The Duplessis Orphans http://youtu.be/qf3fDN3cuns



‘Even by the standards of mid-twentieth century Canada, when discrimination was rampant and governments’ restricted fundamental freedoms, Maurice Duplessis stands out. His tenure as Premier of Quebec (1936-1939, 1944-1959) is referred to as Le Grande Noirceur. By the 1950s Duplessis had become associated with some of the worst instances of state abuse of civil liberties in Canadian history. One of these policies is known as “Duplessis’ orphans.”’ – http://www.historyofrights.com/Issues/orphans.html

“The Duplessis Orphans’ scandal raises several human rights issues. From a human rights perspective, children occupy a unique place. As Micheline Dumont suggests “‘les enfants de Duplessis’, est passé du statut le plus ingrat de la société, parias sans existence légale qu’on dissimulait soigneusement derrière les murs d’institutions gigantesques, à celui de personnes lésées dans leurs droits fondamentaux. Dans notre nouvelle société de droits, ce statut confère une notoriété certaine. (484)”. Many of them were disabled and poorly treated, and most suffered from discrimination later in life. Beginning in the 1970s, several provinces introduced legislation to recognize children’s rights. Quebec’s Youth Protection Act of 1977, for instance, guaranteed youths the right to be consulted about switching foster care parents and to consult a lawyer before judicial proceedings, while the Ontario Child Welfare Act of 1978 protected the privacy of adopted children. And yet, only children and prisoners are denied the same fundamental rights (e.g. voting or mobility or contract) as other human beings. They are, in this way, uniquely vulnerable to human rights abuses. The case of Duplessis’ Orphans exemplifies their vulnerability.”- http://www.historyofrights.com/Issues/orphans.html


More to come

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