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Brian GiesbrechtA staggering amount of money is being gobbled up by the victim industry in Canada.

The Globe and Mail reported on Aug, 17, 2018, that different factions of lawyers involved in what’s termed the ’60s Scoop class action suit are squabbling over $75 million in fees up for grabs for the work they claim to have done.

Recall that recently, various groups of the claimants were in court arguing that the approximately $750 million that a compliant federal government agreed to pay them wasn’t enough.

Recall as well that as compensation for work they claimed to have done on the residential school file, one Saskatchewan law firm alone put in an enormous claim that was subsequently whittled down to $50 million.

The total legal fees for all law firms that represented adults who attended residential schools as children is not known, but the number is very large. Every such adult was compensated richly.

It’s not yet known how many people will receive compensation as a result of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, or what the sums the lawyers and others who managed to get themselves on that boondoggle will be. Don’t expect the amount to be small.

The taxpayer is on the hook for all of these payouts.

I’m not blaming anyone for going after the money. Lawyers are in the business of making money. And the money is certainly there for the taking, whether it be by assembling a host of bewildered clients to sign on the bottom line, or getting a job in the army of lawyers, anthropologists, consultants and other well paid ‘experts’ who appear at the endless succession of Indigenous victim inquiries.

Those inquires range from the Royal Commission of Aboriginal Peoples in 1996 to the residential school show trials, to the missing women fiasco, and probably to a ’60s Scoop inquiry, followed by an inquiry into how dismally Indigenous children do as wards in the care of child welfare agencies.

And the list of taxpayer-funded inquiries will only continue to grow.

It’s hard to fault people for lining up to claim victimhood when simply signing up can net a big lump of money.

It appears that the easy money available to people who claim to be victims has corrupted so thoroughly that even those residential school students who acknowledged their gratitude for being able to attend now claim that everything about the schools was bad.

This applies to the ’60s Scoop claimants as well. By and large, these claimants were children rescued from alcoholic homes and placed for adoption with white families. Many of these adoptions broke down for reasons that include the sad fact that many of the children suffered from fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.

But it’s also a fact that a large number of the children grew up successfully in very good homes instead of the dreadful homes they started in. Even these people will receive about $50,000 each, based on the entirely spurious reasoning that a child from one culture is abused by being placed with parents from another culture.

The huge amount of money that’s simply there for the taking invites greed and corruption. It robs otherwise intelligent people of their common sense. A victim mentality sets in.

There’s no question that people who have actually suffered abuse are entitled to compensation. However, many people – Indigenous and non-Indigenous – are just blinded by the money. This extravagant compensation by a profligate federal government is simply wrong.

But worse than the sheer waste of money is the harm that comes from encouraging people to think of themselves as permanent victims instead of as individuals who have control over their lives. For instilling this victim mentality in impressionable people, the current federal government is the worst on record.

But there’s another sinister dimension to this particular government’s role in funding the victim industry. The extra billions they have pumped into the demands of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the billions that the ’60s Scoop and the missing women inquiry will eventually cost the taxpayer, and all of the other extra money that’s directed to the CBC, universities and other sympathetic bodies, under the guise of improving Indigenous relations, acts as an informal boost to the already huge Indigenous Affairs budget. And it does so under the radar.

This federal government knows there are limits to how much it can boost a constituency’s budget without political repercussions, so it has lavishly used taxpayers’ money in a much more devious way.

The unholy alliance between this federal government and Indigenous leaders – aided and abetted by the legal profession and a compliant judiciary – has created a victim industry that shows no sign of slowing down.

The federal government seems perfectly prepared to squander vast sums of the hard-earned money of the people they claim to represent to satisfy its own apparently insatiable virtue signalling compulsion.

The real victim in all of this is the taxpayer.

Brian Giesbrecht is a retired judge and senior fellow with Frontier Centre of Public Policy.

victim industry

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