would have gotten in the '50s, '60s and '70s if they had held people convicted of murder by the ankles and dunked them into bathwater full of ice cubes or forced them to scrub floors with toothbrushes or kicked them or punched them.
'If you think about the hierarchy, about where these people stood on the totem pole, they were below convicted felons.'
See also 
CBC Radio One documentary “The Gristle in the Stew”Listen now! Read about the documentary here and some of the incredible comments at the bottom of the article. - See more at: http://www.institutionalsurvivors.com/#sthash.nGPZMvR4.dpuf