Feds withholding evidence of abuse in residential schools, lawyer says.
A lawyer says she's being denied access to documents that would support the abuse claims of former residential school students in northeast Ontario, and she said her clients are losing faith in the justice system.
Faye Brunning represents former students of Ste. Anne's Residential School in Fort Albany, Ont., and of Bishop Horden Memorial School in Moose Factory, Ont.
She said the government is not playing fair in the latest round of civil claims stemming from the Truth and Reconciliation Commision process.
Brunning said documents from a criminal investigation into residential school abuse from the nineties would corroborate many of her clients' claims.
But, she said, the federal government refuses to give her access to them.
"So, for the people who came forward, and had the courage to tell the police, and who did it in good faith, provided all that. None of it's coming forward, and every person instead goes forward into these hearings without the benefit of any corroborating evidence that might exist in even their own case.
The NDP MP for the area, Charlie Angus, said he's written to the department of Aboriginal Affairs, and appealed to Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt to release the documents.
"The fact that the federal government would be sitting on evidence of the actual physical torture of children, is, I find, appalling," Angus said.
A spokesperson with Valcourt's office said they haven't received any correspondence from Angus yet.
However, his press secretary said the government takes its obligations under the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement seriously, and will continue to ensure those obligations are met.