Rejected residential school claim ‘appalling,’ highlights pattern, says NDP MP

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OTTAWA — A woman who alleges she was raped at age 15 while being transported to a residential school has had her settlement claim rejected a fourth time — a case New Democrat MP Charlie Angus says highlights major gaps in the settlement agreement for survivors.

The woman, whose identity is protected by the process, alleges she was picked up from her reserve in 1971 by a man who worked for the federal Department of Indian Affairs, as it was then called, to take her to St. Michael’s residential school in Duck Lake, Sask.

She says that he raped her while they were on their way to the school, about 85 kilometres northeast of Saskatoon.

Last week, a B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled her claim falls outside the scope of the Indian residential schools settlement agreement, because the woman was not yet enrolled at the school at the time of the alleged sexual assault, and because the accused was not an employee there.

In so doing, the judge upheld three earlier rulings that came to the same conclusion.

Angus called the case “appalling,” saying he believes it’s part of a pattern of tactics used to block some residential school survivors from receiving compensation, and called on Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett to intervene.

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