*NEWSFLASH* Canada won't apologize to British home children
Written by Gloria Galloway Monday, 16 November 2009 18:09Ottawa — With a report from the Associated Press Published on Monday, Nov. 16, 2009 12:00AM EST
Courtesy of The Globe and Mail National
Elsie Hathaway is glad that Britain will apologize for sending her and other poor children to former colonies, including Canada, to work as servants in homes and institutions where many became victims of abuse.
Now Ms. Hathaway, 93, of Plaster Rock, N.B., would like to hear a few remorseful words from her own Canadian government.
"There's a lot of things that they should have done that they didn't do," she said yesterday in a telephone interview. "They sent us over here thinking we were going to be used good when we weren't."
The British government said yesterday that Prime Minister Gordon Brown would apologize for the child migrant programs that, for centuries, sent poor boys and girls as young as 3 to Australia, Canada and other countries. Many of the estimated 150,000 young émigrés ended up being physically and sexually abused.
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd will offer his own apology to the children and their descendants today at a ceremony in Canberra.
But, in Canada, where more than 100,000 of the children arrived between 1869 and the early 1930s, the government has no similar plans.
"It goes without saying that the treatment of these individuals, their experience in Australia, was different to that in Canada," Alykhan Velshi, a spokesman for Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, said yesterday. "As a result, there has not been a widespread call among Canadian descendants of British home children for an apology."
However, said Mr. Velshi, there has been a request for greater commemoration of their experiences. Conservative MP Phil McColeman of the Brant riding west of Hamilton has introduced a motion that would see 2010 designated as the Year of the British Home Child across Canada. That is a initiative that Mr. Kenney personally supports, Mr. Velshi said.
Ms. Hathaway's parents died when she was 2. She was sent to Canada when she was 6 and her older brother was 10. The two children were quickly separated.
She was required to do housework before and after school and on weekends. "It was hard and it was lonesome," Ms. Hathaway said.
And her requests that she be permitted to write to her brother were refused. But, 12 years after the children were separated, an itinerant worker mentioned that he knew a boy with her last name. That led to a long-awaited reunification.
Ms. Hathaway is a proud Canadian and went on to live a happy life, giving birth to a large and loving family of seven children.
(Emphasis added by BHCD.)