‘Indian hospital’ lawsuit hopes to right wrongs - APTN NewsAPTN News

‘Indian hospital’ lawsuit hopes to right wrongs

Kathleen Martens
A $1.1-billion lawsuit filed by survivors of so-called Indian hospitals is the first step in a process that may never see the inside of a courtroom.

That’s because a lawyer for the class-action says they are open to negotiating with Ottawa directly – something Carolyn Bennett welcomes.

“We hope to be able to get to the table as quickly as possible,” the minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations said Tuesday of the court action announced the same day.

“We want justice to be done…Our government is determined to right wrongs and this was a dark chapter in Canada’s history.”

The suit must be certified by a judge and Cooper said no court date has yet been set.

In the meantime, he said lawyers want to hear from potential claimants who were related to or were patients themselves.

“We are collecting information,” Cooper said from his office in Sherwood Park, Alta. “We have people phoning us.”

The suit is seeking $1 billion in general and $100,000 in specific damages for abuses allegedly inflicted at Canada’s segregated ‘Indian hospital’ system from 1945 to 1981.

“We know that a range of things have happened; we know what these things are worth to the law,” he said.

The patients were First Nations, Metis and Inuit children and adults being treated for tuberculosis and other ailments at 29 facilities.

Some allege they were physically and sexually abused and used for medical experimentation at the hospitals they further allege were operated on the cheap with improperly trained staff.

One of those patients was Michael McIvor, who at four years of age was sent to Manitoba’s Ninette Tuberculosis Sanatorium in 1952.

His sibling Gerald McIvor of Winnipeg says Michael spent four years there, mostly on bed rest.

“I promised my brother,” Gerald said of why he’s crafting his own class-action lawsuit to pursue compensation for unapproved treatments and experiments he alleges were conducted on patients.

Gerald has started a Facebook group to collect names of alleged victims.

“Our brother was our protector but he didn’t have a protector,” he told APTN Investigates in 2017. “These are little children, humans – not guinea pigs.”

Meanwhile, Cooper says his class-action could benefit from the recent settlement of two others: one for residential school survivors in Newfoundland and Labrador (that his firm handled) and the other for ‘60s Scoop survivors nationally.

“Once the claim is filed, there is nothing stopping us from going into negotiations,” he said.

Cooper said potential victims can contact his firm by emailing indianhospitalsclassaction@kmlaw.ca.


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8 Responses to “‘Indian hospital’ lawsuit hopes to right wrongs”

  1. brozie@hotmail.ca'
    Ambrose Wolfe February 8, 2018 at 2:03 am #

    I was a patient at fort Qu Appelle indian hospital in the lake 50s and early 60s. I was treated for TB locked in my room for hours tied to my bed physically abused had my food taken a way as punishment for things they said I did. And the list goes on.

  2. Revalution25@gmail.com'
    Reva Marie Peters Ackroyd February 5, 2018 at 11:00 pm #

    Was young an unknown if I was in that hospital suffered from ear infections an boils checking for old medical records but can’t find them still suffer with hearing impairments to date.

  3. joangladstone47@gmail.com'
    Joan Gladstone (Frank) February 3, 2018 at 2:03 am #

    I was a patient at 17 yrs. old, treated for TB, was there for an entire summmer, hadto take 30 pills a day for 1 year, which left me feeling ill most of the time. I got TB from looking after an aunt, they thought she had leukemia and sent her home from hospital, I was the only one who got it, because I cleaned her up when sick, my aunt was there in isolation while I was there, mine was caught early so just in R lung.

  4. raamman@gmail.com'
    Laszlo January 31, 2018 at 5:34 pm #

    Even as recently as this past year, nazis have been brought to face trial for their crimes – perhaps Canada too should seek answers from the accused perpetrators of abuse at residential schools, churches etc.

  5. michellewilton234@gmail.com'
    Mich January 30, 2018 at 11:35 pm #

    why can’t us idigenous people go 10.5 million each why not we suffered just as much and more.

  6. michellewilton234@gmail.com'
    mich January 30, 2018 at 11:06 pm #

    Double slap in the face for 60’s scoop.and this 1 billion omg

  7. michellewilton234@gmail.com'
    Mich January 30, 2018 at 10:57 pm #

    1 billion and 60’s scoop get 750 million double slapped

  8. jean_malcolm@hotmail.com'
    Jean Malcolm January 30, 2018 at 8:09 pm #

    My mom suffered at Ninette in Manitoba. She had major surgery that left her frail and ill for the rest of her life. She died when she was 65 years old. That’s so sad plus, that had a significant impact on our family life.