Canadian Holocaust

Not a Fable

 by Rev. Kevin D. Annett, MA, MDiv

Even after microfilm came along, the secrets were stored in long manila file folders tucked randomly throughout the acres of shelves of at least four different departments of the government of Canada. It was reasoned that no-one would ever bother looking there, even if they did learn of the secrets, which was unlikely.

Occasionally, a zealous or naïve researcher would trip across one piece of the horrifying enigma, and ask questions that would lead nowhere, for there was no answer. How, after all, could Canada have done such horrors – and to live children? There had to be some mistake.

A Belgian student who had no particular loyalty to the Canadian Myth did try to push the envelope once, during the summer of 1995, when she was interning as a research assistant for a Carleton University historian who had access to government records. She doggedly connected the evidence and found that Canada and its American bio-weapon contractors had for years been testing out a race-specific virus that killed only Indians.

The woman imprudently told her boyfriend about it, and unfortunately, he had a brother in law who was an inspector with the RCMP. The Belgian lady vanished, and all her belongings perished in an unexplained house fire.

Just in case of the unforeseen, a cover story had been standing by for some years, but it needed dusting off whenever children went missing or piles of bones appeared where they shouldn’t have. For the experiments have never ceased, and not just concerning deadly pathogens.

It was all part of the labors of Section Y. Long time government insiders in Ottawa used to joke about Section Y, and the oddballs who worked for it, possibly to mask their own fear of its operations.

The man whom we’ll call Dr. Gustav Meyer, of course, never could keep a secret, even after his SS military background was scrubbed as clean as an Aryan’s pedigree after World War Two, and he went to work for the federal health department under the cover of a Royal Canadian Air Force doctor named Bob Armstrong. Meyer loved to mingle with matrons and nabobs at Ottawa gala social functions and answer the inevitable query about his occupation with the remark,

“I tear the wings off helpless little butterflies.”

Gustav Meyer ran Section Y for the Canadian government, and it wasn’t insects he ripped apart.

How Meyer and Section Y found their way to the Nanaimo Indian Hospital on the west coast of Canada is not hard to imagine, considering the number of Indian children imprisoned there, and their cheap availability. They were, in Meyer’s parlance, “virgin targets”: an expression he’d picked up, rather perversely, from his former enemies, just after the immolation of his home town Dresden: a beautiful baroque city of no military significance that 800 RAF bombers wiped out completely one evening in February, 1945, after dubbing it a “virgin target”. Meyer, presumably, wanted some revenge for his 90,000 barbecued family members, friends and neighbors.

Meyer preferred torturing kidnapped Jews and blacks to death in his RCAF laboratories at the Lincoln Park Air Force Base in Calgary, and at the chemical weapons test range in Suffield, Alberta during the 1950’s and ‘60’s, but Indian kids were the next best thing. He found that Indians, for some reason, lasted longer when exposed to various deadly pathogens and chemical agents: findings he described enthusiastically in his bi-monthly reports to the Defense Research Board in Ottawa.

But the SS doctor was under major contract as well with NASA and the US Army, both of whom paid him handsomely to probe the limits of human endurance to pain, and how it affected the brain’s capacity to function in combat. US soldiers guarded his grisly slaughter of "patients" at the Lincoln Park facility, where he'd burn kidnapped children and transients with chemical agents and blowtorches until their flesh peeled away. They all died, of course, save one eyewitness, who lives in hiding today but who wrote about the nightmare.

Dr. Gustav Meyer – "Major Bob Armstrong" – was never arrested or suspected of anything, because he enjoyed the same kind of top security protection as Joseph Mengele, his mentor at Auschwitz, and all the other Nazis who worked for the Americans and at the Allan Memorial Institute in Montreal, where Meyer began his work. He was not a man consumed by fear, which was, after all, his primary research interest.

Meyer set up his torture room at the Nanaimo Indian Hospital in the spring of 1967. He got along well with the local United Church crowd, and was a constant church goer, for the same church funded and helped operate the Nanaimo hospital. Meyer killed dozens of children there.

Thanks to all the Indian children delivered to him by the United Church from its Alberni Indian residential school, Meyer was personally responsible for the slow death by chemical injections and other tortures of the uncle of my friend, whom I’ll call Charlie George, during the spring of 1970, just before Section Y closed down its Nanaimo Indian Hospital operation. The victim was a boy ten years old, and what was left of him was buried in a hill now overgrown with blackberry bushes not far from Vancouver Island University, behind barbed wire fences still patrolled by Canadian soldiers.

None of Charlie George's family ever talked about what happened to him until the dead boy’s sister mentioned it to me in 1999 – the same year I met the survivor of the Lincoln Park holocaust.

And since then, of course, I have not let it lie: much to the chagrin of the government of Canada, which was forced to confirm the existence of "Bob Armstrong", and of Section Y, in 2004.

The year I encountered the truth, in 1999, all of the records of Lincoln Park, and the Nanaimo Indian Hospital, and all other Indian Hospitals, were "officially sealed" by the Canadian government.

Nanaimo Indian Hospital survivor Joan Morris, who was imprisoned there for years as a child and experimented on