The Duplessis Orphans were 20,000 Canadian children who were wrongly certified as mentally ill by the provincial government of Quebec and confined to psychiatric institutions in the 1940s and 1950s. The children were deliberately miscertified in order to misappropriate additional subsidies from the federal government. They are named for Maurice Duplessis, who served as Premier of Quebec for five non-consecutive terms between 1936 and 1959. The controversies associated with Duplessis, and particularly the corruption and abuse concerning the Duplessis orphans, have led to the popular historic conception of his term as Premier as La Grande Noirceur by its critics.
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