Churches face third-party claims
The federal government, not aboriginal plaintiffs, is behind many of the residential schools claims facing the Anglican Church.
Tony Merchant, a Saskatchewan-based lawyer who represents about half the aboriginal plaintiffs across Canada, says the vast majority of his clients are not interested in suing the churches and did not name them, only the government.
Ottawa has then counter-sued, naming churches and even some First Nations groups. A government spokesman defended the approach, saying Ottawa wants everyone involved "at the table."
For example, court cases involving seven Natives who went to St. George's Residential School in Lytton, B.C., were set for the end of March. Only one named the church initially. The government has pulled the church in by naming it as a third party in the other six.
This comes at the same time as the government wants the churches to participate in alternative dispute resolution pilot projects, said Archdeacon Jim Boyles, the church's general secretary. "At the same time as they are seeking our …