Manitoba apologizes to 'lost boys'
The Manitoba government has issued an apology to the so-called "lost boys," a number of men who suffered emotional abuse as juveniles at a government-run group home in the 1970s and '80s.
"The emotional harm done to some residents of the group home must be recognized and we agree with the conclusion the province must offer a process for healing that will address their individual needs," Family Services Minister Gord Mackintosh said in a statement released on Thursday.
"On behalf of the Province of Manitoba, an apology is extended to those harmed by their residency at the Cathedral Valley Group Home."
The home, which operated between 1971 and 1983 in Grandview, Man., housed many boys considered to be delinquents. Others were placed there by parents or child-welfare authorities.
The apology from Mackintosh came on the same day the province released a report into the home's operations by former provincial ombudsman Barry Tuckett.
A review by Tuckett determined some youths who attended the group home were emotionally harmed by the strict militaristic "one-size-fits-all" operation style of the facility.
Discipline at the was at times excessive but some people did benefit from the environment and there was no systematic abuse or exploitation, Tuckett's report stated.
The government commissioned the review after a former group home resident, Sam McGillivray, camped out on the grounds of the legislature in June 2008 to protest his treatment, which he said included being beaten and being forced to work long hours as a farm labourer.
The report was based on a review of 21 resident files, interviews with nine former residents, 15 teachers and 28 former probation officers, as well as neighbours, community members and child-welfare workers.
In his statement on Thursday, Mackintosh said the province will adopt the report's recommendations, including setting up healing plans for at least a half dozen of the former residents.
The home's former residents will be offered counselling, but no compensation, Mackintosh said, adding that former residents will be notified of the healing plans by letter.
Grandview is about 370 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg.