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Government apology to Sons of Freedom children postponed

The provincial government’s apology to surviving Sons of Freedom Doukhobor children sent to residential school in the 1950s has been postponed, probably to the new year.

It was originally expected to happen today. According to an invitation issued to those survivors, Premier David Eby was to deliver a statement in the BC Legislature “formally apologizing for historic wrongs to the Doukhobor community in BC. The premier will also announce significant investments in the community, and a subsequent apology in community will be scheduled in the new year.”

However, shortly before the legislature was to convene, the assistant deputy minister for multiculturalism, Haiqa Cheema, wrote that the apology has been delayed to allow more time for community members to be present at the legislature to witness it.

“It is important for Premier Eby that we do this right,” she said.

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The apology was signalled in a response to the BC Ombudsperson’s office, who issued a follow up report this year to a 1999 call for an apology and compensation.

About 200 children were sent to New Denver between 1953 and 1959.

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