February 1, 2016 12:31 pm

Lawsuit over N.L. residential schools paused as Ottawa seeks settlement

Residential school survivor Lorna Standingready is comforted by a fellow survivor during the closing ceremony of the Indian Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission, at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Wednesday, June 3, 2015.

Sean Kilpatrick/ The Canadian Press
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JOHN’S, N.L. – The federal government is attempting to settle a lawsuit from more than 1,200 Metis, Inuit and Innu plaintiffs seeking an apology and damages for abuse and cultural losses at residential schools in Newfoundland and Labrador.

MORE: Many left out of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation

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The lawsuit was adjourned Monday morning as opposing lawyers meet Tuesday with a retired judge in an effort to settle the case.

If no agreement is reached, the federal lawyers will begin their defense arguments on Feb. 29. The suit alleges both sexual and physical abuse.

The plaintiffs’ lawyer said the settlement efforts reflect a dramatic shift in attitude following the change of government in Ottawa.

Many of the plaintiffs were devastated to find they were excluded from then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s apology in 2008 and a related compensation package for rampant abuse at Indian residential schools.

MORE: ‘I was very broken’: Newfoundland and Labrador residential school survivors seek compensation

Lawyers for the federal government deny it was responsible for institutions that opened before the province joined Confederation in 1949.

© 2016 The Canadian Press

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