Friday, August 4, 2017

The driving force behind the change in Edmonton is unclear — it just abruptly changed in mid-January — but certainly, when the Alberta Association of Chiefs of Police met this week to adopt the “decision framework on naming homicide victims,” the mandate was clear — and clear, too, was the fact the tedious document wasn’t written by cops. “In response to a request from the Minister of Justice,” the preamble says, “the AACP has adopted this framework to be used by all AACP member police services …”-------------FOI and privacy legislation has been in existence for decades, though it feels much longer — federally since 1990, in Alberta since 2000. Nothing huge appears to have changed in the intervening years. These are maddening acts to read, and I’ve read them, but can find nothing that specifically refers to homicide investigations or the disclosure of victims’ names.---

Rather, the Alberta chiefs appear to have adopted legal interpretations of what are very broad laws that should be used to protect citizens’ privacy in the ordinary course.----And of course the folks we hire to government can do whatever they want to do while they are in power.
But ultimately citizens decide the transparency of government. The NDP folks were hired to increase transparency and to give us deliverables.
The deliverables to date in changing the culture at the GOA have been disappointing and require our criticism.
This was not a good move by the Justice Minister and it should be reversed.
I see no value in hiding the names of victims.
It's a matter of dehumanizing them to the public.

It is pretty clear to me why government and associated public bodies have legislation for privacy and use this legislation to keep folks who die as anonymous unnamed entities--we don't get to feel their passing as anything other than statistical information.

Justice Minister interprets privacy legislation in her an expansive way. Now we have murder victims who cannot be named.
It's getting confusing.
First I read that Serenity could not be named by the Child and Youth Advocate who called her "Marie"; meanwhile the family just went ahead and named her.
Then I read that folks cannot name the woman who was imprisoned as a possible flight risk by the judge in the assault case for no damn reason that I can determine. She still can't be named even though there is an investigation into this bizarre case.
Now I read that there are folks dying on oil patch work sites who aren't being named as well.
Will we be all erased in public now? Is this the expansion of the interpretation of the laws of the land by the folks we hire in government --to the extent that they see fit?
We've already seen the RCMP manufacturing cases for their own investigation
B.C. bomb plotters set free after judge rules RCMP entrapped pair
VANCOUVER — The Canadian Press
Published Friday, Jul. 29, 2016 12:41PM EDT
Last updated Saturday, Jul. 30, 2016 9:03AM EDT
Now do we have the situation in Alberta under the NDP folks where we have expansion of privacy legislation to dehumanize victims so that we cannot see them as they are? So they become statistics? I mean think about it folks. If Serenity was unnamed, would she be causing the trouble to the GOA that she is causing today by being a named child with photographs showing us happy and then harmed?
It's so ridiculous in Alberta. And the junk is spreading all over Canada.

Murder is exceptional. It isn’t prurient to want to know who’s been killed. It’s smart, and in a democracy that took openness seriously, it would be routine

