Sixties Scoop adoptees head across Canada to try to scuttle $800M settlement
Group has 500 of 2,000 signatures needed to stop settlement from going ahead
Sixties Scoop adoptees who are trying to scuttle a proposed $800-million settlement plan to visit cities across Canada to gather signatures before a May court date.
The group needs 2,000 signatures to scuttle the settlement, which could see payouts of between $25,000 and $50,000 for each claimant.
The national settlement is also expected to put an end to most of the 18 related lawsuits that are currently active.
But the Manitoba Sixties Scoop Survivors Association opposes the settlement, saying there are multiple issues with the settlement, including high lawyer fees, too-small payouts and a lack of consultation.
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"Why should lawyers get rich on the backs of our pain and suffering," said Coleen Rajotte, the president of the association. "This is not good enough. Not good enough in any way, shape or form."
Rajotte said on April 2, the association will head to Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon, North Battleford and several northern Manitoba communities to get signatures before presenting them in court on May 19.
Rajotte said they want to see a new process with a renegotiated settlement that includes capped lawyers' fees.
"We want a process similar to what residential school survivors got," she said. "This agreement only covers cultural loss and adoptees should be compensated for physical and sexual abuse. We just want to have a say in how this is all done."
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The disagreement over whether or not people should sign a petition to scuttle the proposed deal led to the cancellation of a rally on Friday.
Sixties Scoop survivors were scheduled to rally in cities across the country, but Winnipeg's march and rally were cancelled after about 30 people had gathered.
Organizer Connie Calderwood said they cancelled due to disagreements over the settlement, but she hoped the event wouldn't be tied to accepting the settlement or not.
"Today was supposed to be about solidarity. We were wearing our purple ribbons," she said. "They said, 'We don't want to walk. There's no point in walking.' "
Calderwood supports the deal.
"You're looking at possibly another 10 years? We're getting old. It's not about the money to me. I want to start healing in my life," she said. "I want everything to be over with."