Others have far better words than I do – suffice it to say that this means so much to thousands of us. As Andrew Simpson described it, this is ‘The apology that matters’.
Andrew’s blog has an interesting article about the apology, as well as several posts about the British Home Children.
You can also hear Gordon Brown’s apology here. The Australian Prime Minister had also apologised.
Last month, we heard an apology from the Canadian Government. It must be acknowledged that there are many people who worked hard to achieve this, and I would especially thank Lori Oschefski and the BHC Advocacy Group for all of their efforts.
This is a copy of a Recent post in the BHC digest:
After years of efforts on behalf of many persons, group and Members of
Parliament, the House of Commons issued an apology to the BHC on Thursday
February 16 2017.
This article appears in the Orillia Packet and Times Feb 22 2017 which
Motion passed in House of Commons acknowledges suffering of British Home
By Mehreen Shahid, Orillia Packet & Times
Tuesday, February 21, 2017 6:18:15 EST PM
It’s never too late to apologize — as demonstrated Thursday by parliament
In a motion unanimously passed by members of the House of Commons, Bloc
Quebecois MP Luc Theriault called on the House to recognize the injustice,
abuse and suffering endured by the British Home Children (BHC) as well as
the efforts, participation and contributions of these children and their
descendants within the Canadian communities.
“I think it’s an absolutely incredible achievement to have this recognition
from the House of Commons about the British Home Children and the suffering
that a lot of them endured in Canada,” said Lori Oschefski, CEO of British
Home Children Advocacy and Research Association.
“We have over four million descendants of British Home Children, so it’s a
huge part of the population,” said the Orillia resident.
Oschefski is aware of the effects of the campaign, that lasted from 1869 to
1948, had from what she has learned through her grandfather’s life as one
of the 100,000 children brought to Canada.
“For the most part, for most of the children, they were taken away from
their families and their country,” said Oschefski. “A lot of these kids
were in care in institutions, but they weren’t necessarily living within
their family unit. Sending them to a different country moved them so far
out of the perimeter of their family that most of them never reconnected
with their families.”
Not only is the apology warranted for the home children because of the
fracturing of their family unit, said Oschefski, but it was also needed
because the Canadian government made no moves to protect the children.
“They didn’t put in any legislation to oversee these children and they were
left at the mercy of the farmers and citizens,” she said, adding that some
were made to sleep in barns and treated as lesser beings.
Th?riault said he understands the situation well since he, too, grew up in
a poor area of south-central Montreal.
For his part, Theriault said the well-being of children is a universal
issue that should never be overshadowed or overtaken by partisanship.
He said children from poor families, who were taken from their families and
deported at a young age were often mistreated, abused and exploited for
“It’s time to acknowledge that and apologize,” he said, noting that to
ensure that would happen he decided to approach MPs from each party
beforehand, including members from the governing Liberals, so the motion
would be passed unanimously.
“This Parliament, this House, is sometimes able to establish a consensus
when partisanship stays in the locker room.”
The motion was based on work done by Liberal MP, Humber River-Black Creek
riding, Judy A. Sgro, who also seconded it along with Conservative MP Mark
Strahl, of Chilliwack–Hope riding in British Columbia and Green Party MP
Elizabeth May, from the Saanich–Gulf Islands riding, B.C.
For more information, visit britishhomechildren.com.
We can’t undo anything that’s been done.
Not every child suffered under the scheme.
We can remember them, apologise to those still living and descendants of the rest, and make sure that we don’t allow this sort of thing to happen ever again.