General Synod to appeal residential school decision

Published December 1, 1999

The Anglican Church of Canada will appeal a B.C. Supreme Court decision that found the church liable for 60 per cent of the damages owed a student who was sexually abused at St. George’s Indian Residential School in Lytton, B.C. The decision to appeal was made by the officers of General Synod and announced at the Council of General Synod meeting in November.

In an interview, the council’s deputy prolocutor, Diane Brookes, said an independent legal opinion strongly advised the church to appeal. “We have already acted in our moral and Christian duty to support the plaintiff and this in no way affects that,” Mrs. Brookes said.

The church has paid its share of the undisclosed amount of damages to the plaintiff. Any money it gets back through appeal will come from the federal government, which was found 40 per cent liable.

George Cadman, chancellor of New Westminster, will argue the church’s appeal. He also argued the initial case.

Council’s prolocutor Archdeacon Rodney Andrews said, “I think it’s a fallacy to say, we’ll get a better lawyer and we’ll beat this thing. The courts are supposed to find the truth through their process.”

Concerns have been raised that an appeal might be seen as the church attempting to evade its responsibilities towards Natives. But Archdeacon Andrews said “this appeal is really based on a debate between the church and the government in our court of law and it has to be settled there.”


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