Opposition calls for public inquiry into Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children
Published Thursday, November 8, 2012 6:29PM AST
Last Updated Thursday, November 8, 2012 6:34PM AST
The calls for a public inquiry into allegations of abuse at the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children made their way onto the floor of the provincial legislature Thursday.
However, despite questions from the Opposition, the provincial government isn’t changing its stance on the issue.
“Mr. Speaker, with every passing day we hear of more tragedies and allegations out of the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children,” said Nova Scotia Liberal Leader Stephen McNeil.
McNeil tried three times to have Premier Darrell Dexter answer the call for a public inquiry into the allegations at the home.
“We can be the generation, Mr. Speaker, that shows compassion to these Nova Scotians who have been waiting for it,” said McNeil.
“There is only one person, though, who can call for a public inquiry.”
More than 100 former residents are taking part of a proposed class action lawsuit alleging years of neglect as well as physical, mental and sexual abuse in the home.
A criminal investigation is also underway.
“Those are the very hallmarks of the system of justice that we live in,” said Dexter.
“I believe that we ought to allow that to run its course and then we can decide whether or not it is appropriate that further inquiry is needed.”
Conservative Leader Jamie Baillie is also asking the premier to consider a public inquiry.
“Maybe the government is listening to too many lawyers and not enough people who care about these things, and who want to know that we’re helping those people that still need help, get the help they need, and also learning the lessons and preventing it from happening again,” said Baillie.
Even the minister of African Nova Scotian Affairs is being careful about how he addresses the situation.
Percy Paris says he is currently seeking legal advice.
“I think it’s important for me as a minister of the Crown to get appropriate legal advice as to what I can and what I cannot do.”
Parissays the issue is an emotional one as he knows several formal residents and staff. He was also on the board of the home in the 1990s, although he says he wasn’t aware of the allegations at the time.
He is also not commenting on whether a public inquiry should be called.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Jacqueline Foster