Christie Blatchford: Why not name murder victims? New Alberta policy is absurd

Christie Blatchford: Why not name murder victims? New Alberta policy is absurd
Edmonton police investigate a body found in June.
There’s no crime quite like murder.
Though obviously personal, in that an individual has been killed, it also has a uniquely public aspect: One of our own has been taken, and there exists a genuine collective loss. Who was the victim? What might he have become? What might she have done with her life had she been allowed to keep it?
Murder’s public nature has been recognized for almost as long as there has been law; that principle is embedded, for instance, in the motto of the Ontario coroner’s office, which holds in part that its investigations, and sometimes inquests, ensure that no death of a member of the community “will be overlooked, concealed or ignored.”
But in Alberta this week, they took a significant step to changing all that.
Since mid-January this year, the Edmonton Police Service has been withholding the names of some homicide victims — about a third of the 29 murders in the city so far this year, in fact. The practice is already so ingrained there’s a pro forma little paragraph at the bottom of the news releases where the force has determined the victim won’t be identified: “The EPS has decided not to release the name of the deceased in this investigation for the following reasons: It does not serve an investigative purpose, there is no risk to public safety and the EPS has a duty to protect the privacy rights of the victims and their families.”
The driving force behind the change in Edmonton is unclear — it just abruptly changed in mid-January — but certainly, when the Alberta Association of Chiefs of Police met this week to adopt the “decision framework on naming homicide victims,” the mandate was clear — and clear, too, was the fact the tedious document wasn’t written by cops.
“In response to a request from the Minister of Justice,” the preamble says, “the AACP has adopted this framework to be used by all AACP member police services …”
The AACP president, Medicine Hat Police Chief Andy McGrogan, said Thursday in a phone interview that the minister was simply asking that the various forces be consistent.
And the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIP) referred to throughout the document makes it plain this is the Alberta version.
(There’s a federal FOIP too, and the provinces have their own, and generally speaking, their titles could have been taken directly from Orwell’s 1984, where the Ministry of Truth was in fact the propaganda ministry. In other words, these pieces of legislation in my experience exist to do the very opposite of what their titles suggest — to thwart, hide and to render un-free.)
In any case, Alberta’s police have now cheerfully agreed to a complicated seven-part consideration process that will have them (and lawyers and privacy officers) weigh whether it’s in the “public good” to release the name (that being such factors as the transparency of the force, increased public confidence, allowing community members to pay their respects, etc., etc.), whether the family of the victim wants the name released, and whether and how much other information is already in the public domain, etc., etc.
Waging a lonely battle against the new policy — simply by reporting upon it — has been veteran CBC courts and crime reporter Janice Johnston, who has pointed out some of the absurdities: That, for instance, the Alberta RCMP, which years earlier had stopped naming murder victims, was now naming them again just as Edmonton was refusing; that when a teenager named Brandon Provencher was murdered at an LRT station, the force refused to name him even as he was quickly identified through social media posts and a fundraising page; and when an 11-day baby died of a methamphetamine overdose and her mother was arrested and charged with second-degree murder, the mother was identified but not the baby.
The name of the baby was learned, and published, when just days later court documents identified her as Eliana.
(EPS spokesman Scott Pattison told Postmedia Thursday in an email that he believes there were “several reasons” for the change, including privacy legislation.)
But that raises another issue: What happens when these cases come to trial, the accused killers in court? Will another arm of the state, prosecutors, feel empowered or obliged to seek publication bans on the names of those who have been killed?
FOI and privacy legislation has been in existence for decades, though it feels much longer — federally since 1990, in Alberta since 2000. Nothing huge appears to have changed in the intervening years.
These are maddening acts to read, and I’ve read them, but can find nothing that specifically refers to homicide investigations or the disclosure of victims’ names.
Rather, the Alberta chiefs appear to have adopted legal interpretations of what are very broad laws that should be used to protect citizens’ privacy in the ordinary course.
Murder is the antithesis of all that, exceptional, a crime against the public order, the public good, the body public: It isn’t prurient to want to know who’s been killed. It’s smart, and in a democracy that took openness seriously, it would be routine.

• Email: cblatchford@postm
Julie Ali · 

They are also not releasing the names of workers who die in oil patch incidents. Here is one recent example: Provincial occupational health inspectors have taken over the investigation, and police are not releasing the identity of the victim.
Like the failure to name the children and youth who die in the child welfare system this failure to disclose names is not really about privacy or intruding on families in some cases. It's more about dehumanizing the victims. In the child welfare system the Child and Youth Advocate is not even allowed to name kids even when their families ask for their names to be published.
The privacy legislation has been used by the GOA and other public bodies as a means to reduce the lives of children and youth in the child welfare system to statistics. Now this practice is expanding to include all victims. It's my feeling that if the families want the names of their family members made public, the system should honour their wishes.
LikeReply42 mins
Carla Barkley
In an age of social media and 24 hour news, I don't think providing some privacy to the family in the early stages of their grief is a bad thing. If it means they don't have cameras in their faces and trolls in their inboxes, good. It's inevitable that the names will eventually come out, but giving some anonimity to the grieving family in the early days is not a bad thing.
LikeReply48 hrs
Julie Ali · 

I agree with this to a certain extent but the problem is that when families want to tell the names of victims --there have been problems naming their family members. In the case of Serenity -the child who died in the care of the foster family in Alberta--the Child and Youth Advocate was not able to give us her name even though her family wanted the name published. In the case of the woman who was imprisoned for no darn reason by the justice system in Alberta, there is still a nonsensical publication ban on her name. different judge — who found Blanchard guilty of aggravated assault, kidnapping, unlawful confinement and aggravated sexual assault — noted the woman’s treatment in his decision last December.

