Nipawin - Sunday, July 29, 2001 - by: Mario deSantis


Our governments measure our standard of living with the dollar numbers produced by the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Our federal government and churches set up Indian residential schools and destroyed children's lives, yet the establishment of these predatory schools increased the GDP and provided an addition to our standard of living.




It is difficult to struggle against the demented mentality of our current leaders, and this struggle becomes more difficult as our justice system put money before people's lives. Take the case of the recent judgement provided by Chief Justice Donald Brenner of the B.C. Supreme Court between seven former students of an Indian residential school versus the government, the United Church and former dormitory supervisor Arthur Plint. In handing down the judgement, Justice Brenner took into consideration the B.C.'s Limitations Act and restricted his judgement to claims of sexual abuse for which there is no time limit.




Arthur Plint was found guilty of pedophile acts, the government and church were ordered to pay a total of $410,000 to six victims while the claim of a seventh was rejected. Justice Brenner explained


"My task is to set an award of damages sufficient to compensate the plaintiffs for the differences between the way their lives would have been... and the way their lives have been, given the additional, but by no means insubstantial, fact of the sexual assaults."



culture of

Therefore, the $410,000 award reflected the fact that the plaintiffs grew up already in a culture of alcohol abuse and violence before attending school. Further, Justice Brenner rejected the plaintiffs' claims that the government and the church were negligent and breached their duty to care for the children and concluded

no one

that the authorities were not aware of Mr. Plint's actions. In the atmosphere of the time, no one talked, no one suspected.




I doubt that the government and church were not aware of the abuses going on in the residential school. In fact, the magnitude of the abuses can be put in a proper perspective when to day there are some 7,500 lawsuits from former residential students and there are reasonable speculations that some 25% of all native students who attended these residential schools have been abused by the schools' administration and their employees.




No, I don't trust Chief Justice Brenner's conclusions and my conclusion is that in the atmosphere of the time, no one talked, and everyone suspected.
  Seeking residential school justice, by William Johnson, July 28, 2001, The Globe and Mail
  B.C. judge limits residential school sexual-abuse award, by Robert Matas, July 13, 2001, The Globe and Mail
  Provincial Residential School Project outraged by BC Supreme Court ruling Canada NewsWire, July 12, 2001