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.
Patricia was sent to HRC when she was just six years old and was not
discharged from the institution until 17 years later. Patricia said:
"Living there was like being in jail and our only crime was being
disabled. I thought I would die in there." Marie, who was
institutionalized at HRC from the age of seven until 16 said: "When I
lived at Huronia I never had any control of my life. I hated it there."
Both women recollect a childhood filled with abuse and fear.
Ms. Slark and Ms. Seth are proceeding with a class action lawsuit
against the Ontario government to seek justice and compensation for the
severe abuse they endured while residing at HRC. HRC opened in 1876,
housing people who were deemed to have cognitive and other
disabilities. At its peak, more that 2,500 people lived at HRC and by
the mid-1970s, the Ontario government operated 16 such facilities. The
Liberal government closed the last of these institutions on March 31,
Victims of institutional abuse in Ontario are dying before seeing the
justice they deserve, and they say it is time for the Wynne government
to stop dragging its feet. Plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit against
the province of Ontario have been subjected to extraordinary government
delays that their lawyer - Kirk Baert of Koskie Minsky LLP -says he has
never before seen in 20 years of practice. "Premier Wynne and her
Attorney General must stop playing politics with these victims' lives
and finally give them the justice they deserve," stated Baert.
Koskie Minsky LLP is representing the former HRC residents involved in
the $2-billion class action lawsuit against the province of Ontario.
The class action alleges residents of the HRC suffered inhumane
treatment from 1945 until its closure in 2009 and that the province of
Ontario failed to properly care for, and protect, those under its care.
SOURCE: Koskie Minsky LLP
For further information:
Koskie Minsky LLP