A federal judge has approved a multimillion-dollar settlement for Indigenous people who were taken from their families and placed in non-Indigenous foster homes in the so-called ’60s Scoop.
Justice Michel Shore made the ruling in Saskatoon after two days of hearings in which survivors spoke for and against the proposal.
The settlement includes $750 million for the survivors, $50 million for an Indigenous healing foundation and $75 million for legal fees.
Last October, the federal government said the proposed settlement was for about 20,000 survivors who were moved between 1951 and 1991.
Shore says he will issue his reasons for his ruling in a month or longer.
Lawyer Tony Merchant, whose firm represents some of the victims, says most of the people affected by the ’60s Scoop want to move on with their lives.
“I’m very pleased…. I think it’s the right direction for Canada,” he said.
However, the decision didn’t sit well with many survivors who had come from across North America to testify. They say the outcome seemed pre-determined.
They noted Shore made multiple references promoting the settlement and its foundation during the hearing. They railed against the three-minute time limit they were given to testify. And Shore’s decision issued after only 60 minutes of deliberation was the final proof he wasn’t listening to anyone at the hearing, they said.
“Was this just to shut us up? There is no integrity in this process. Justice was not served,” said survivor Marlene Orgeron, a member of the Sapotaweyak Cree Nation in Manitoba who was adopted out to a family in New Orleans.
“I don’t feel I was heard. Our words just fell from the air.”
The Saskatoon Federal Court hearing was to grant approval for the national settlement. An Ontario hearing scheduled for the end of this month regarding claimants in part of that province will also be required for full implementation.
With files from CP and CBC