Canada begins talks for compensation to Kanishka families

Canada begins talks for compensation to Kanishka families

Canadian Public Safety Minister Vic Toews and Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney sent a letter last week to families whose loved ones died in Canada's worst terrorist attack, the 1985 bombing of Air India Flight 182 in which 329 people were killed.

The letter discusses the possibility the families would receive an "ex-gratia payment," which was one of the proposals made in June by the commissioner of the Air India Inquiry, Justice John Major, according to National Post.

Three previous such payments are cited in the ministers' three-page letter: the USD 21,000 paid to families of Japanese internment during the Second World War; USD 24,000 to victims of chemical weapons testing; and USD 20,000 paid over the Chinese head tax.

The ministers' letter says ex-gratia payments are "made in the public interest where there is no obligation or legal liability to do so." It notes that "no two situations are alike" and that the examples of previous payments were provided only "to give a sense of government action related to ex gratia payments."

The government met with some family members in Toronto on October 22 to talk about the Major Commission Report. Kenney told the group Ottawa wanted to make a "symbolic gesture". He said Cabinet had not discussed the payment but hoped to resolve the matter by Christmas, while Toews said he did not want to raise expectations about the money.

Last week, sentencing hearings were held for Inderjit Singh Reyat, the only man ever convicted over the attacks. He faces up to 14 years for repeatedly lying at the trial of Ajiab Singh Bagri and Ripudaman Singh Malik, who were both acquitted.

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