Monday, December 9th, 2013, was a historic day for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, especially those who are survivors of the old institution for the "mentally retarded" in Orillia, Ontario Hospital School, now called "Huronia Regional Centre".
Premier Kathleen Wynne issued a formal but heartfelt apology on behalf of the province of Ontario government to all who had suffered in Orillia. But first, she unexpectedly came up into the galleries, which were packed with survivors and supporters, myself included, and shook hands and spoke with as many people as she could, leaning across the galleries to reach out to people. Everyone was enthused and excited and many survivors eagerly stretched out their arms to Premier Wynne. It was a very warm, thoughtful touch and greatly appreciated. Her "Apology" also was from the heart; she spoke very slowly and distinctly so that those hard of hearing could hear and understand, and repeated several times, slowly, "I AM SORRY".
Congratulations Premier Wynne, and to all survivors, and those long since past. As Faulkner once said: "The past is not dead, it's not even the past."
See the Toronto Star, December 10th, front page or click here to read the article.