ARTE GEIE, COUP D'OEIL
NON-THEATRICAL, TV, DVD, INTERNET
In 2001, Quebec Premier Bernard Landry agreed to pay compensation to the 3,000 or so surviving "Duplessis Orphans" whose lives were ruined by being interned in psychiatric hospitals, as normal children, between 1954 and 1960...
At that time, many unmarried mothers or women who had conceived as a result of a rape had no choice but to give birth in hospitals run by religious orders. So as not to bring shame on their families, they gave their babies up for adoption. But a puritanical population saw illegitimate children as tainted and degenerate, and few were adopted. Instead, they were placed in religious institutions. When the Church subsequently ran into financial difficulties, it turned to the government of the province, then headed by Premier Maurice Duplessis. The government replied that the institutions would receive more subsidies from the federal government in Ottawa if they were designated as psychiatric hospitals.
So it came about that for base economic reasons, with the collusion of the government of Quebec and the medical establishment, the Church subjected these children to treatments designed for the mentally ill - lobotomies, ice-cold baths, heavy medication and electroshock therapy. As if that were not enough, some were physically and sexually abused over a period of several years.
In this film, we meet some of the Duplessis Orphans and find out if they are any closer to receiving compensation for what was done to them.