Friday, 14 March 2014

Residential Schools, Courts, Structual Violence, Today's Federal Government & an Electric Chair to Shock

MP Charlie Angus has penned a blog on the Residential Schools about the abuse suffered at St-Annes Residential School in Ontario and a current court case. Apparently the federal government through its lawyers has withheld key documents from the court and survivors that they are legally bound to disclose. While normally I would not deal with an issue like this I feel that this is so important in demonstrating the structural violence that Indigenous peoples are exposed to within the legal system, governments, justice system (police). While some might feel that this is a form of retroactive complaining, when the cause of justice is involved the Canadian Human Rights Act, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights should serve as guiding principals for all people involved in the administration of justice. I fail to understand how lawyers could, day after day stand in court, lie and present false information unless they understand that this is their environment (habitus) and their fields of influences are stronger and more powerful than the plaintiffs and there are zero to no consequences for their deeds except possible promotion and the fees they are paid with a holiday at a beach resort.

It should be remembered that when the Ontario Provincial Police investigated in the 1990s they found children were beaten, raped, sexually assaulted and even tortured in a home made electric chair for the entertainment of the staff. The police gathered thousands of pages of witness testimony that resulted in numerous criminal convictions. Is the current Truth and Reconciliation Commission really bring about reconciliation when the federal government does not seem part of the process, not even a disinterested by-standard.

Let the words of the court convince you.Justice Perrell's January 14, 2014 ruling was damning: "Canada's failure to produce the OPP documents about St. Anne's has compromised the IAP and denied the Claimants access to justice." The Ontario Court ruled that the Conservative government had clear legal duties to "search for, collect and provide a report about the persons named in the Application Form as having abused the Claimant... as well as any allegations of physical or sexual abuse committed by such persons, where such allegations were made while the person was an employee or student." (Ruling paragraph 134).

Charlie Angus writes "Justice Department lawyers shrugged when it came to explaining why they had presented a false evidence narrative stating "It must have been human error." This seems like a pretty weak explanation for such a major breach in legal duty. I wrote twice to Minister Justice Mackay on this subversion of legal duty. He waited over six months to respond with a letter full of vague platitudes. However, he did admit they were legally obligated to prepare an accurate narrative."

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