Residential school victims lose document fight Appeal Court sides with Ottawa

first_imgTORONTO – Survivors of the notorious St. Anne’s residential school have no right to documents they argued were crucial to compensating them for the horrific abuses they suffered, Ontario’s top court has ruled.In rejecting a trio of interrelated appeals, the Court of Appeal found no reason to interfere with a lower court decision that sided with the Canadian government’s view the documents should be kept secret.The materials in question were generated during 62 lawsuits filed between 2000 and 2003 by 154 Indigenous children over the physical and sexual abuse they suffered at St. Anne’s in Fort Albany, Ont.The appellants argued the documents should have been available to bolster compensation claims under a process set up as part of the settlement of a class action over the Indian residential school system.Two of the appellants — a man known as H-15019 and a woman known as K-10106 — were both initially denied compensation but both succeeded after a legal fight and reviews.H-15019, who was ultimately awarded $183,556, argued the difficulties he had in advancing his claim arose because of the government’s failure to disclose all relevant documents it had, and that other claimants might have run into the same issue.However, in its decision this week, the Appeal Court agreed the claimant had no direct tie to the civil litigation materials and the government, therefore, was not obliged to turn them over.“The discovery evidence at issue was obtained in 62 distinct civil actions,” the Appeal Court said. “H-15019 was not a plaintiff in any of (them).”In various lower court rulings over the past several years, Superior Court of Justice Paul Perell found the Canadian government had not acted in bad faith by failing to meet its obligations to turn over documents related to criminal proceedings that flowed from the St. Anne’s abuse.“Nor did he make any finding of reprehensible, scandalous or outrageous conduct on the part of Canada,” the Appeal Court noted.While Canada did eventually hand over the criminal-related documents, it argued it had no obligation to disclose transcripts and other civil-litigation materials on the basis the information was subject to confidentiality rules. Both Perell and the Appeal Court agreed.The second appellant, K-10106, alleged her former lawyers had represented the Roman Catholic Church, which ran St. Anne’s during the civil actions, but failed to reveal the connection or that they knew relevant documents existed. She and the third appellant, Edmund Metatawabin, wanted Perell to issue an order the government argued would have essentially reopened the entire compensation process.Metatawabin, a former chief of the Fort Albany First Nation and St. Anne’s survivor, never applied for compensation but has been active in the various legal proceedings.Perell, however, found he didn’t have the right to do what was being asked of him. The Appeal Court again agreed with him.While Perell’s ruling might not have been perfect, the Appeal Court agreed that he simply didn’t have the authority to grant the requested relief.“In particular, he found that there is no basis to believe that the absence of the documents affected the outcome of her claim,” the Appeal Court ruled. “K-10106 was successful and received a substantial award.”St. Anne’s, which the plaintiffs described as a “veritable house of horrors” where generations of Indigenous children suffered “unspeakable physical and sexual abuses,” has long been the subject of criminal and civil proceedings. Courts in Ontario and British Columbia have issued about 20 separate decisions and endorsements related to the compensation process involving the now-defunct school.last_img read more

Selfdriving sailbot returns home to Vancouver after being lost at sea

first_imgVANCOUVER – She lost her sail and has a few scratches, but a robotic sailboat has returned home in relatively good condition after being lost at sea.The self-navigating “sailbot” — a 5.5-metre solar-powered vessel — was rescued off the coast of Florida in December and has now returned to Vancouver.Team captain Serena Ramley said the University of British Columbia students, who spent years designing the vessel, never gave up hope for its return.“We know it’s a very big ocean, but the currents would have to lead her to land somewhere, whether it’s North America, South America, Europe or Africa,” she said.The group is just glad the boat landed on the right continent, she said.The team spent years designing and building the sailbot, named Ada, for mathematician Ada Lovelace. As a multi-year project, it involved several different groups of students and hundreds have had their hand in engineering the vessel.The sailboat departed for Ireland from St. John’s, Nfld. on what should have been a three-week journey in August 2016. It fared well in the coastal region, but fell into trouble just days after leaving port, about 700 kilometres offshore, Ramley said.It went “offline” about 1,200 kilometres out, when the team believes heavy wind and waves knocked the boat’s rig down, taking most of the sensors with it.A research vessel came across the boat in December 2017 and it arrived back in Vancouver about two weeks ago.“It’s pretty amazing to see her back. The moment she arrived, it was very early in the morning and we all had classes, so I was the only one there. But everyone trickled in when they could,” Ramley said.“It was really amazing to see the state she’s in — she travelled right through some hurricanes.”The boat’s hull remained fully intact, despite some large scrapes down to the carbon fibre. Despite not reaching its destination, Ada set a record for the farthest distance sailed by an autonomous boat across the Atlantic, according to UBC.The team now plans to study the boat to pick up lessons for the next project.They’re aiming to enter a sailbot in the 3,714-kilometre Victoria to Maui International Yacht Race in 2019 or 2020.“It’s a race normally done by human sailors, we’ve been in contact with some people who have done it before. Once we finish making Ada 2.0, we’ll test her in some high winds off the coast of Vancouver Island,” Ramley said.“Because it’s an extra-curricular project, we aren’t sticking rigidly to an exact date, but we’re aiming for 2019 or 2020.”last_img read more