“She was clearly distraught and, using her word, ‘panicking.’ She was somewhat belligerent,” Justice Eric Macklin wrote. “Concerns were expressed as to her behaviour and whether she would voluntarily reattend on the following Monday to continue her testimony.”

Macklin expressed regret that the young woman was kept in custody.

“She was remanded into custody on the mistaken belief that she was ‘a flight risk’ and that she was simply incapable of participating properly in the court proceedings,” he wrote.

The victim in the case was killed during an accidental shooting before she received an apology issued by the provincial government to her family.

The family wants a publication ban on her name to be lifted. They say they don’t want her to be just another statistic.
LikeReply38 mins
Kelly Sheard
Well said .... Christie. This non disclosure makes no the very least the victim was part of our human society and thus should have our human consideration.
UnlikeReply519 hrs
Julie Ali · 

The dehumanization of victims by not naming them is troubling. But I guess it is also useful to government and public agencies when human beings who die aren't named and aren't seen therefore as human beings but as statistics.
LikeReply36 mins
The use of privacy legislation isn't about protecting citizens from intrusive survey.
It's about keeping victims as statistics.
It's about dehumanization.
And it works.
After all if we are told that more than a thousand kids died in the child welfare system to date under the PCs and the NDPCs this would be troubling but not as troubling as when we see each of these children as Serenity. It's more troubling and harder to forget when we have a child with a name and a photograph before us like this:

Paula Simons: Her name was Serenity. Never forget it.

