Alberta backs down on sterilization compensation

Public outcry has forced the Alberta government to withdraw a bill that would've removed Charter rights for hundreds of victims of forced sterilization.

Premier Ralph Klein's government caused an uproar on Tuesday, with their treatment of 2,800 people who were sterilized without their consent between 1927 and 1972.

When the government introduced Bill 26, the province used the notwithstanding clause to limit compensation to $150,000.

Now, Justice Minister Jon Havelock says the 700 surviving victims will retain the right to sue the province for damages.

Havelock says the government will attempt to negotiate out-of-court settlements with as many victims as possible.

Government members were flooded with angry phone calls over the proposed bill.

Premier Ralph Klein had said the bill was needed to protect taxpayers from lawsuits that could cost up to $760 million.

Two years ago Leilani Muir received a total of $1 million in damages, interest and costs after winning her lawsuit in 1996.