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Ombudsperson welcomes Premier’s apology to Doukhobors and commitment to work with community on compensation package

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Victoria – BC’s Ombudsperson is pleased government has finally apologized for the detention of Doukhobor children in the 1950s and welcomed the Premier’s commitment to further work with the Doukhobor community on the compensation package.

Earlier today, Premier David Eby, apologized in the legislature on behalf of government to members of the Doukhobor community who were confined at the direction of the provincial government in a former tuberculosis sanatorium in New Denver, BC in the 1950s. Their parents, Sons of Freedom Doukhobors, were protesting government regulation and their children became the innocent victims of government’s response to those protests.

“Today’s apology finally, 70 years after these tragic events, is a meaningful and essential step forward,” said BC Ombudsperson, Jay Chalke. “I appreciate this government doing what so many previous governments were unwilling to do.”

“However, there is more to do. The Doukhobor community deserves a meaningful commitment from government to right this long-standing wrong and trauma that continues to this day. That’s why I remain frustrated that the individual compensation our office has been recommending for more than 20 years, has still not been clearly promised,” said Chalke. “I welcome the Premier’s commitment in the legislature today to work with the Doukhobor community to, as he said, ‘make this right’ and I call on him to give priority to individual compensation. Such compensation would allow survivors and their families to, in the Premier’s words, ‘access the support they need, however it looks’ to support their healing.”

The Office of the Ombudsperson will continue to hold government to account as it follows through on the Premier’s commitments.

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