Published on: November 18, 2016 | Last Updated: January 12, 2017 4:52 PM MDT
Serenity, in a photo taken in February 2014, seven months before her death. By then, her arms were already skeletal, and she had cuts and bruises on her face.
Serenity, in a photo taken in February 2014, seven months before her death. By then, her arms were already skeletal, and she had cuts and bruises on her face. SUPPLIED
Her name was Serenity.
Her life and her death, though, were anything but serene.
Alberta’s Child and Youth Advocate, Del Graff, issued a review of the case of a four-year-old First Nations girl who died while in a kinship care placement. (The report gave her a pseudonym, Marie.) Graff’s review revealed that the relatives with whom the girl had been placed had been poorly trained and that the home study of their family had been cursory.
The review also found Serenity and her two older half-siblings had been left in the guardianship of this couple, despite complaints and tips about abuse. No workers had checked on the three children in the 11 months before Serenity died.
Graff’s report was disturbing enough, but it omitted medical details even more shocking.
Based on medical records obtained by the Journal, Serenity arrived at a hospital in central Alberta on Sept. 18, 2014, suffering from a suspected head injury, with “blown”or dilated pupils. She was four years and three months old. She weighed just 18 pounds, the weight of a typical nine-month-old baby.
Notes from the emergency room describe “multiple bruises all over her body, some green in colour and others purple.”
The notes describe bruising to the child’s pubic area. Her hymen was gone.
When she arrived at the hospital, Serenity was also suffering from severe hypothermia, with a rectal temperature of 30.1 C. Normal for a child is 37 to 38 C.  
Serenity had not been brought to the hospital by ambulance. She had been driven there by an older woman who identified herself as Serenity’s grandmother.
She was actually Serenity’s relative by marriage, who, along with her husband, had been awarded guardianship of Serenity and her two siblings.
The woman said Serenity had fallen from a tire swing. But ER staff found the woman’s explanation vague, her manner peculiar.
“Family emotionless,” read the notes. “0 crying, 0 emotion.”
Serenity was airlifted to the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton. Doctors determined she had suffered “a severe and horrific brain injury,” with no hope of recovery.
In addition to bruising on her chest and back, she had genital bruising and “unusual bruising around her anus.”
A forensic pediatrician determined her injuries were inconsistent with a fall.
Serenity remained on life-support long enough for her birth parents to say goodbye to her.
She died on Sept. 27, 2014.
Court documents say Serenity’s siblings, then five and six, told Zebra Child Protection interviewers they had been abused by two adults living in the home.
More than two years later, Alberta’s medical examiner has not released Serenity’s cause of death. The Child and Youth Advocate, an independent officer of the legislature, was denied a copy of an autopsy report. The case has never been ruled a homicide. Cpl. Laurel Scott, who speaks for the RCMP in central Alberta, says an investigation is still open. Because of that, she offered no further comment.
Why did the child advocate’s report omit any reference to the genital and anal bruising, and the absent hymen, which might suggest sexual assault? Or to the hypothermia? Tim Chander, who speaks for the advocate’s office, says it doesn’t include such details unless they’re confirmed by the medical examiner. So in the absence of the medical examiner’s report, that vital information was excluded from Graff’s review.
And why, after more than two years, has the medical examiner provided no information? On Friday, Alberta Justice could provide me no answers.
Serenity as a thriving baby. When she died in 2014, she was four years old, and weighed just 18 pounds, roughly the weight of a nine-month-old.
Serenity as a thriving baby. When she died in 2014, she was four years old and weighed 18 pounds, roughly the weight of a nine-month-old. EDMONTON
I can’t name Serenity’s mom. Alberta’s child welfare legislation forbids me to publish anything that could identify Serenity’s surviving siblings.
I can tell you that her mom is 28. She moved east of the province. She has regained custody of her children, trained as a chef, is engaged to be married. She says she has been clean and sober for five years.
“I did a whole 360 on my life,” she says.
“I was 20 when I met Serenity’s father. It seemed things were good at first, but then it turned for the worse. He was heavily into partying and I was starting to realize that he fought with me a lot because he liked to. He assaulted me and I called police, and then child welfare got involved.”
The domestic violence and her substance abuse — she drank alcohol and used marijuana, but insists she took no harder drugs — resulted in the apprehension of her children.
Serenity, she says, thrived in foster care.
“Her first foster home was really great. She was super healthy there and I got to spend a lot of time with her.”
But then, she says, she was told her children would be adopted out, separately and permanently, unless she agreed to have them placed with family members in a kinship-care arrangement. Feeling she had no choice, she agreed to have the children placed with a couple who were related to her father.
“I knew them pretty good,” she says. “I thought I did, anyways. It turns out I didn’t know them at all.”
After her children had been living in kinship care for a few months, she says they were losing weight. Her son appeared to have scabies. She complained. She took pictures and videos. All that happened, she says, was that child welfare workers and her relatives banned her from seeing the children. Other relatives tried to see the children and bring them gifts, but were turned away.
Serenity, as a happy toddler riding her trike.
Serenity as a happy toddler, riding her trike.  SUPPLIED / EDMONTON JOURNAL
Her photos of Serenity show a smiling, chubby-cheeked baby and a solid, playful toddler with a wide, wild grin. But a cousin, who had a brief visit with the children seven months before Serenity’s death, took photos of a very different child with skeleton-thin arms, gaunt wrists, a cut, bruised face and haunting, sad eyes that had lost their light and mischief.
A year before her death, Serenity was at the 50th percentile for size — absolutely average. Twelve months later, her weight was so low, it’s simply not on the chart for a four-year-old girl.
How was this allowed to happen? How was it that children’s services simply gave guardianship of three children to this couple despite the allegations of abuse, then never checked up on them? How did a child starve in a province of plenty? Why, despite the horrifying medical evidence, has no one been charged with anything?
Serenity’s mother is still grieving, still angry her efforts at the time to get her children out of kinship care failed.
“I’m not a horrible person nor a bad mother,” she says. “I’ve always tried my best and I still am. I did everything I was told to by child welfare, but nothing was ever good enough.
“My kids and Serenity definitely deserve justice.”

