The Duplessis Orphans

What happens when an organisation is offered $0.70 per child per day for an orphan but $2.25 per child per day for a psychiatric patient ?

The Catholic Church faced such a situation in Quebec, Canada between the 1940s and 1960s and up to 20,000 orphans were misdiagnosed with psychiatric issues as a consequence. Some Catholic orphanages were re-labelled as ‘health-care facilities’ while other children were shipped from orphanages to existing insane asylums.

Many of the survivors have reported both physical and sexual abuse at the hands of some members of institutions and medical personnel. Survivors claim that children were routinely experimented on and that many died as a result and some have asked for an abandoned cemetery near the Cité de St-Jean-de-Dieu insane asylum, Montreal, to be excavated, remains exhumed and autopsies done.

I get a great deal of correspondence from abroad detailing many dark episodes in other countries but I try to stay focused on the issues here in the UK. Nevertheless I think the case of the Duplessis Orphans illustrates a fundamental and general point that everyone looking into historical abuse against children should bear in mind and that is that;

‘When children are allowed to become commodities there will always be those that will seek to exploit them.’



Filed under Abuse

10 responses to “The Duplessis Orphans

  1. paul

    Radio Ulster is doing a piece on kincora. Chris Ryder says there’s a cover up going on.

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  3. paul

    yes bbc radio ulster. bbc has a play again function usually,few hours or a day later. don’t know if this one can be replayed. talkback is the programmes name. started at 12 o’clock

    • dpack

      the phrase “cover up” in the context of what that can be broadly termed “kincora and related events” is an understatement .
      having started looking into such things(and to stay sane avoiding the details of who did what to which young man )my opinion is that the people involved in creating and using the situation and the activities they were/ARE involved with were/ARE part of a very big and very ugly pattern.

      getting payed more for a “crazy”kid than for a “orphan”kid sort of misses the fact that both are a “kid”who needs looking after .
      i spose it is an example of privatization of care services in action

  4. Sabre

    The joys of neo liberal laissez-faire capitalism can put a price on everything but values nothing.

    Confuses monetary price with human cost.

  5. dpack
    a very interesting discussion, those who appear to know most seem worried that the public need protecting from the consequences of full truth being exposed.
    i think i disagree and that the full truth is the only way to protect the public now and in the future.
    from the guests and callers i got the impression that both communities want the truth but those who seem to have the best understanding of the situation are afraid of the truth causing a major breakdown of society .