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Nova Scotia legislators halt bill to reorganize archdiocese, at prompting of abuse victims’ attorney

October 25, 2017

Legislation that would have allowed the Halifax-Yarmouth archdiocese to reorganize its finances—and was expected to pass through the Nova Scotia legislature without opposition—has been shelved, after an attorney for sex-abuse victims charged that the bill would allow the Church to shelter assets from plaintiffs.

Lawyer John McKiggan lodged an objection to the bill, saying that it might make it difficult for his clients to win “just and fair compensation for their injuries.” McKiggan represents many sex-abuse plaintiffs.

Bob Britton, the archdiocesan chancellor, denied that charge. “It does not shelter—in any way, shape, or form—anything,” he insisted. He said that any sex-abuse victims would be properly compensated by the archdiocese, regardless of the bill.

However, lawmakers quickly pulled back the bill, which had originally been slated for fast approval. “I think it’s important that we take a pause and look at the bill,” said Premier Stephen McNeil, who had backed the legislation, believing it to be uncontroversial.

 
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