A dark history revealed
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of CBC News (Canada's Public Broadcasting Network)
Posted: May 3rd, 2010
During the reign of Quebec Premier Maurice Duplessis in the 1940s and 1950s, an alarming number of healthy children living in sanctuaries were hastily diagnosed as mentally incompetent, psychotic patients. The diagnoses were always swift the children went to bed orphans and woke up psychiatric patients. The reason? Shrewd fiscal planning; federal subsidies paid out more to hospitals than to orphanages. Some children allegedly endured lobotomies, electroshock, straitjackets and abuse. For the rest of their lives they would struggle to bring attention to their story and demand compensation. They called themselves the Duplessis Orphans. Born out of wedlock and deemed "children of sin," [these] thousands of Quebec children were cut off from society and sent to orphanages during the 1940s and 1950s. Many were improperly diagnosed as mentally incompetent. The diagnosis would be a lifelong sentence; the orphans endured a difficult and sometimes abusive childhood. Fifty years later, the orphans who are now in their 40s and 50s have organized and are seeking compensation.