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Clearly, hindsight shows the child should never have been removed in the first place. Social workers identify a child as a cash cow and make up "protection" concerns to justify stripping a parent of custody, although no crime has been committed.

When the publicly paid individuals names are absent, the "coroner", the "social workers", the foster home care providers or group home contractors, there is no way for other members of the public to recognize that these individuals they have dealt with and would be able to contribute their stories. If a fire breaks out, public commenter's names are published.

The finances of the industry need to be put forward front and center, the salaries of the involved individuals and payments they receive if they are contractors (which is already public information for the most part), since the effect of cutting corners for a child's care is much lower cash outlay, but the cost to the taxpayer remains the same, so the various players profiting off the care of children keep the difference.

If these people can't do the job, it's time to jail the incompetent players in order to send a message to front line workers who won't do their job properly, and allow some competition to step in.
LikeReply3Nov 19, 2016 2:00pm
Julie Ali · 

Unfortunately the workers in the GOA and public agencies have complete immunity from the results of incompetent work. We have a culture at the GOA of secrecy and all in the name of privacy of the children and youth who die in the care of the GOA. The only purpose of such secrecy when the parents or guardians want full disclosure is therefore to dehumanize the victims.
In addition to the secrecy and the lack of accountability we therefore have privacy legislation used to minimize the deaths of over a thousand children who have died under the "care" of the PCs and the NDPCs. This is not a reasonable situation and indeed penalties are warranted.
But I doubt any sort of change will happen because the system is entirely in self protection mode, the finances are obscure, the government itself indifferent and entitled. The politicians change and are changed by us but the system itself is concrete and static.
Troubling but there you go.
The least among us are given the spin of the politicians in the most recent format of the #PanelPolitics sort but the reality is that if you have no money, no power and no voice--you are completely at the mercy of what is in the system. And what is --well it isn't pretty.
LikeReply8 mins
Velvet Martin · 

795 lives of children gone and no accountability
UnlikeReply1Nov 19, 2016 2:14pm
Jonina Weir
This sweet precious baby was tortured, starved and murdered. The people that abused this innocent baby belong in prison. The system of social workers and officials responsible for this placement should be fired. This medieval horror story cannot be swept under a rug and ignored. Individuals that failed this child's well being should no longer hold any position that allows this to happen.
LikeReply126Nov 18, 2016 8:17pm
Heidi Cardinal
Couldn't agree more!!!
LikeReply5Nov 19, 2016 6:55pm
Dawn Hodgins · 

but as a metis woman the family failed her first, her mother failed her....we all failed mother was raised in the rez school and i had a horrible upbringing....but once i had kids it became about theml.....weve got to start stepping up, putting our kids first and not allowing a flawed system to raise them....poor little angel paid with her life....
LikeReply4Nov 21, 2016 2:15pm
Jerrold Grande
Don't let this go, Paula keep the story in the news until justice is done and the abusers are punished and somebody at Children's Services loses their job
LikeReply105Nov 18, 2016 8:15pm
Susan Fortay
The pressures on social services to give these children to there kin needs to stop. What does it matter what race these children are. Their best interest should come first.
LikeReply30Nov 19, 2016 6:45am
Linda Sayn · 
Works at Retired

Child protective services is a joke!
LikeReply10Nov 19, 2016 7:00am
Michelle Schmode-Mitchell
Srinivasa Rao go away
LikeReply2Nov 19, 2016 8:59am
Harold Baker · 

