Canada

Duplessis orphans accept offer

The Duplessis orphans have accepted an offer of compensation from the Quebec government.

The orphans say the money the government has offered is not enough but they also say it's time to put the dispute behind them.

The orphans were often physically and psychologically abused in church-run institutions during the government of former premier Maurice Duplessis in the 1940's and 50's. Many had been falsely declared as mentally challenged so the province could receive federal funds.

Each will receive a 10-thousand dollar payment plus a thousand dollars for each year they were wrongly confined to an institution.The settlement works out to an average of 25-thousand dollars per surviving orphan.They had asked for twice that amount.

Bruno Roy is a Duplessis orphan and head of the group's committee. He says they're tired of fighting.

"I think," he said, "they can now get on with their lives."

The deal also absolves the Catholic church of any financial responsibility towards the orphans. Their lawyer, Yves Lauzon says that's a bitter pill to swallow:

"This has been extremely tough," Lauzon says, "because the orphans don't understand why they should release the church, if they don't get anything from them."

Lauzon says the orphans will still press the church for an apology. And he says they want the church to come up with some money - to increase the amount of compensation each orphan will receive.

now