Sixties Scoop means 'going through life not knowing who you are', Thunder Bay man says
William Campbell was adopted 3 times, left searching for his family
A man from Thunder Bay, who was part of what is known as the Sixties Scoop, says he's looking for a court ruling similar to the residential school settlement.
William Campbell is part of a $1.3-billion class action lawsuit heard Tuesday in an Ontario court.
It alleges as many as 16,000 Indigenous children were deliberately taken from their parents and placed with non-native families by Ontario child welfare officials in the 1960s, 70s and 80s.
- Sixties Scoop survivors recall painful memories in Ontario
- Thunder Bay man seeks accountability for lost childhood
"As we know with the residential school apology, most residential school survivors got $10,000," Campbell said. "I was adopted three times...having to go through life with nobody and not knowing who you are and where you came from is a detrimental, traumatizing event in a person's life."
Campbell said it took him 38 years to find his family at Beaverhouse First Nation, near Kirkland Lake, the same community where the lead plaintiff in the case, Marcia Brown Martel, is now chief.
By the time Campbell made it back home his parents had died but he was able to connect with other members of his family.
"It makes you feel more complete," he said of finding his relatives.
Still, the pain of his "stolen childhood" lingers and the court case drags on. It began seven years ago.
Canada has previously tried to have the case thrown out. Among other things, Ottawa argued it was acting in the best interests of the children and within the social norms of the day.
However, Divisional Court ruled in December 2014 that the plaintiffs deserved a chance to argue the merits of their position at trial.
The lawyer for the plaintiffs asked the court to decide the case based on the evidence already submitted, without the need for a full trial.
Those hearings began yesterday and are scheduled to resume for two days on Dec. 1.
"The Canadian government needs to wrap their heads around this," Campbell said. "It's time to put it to bed."