Forced AdoptionsPublished on 8 February 2017 Hansard and Statements by Senator Art Eggleton
Hon. Art Eggleton:
My question is to the Government Representative in the Senate. It’s a question I was going to ask yesterday of Minister Bennett, but I didn’t come up on the list.
I will start by saying that I congratulate you for the decision to bring justice to those who were victims of the Sixties Scoop. As she pointed out last week, it was a dark and painful chapter for indigenous people in our country.
Another dark and painful chapter with some similar characteristics occurring at about the same time was the issue of what has been called “forced adoptions” or the “baby scoop era.” This involved non-indigenous, unwed mothers who were scurried away from public view to tightly controlled and regimented religious maternity homes where they could dwell during pregnancy and then, in many cases, were coerced into putting their babies up for adoption. These institutions were funded by the federal and provincial governments. In Canada, it is estimated that 300,000 unmarried mothers were impacted by this adoption mandate from 1940 to 1970. An interesting statistic is that during that period of time, 96 per cent of the babies that were born were adopted. Today, in the case of unwed mothers, it’s 2 per cent.
For many, the trauma of that experience continues to haunt them to this day. Trying to find out what happened to their children also meets resistance. My question is: First, is your government willing to look into these matters, and second, who is the appropriate minister to handle this file?