February 10, 2005

Feds hiring private eyes to check abuse claims

CBC Saskatchewan

Last Updated Feb 10 2005 08:38 AM CST
CBC News
OTTAWA The federal government is about to spend millions of dollars to send private investigators to check out the claims of former students who say they were abused at Indian residential schools.

Ottawa has issued a request for proposals from private investigators across the country, hoping to hire 21 firms to track down alleged abusers and people who may have witnessed physical and sexual abuse.

The project is designed to verify about 13,000 compensation claims that former students have filed against the federal government over its role in setting up and running the schools, starting in the early 1900s. More claims come from Saskatchewan than any other province.

"It's important that people do have the right to tell their side of the story," says Nicole Dauz, who is with the federal department handling residential school claims.

Until now, Dauz says, government staff have tried to verify the information presented by former students who are asking to be compensated for the suffering imposed on them as young children. Using private investigators should speed up the process, she says.

Aboriginal leaders and former students are outraged about the plan, which they say is both a waste of money and a provocative gesture that implies the government doesn't believe the abuse happened. ...

Under an agreement signed in 2003, the Anglican Church of Canada, which ran many of the schools, agreed to put $25 million into a compensation fund for victims.

Posted by kshaw at February 10, 2005 08:54 AM