E-Petition for a Public Apology to the British Home Children

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On March 30, 2016, the British Home Child Group International initiated petition e-257 to the House of Commons asking for a public apology to the British Home Children of Canada and their Descendants. The petition reads as follows.

Whereas:

  • Over 100,000 British Home Children/Child Migrants, were systemically relocated from their British homeland to Canada, in order to indenture them as farm labourers and domestics as part of an unjust immigration policy;
  • These vulnerable British Home Children were severed from their families, many were physically and/or mentally harmed, and were stigmatized by Canadian communities meant to foster them;
  • Many descendants are unaware of this part of their heritage or are actively searching for the family they have been deprived of;
  • The Governments of Australia and the United Kingdom have issued formal apologies for their involvement in this child migrant scheme; and
  • Elderly yet surviving Home Children and the estimated four million Canadian descendants of Home Children deserve the same recognition in the form of a formal apology from the Canadian government.

We, the undersigned, Citizens and Residents of Canada, call upon the House of Commons to Issue an unequivocal, sincere and public apology to the elderly yet living British Home Children and all the descendants of Home Children. We seek this apology in order to acknowledge that this child migrant scheme is an important part of Canadian history and to recognize that it is a legacy that has roots in the harm and displacement of thousands of vulnerable children. An apology would ensure a higher profile for British Home Children, thus enabling the education of the public. An apology would help to heal the wounds of separated families and providing a chance for more people to discover their family history within the context of a proud Canadian culture.

The petition is sponsored by July A. Sgro, Liberal MP for Humber River – Black Creek and is open for signature between 30 March 2016 at 11:27 AM EDT and 28 July 2016 at 11:27 AM EDT.

Anyone interested in signing the petition can do so on the Parliament of Canada website. To add your name, simply click on the ‘Sign the Petition’ button to sign the petition, fill in your contact information and don’t forget to respond to the verification email by clicking on the link provided.

Image Credits: Isaac Erb. Library and Archives Canada, PA-041785

Barbara J Starmans is a social historian, freelance writer and obsessed genealogist living in Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada and has been doing genealogical research for the past 35 years. She is a graduate of the National Institute for Genealogical Studies in Toronto, Canada with professional learning certificates in General Methodology and in English Records and recently become an instructor for them with an intermediate course on Social History.

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