Thunder Bay

No new apology for residential school experiments

The federal government will not issue a new apology after revelations that children in residential schools endured medical experiments, according to Conservative MP Greg Rickford.

Conservative MP says 2008 apology covers everything that happened at residential school

Government will not issue new apology for medical experiments 2:37

The government will not issue a new apology after revelations that children in residential schools endured medical experiments, according to Conservative MP Greg Rickford.

Rickford's Kenora, Ont. riding is home to the former Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential school, where newly released documents show children were subjected to experimental treatment for ear infections, in addition to the nutrional and dental experiments recently highlighted by a food historian.

News reports this summer mark the first time many survivors learned the extent to which they had been subjected to experimentation.

But Rickford told CBC News the residential school settlement agreement and the 2008 apology from the federal government covered everything that happened at residential school.

Students at the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School in Kenora were the subject of nutritional experiments and exposed to experimental treatments for ear infections. Some became deaf. (The Presbyterian Church in Canada Archives)

Rickford worked as a lawyer, representing more than 900 survivors in the Kenora area, before going into politics.

"The apology itself that the Prime Minister made looked at the Indian Residential School as a dark chapter in Canada's history, it included a number of activities that were regrettable, unfortunate, and for which an apology accounts for that," Rickford said.

"But more, or as importantly, that we live up to the agreements that all parties came to the courts with, avoided litigation and were satisfied at that time."

But some survivors are not satisfied.

Richard Green attended Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School for nine years.

He said the new revelations of medical experiments are troubling for survivors, especially those who have already gone through the compensation process, not knowing they were subjected to medical experimentation in addition to other abuses.

"I think the problem is that the onus is still on the children to remember all these events when they're four, five, six, seven years old," Green said.