Canada Class action suit says Canada used Indigenous people as medical 'guinea pigs'

06:55  10 may  2018
06:55  10 may  2018 Source:   cbc.ca

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a broken window on the side of a building: Merchant Law Group filed the suit last week in the Court of Queen's Bench for Saskatchewan on behalf of John Pambrun, a resident of Lestock, Sask., and one of thousands of children the suit claims were mistreated.© Guy Quenneville/CBC Merchant Law Group filed the suit last week in the Court of Queen's Bench for Saskatchewan on behalf of John Pambrun, a resident of Lestock, Sask., and one of thousands of children the suit claims were mistreated.

A Saskatchewan man has launched a class-action lawsuit alleging the federal government is responsible for experiments and the inadequate medical treatment of residential school students and Indigenous patients at hospitals and sanatoriums across the country.

Merchant Law Group filed the suit last week in the Court of Queen's Bench for Saskatchewan on behalf of John Pambrun, a resident of Lestock, Sask. and one of thousands of children the suit claims were mistreated.

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Numerous books and articles point out how Indigenous peoples were starved off their land and onto reserves and later used as guinea pigs for malnourishment experiments by the government of Canada .

Tony Merchant, the principal at Regina-based Merchant Law group, says the suit ties together experiences affecting thousands of Indigenous people in Canada.

"Canada treated Registered Indian and Inuit children as guinea pigs, rats, objects of experiments, owned property, lesser human beings, the possession of Canada to do with them as Canada might choose," according to the suit.

The suit has not been tested in court.

This is not the first time such a suit has been filed in Canada. In January, two Canadian law firms filed a $1.1-billion class-action lawsuit on behalf of former patients of 29 segregated hospitals operated across the country by the federal government between 1945 and the early 1980s.

Man had part of lung removed: suit

Pambrun spent more than five years in hospitals and sanatoriums, including the Saskatoon Sanitorium, from the ages of eight to 15, the latest suit says.

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According to the statement of claim, doctors at the Saskatoon Sanitorium removed part of Pambrun's right lung in 1955  as a treatment for tuberculosis, even though tests had revealed he did not have TB and despite antibiotics having become "the standard treatment for tuberculosis."

The experience has left Pambrun with breathing problems that affected his experience of life and limited his employment options, Merchant told CBC News Wednesday.

Ear and nutrition experiments

The suit also alleges nutritional experiments were carried out on students, without their consent, at residential schools in B.C., Ontario, Alberta and Nova Scotia.

Another 165 students from Cecilia Jeffrey School in Kenora, Ont., were used to test an experimental drug on children with ear problems, with some suffering significant hearing loss, according to the suit.

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