June 29, 1999

Duplessis Orphans : Stonewalled - Summary of today's meeting with the Minister of Citizens Relations Montreal, June 29, 1999

The Duplessis Orphans Committee met this morning with Robert Perreault, Minister of Citizens Relations to discuss this file which remains in the news. The meeting was held at his Montreal office, following which the Duplessis Orphans Committee stated it was being stonewalled by the Government as it is refusing to come to a negotiated settlement. ``We are extremely disappointed in the turn of events, while we were totally prepared to make all necessary efforts to begin negotiations on the basis of the position proffered by Quebec Ombudsman Daniel Jacoby. We are being stonewalled as the Government maintains a position of wanting to impose an unjust and inadequate solution which blatantly ignores our principal demand, which is endorsed by the Quebec Ombudsman, mainly an individual indemnification of the victims.'' stated Bruno Roy, President of the Duplessis Orphans Committee. ``The Ombudsman's report put forward precise and reasonable solutions which the Government refuses to address.'' explained Bruno Roy. During the meeting the committee members sought again to demonstrate their willingness to discuss and to achieve a true dialogue with the Minister. It is the Committee's wish to achieve a just and equitable agreement to help its members who were illegally interned in psychiatric hospitals from 1940 to 1960 when they were made to suffer severe physical and psychological abuse. The victims whose medical records were falsified, were also used as slave labor to help in the upkeep of real mental patients. On last April 26, UQAM's Centre for Socio-Economic Studies released a research report which highlighted that the Quebec Government had profited financially by transferring normal children within the walls of psychiatric asylums. The Quebec Government profited as the children were then subsidized by the Federal government. Minister Perreault reaffirmed his government's rejection of the Ombudsman's report which was unanimously approved by the Commission of Institutions on May 23, 1997. ``What the Government is rejecting (indemnification of the victims) is supported by 2/3 of the Quebec population according to a Léger & Léger scientific survey released last June 4. Nonetheless, the Duplessis Orphans are firmly committed to continue its fight until justice is achieved.'' concluded Bruno Roy.

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