Last Updated: Tuesday - 01/04/2011
October 8, 2001
Oblates welcome ruling in residential school cases
CANADIAN CATHOLIC NEWS
OTTAWA — The Oblates of Manitoba are pleased with a Manitoba Court of Appeal ruling that allowed the use of the statute of limitations on actions by two former residential school students.
The judgment will also apply to the majority of residential school claims in Manitoba.
"The decision of the Court of Appeal appears to confirm our view that the court system is not the proper forum for the resolution of these claims," said the Oblates of Manitoba in a statement Sept. 27.
The court's ruling Sept. 26 overturned a lower court decision that allowed residential school lawsuits to be heard despite the statue of limitations.
The Court of Appeal ruled, however, that claims by former residential school students must have been filed with the courts no later than 30 years after the claimants last attended the schools.
"If a point in time is reached when evidence becomes too unreliable to form a sound basis for adjudication, a limitation period should prevent the claim from being adjudicated at all," said the appeal court.
The statement by the Manitoba Oblates said they do not condone or excuse abusive conduct.
However, "because some of these allegations date back more than 70 years, and because the allegations relate to the conduct of deceased or unidentified persons, the Oblates of Manitoba find themselves unable to validate the allegations and deal with them accordingly," they said.
"The Oblates of Manitoba have always been of the view that, for the claimants in particular, the courts were not the appropriate forums in which to deal with grievances relating to the residential schools," said the statement.
"We have consistently advocated and pursued a conciliatory and non-judicial approach to the resolution of these issues."
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