It certainly appears as though Government has failed to do their job and in doing so Serenity has paid with her life! Serenity deserves justice. Good on Paula Simons for pursuing her least their is someone who is fighting for her.
LikeReply47Nov 18, 2016 8:33pm
Debbie Ledgerwood
Just because someone was family, doesn't make it the right choice to place a child in their care. She was in a safe place with her foster parents, but they took her away because they weren't Native. Even her Mom was happy where she was and didn't want her going to the family members. How sad for a sweet little angel.
LikeReply29Nov 19, 2016 1:20am
Amanda Grumbach
I agree. This system is so wrong. A child should not be place solely on the race of the caregiver... and to not check on the child once in the placement is disgusting!
Reply13Nov 19, 2016 3:52am
Daneille Owen-Bilida
Debbie Legerwood, I could be wrong, but as fars as I know, children placed in foster care have 6 months before they go up for adoption. It makes no difference if they are of the same ethnic background or not. This is the way it was before, it may have changed. But if they are placed with family then there is no time limit on the length of time they can be in care. If this is still so, then this is the reason the kids were moved from the first foster home. BUT it is no reason there isn't safe guards to ensure things like this doesn't happen. This should never have happened. The people should have been visited regularly. Heads should roll
Reply6Nov 22, 2016 10:01pmEdited
Rosie Kristina · 

Daneille Owen-Bilida I don't think that's typical foster care protocol. There's no time limit for when a child can be adopted out especially within the native foster care system as it seems no one does anything accoding to proper protocol. They may have wanted the children to be adopted out because they were at a young enough age but usually they have until 16 in guardianship until it becomes an issue of family taking over. It seems like the foster care system had inept social workers and of course, we can't really expect the parents of the children taken to really do their homework on what's the best environment for their children.
Reply1Jan 7, 2017 12:47am
Wendy Ferris
It would seem that Alberta Social Services is condoning the RAPE, torture, abuse and starvation of First Nations children...covering it up at best and complacent accessories at see pictures of this bright and beautiful child and then see herlitght be out is heart wrenching...put pressure on this government...someone, not just the caregivers (if you can call them that), needs to answer for this child and the surviving children abuse
LikeReply14Nov 19, 2016 10:24am
Michelle Rysiew · 

Not just First Nation children, there is severe abuse right across the board. Like Jason Carpenter...and so many other voiceless children.
Reply6Nov 22, 2016 2:43am
Wendy Chappell
We fostered a baby boy till he was almost 2 years old then he was placed with an aunt in Prince Albert, I have thought about him often in the last 16 years. This story feels so familiar I hope he grew up to be a strong happy 18 year old. The foster system is just not working and the children all too often suffer. The children need to come first. We need to figure out a better way I just don't know what that is
UnlikeReply11Nov 19, 2016 9:49am
Lisa Parsons
Not removing children who aren't in immediate danger would be a step in the right direction. More work on education and financial support, as well as substance abuse treatment would also help. Most cases of removal involve "neglect" which can be pretty much anything a social worker decides. It seems like this child was happy and well cared for with her mother. It would have been far better to keep the children with her and support her than taking them in the first place.
Reply3Nov 20, 2016 9:58pm
Rosie Kristina · 

Lisa Parsons While unnecessary removal is something that should be looked at, I have a feeling that because there's so many cases of abuse on nothern reserves, the social worker who did the original case file (becuase it is usually not the same as the ongoing social worker) believed they were jsutified in taking the children away from that home. I don't really believe the mother when she said she didn't do hard drugs or that she was the only one being abused. It's really hard to know. It seems like the social workers didn't want to believe the mother as well which makes me question if anyone did present hard proof or if these social workers were just really downright imcompetent. Unfortunately, alot of terrible parents out there and it all starts with them. Kids in these situations don't usually have a choice.
Reply1Jan 7, 2017 12:53am
Lisa Rayko Cardinal · 

Another child in the system that never had a many have lost their lives do to the fact that the system had let them down..when is the change gonna come that advocates for the children.. So many take the poor children for the money and not for the child's care..and these people are the ones that make it bad for the ones that do.
LikeReply12Nov 18, 2016 10:16pm
Chris Blair
If only the child was only having their stipend taken. If only it was about lack of funds. This mother's family tortured and killed her daughter in the worst way. The girl was sexually abused, starved and beat. If only care workers would've followed up, or ya know, people could act like humane beings and not savages, this girl might've stood a chance.
Reply3Nov 19, 2016 12:45am
Lisa Rayko Cardinal · 

Unfortunately a lot of times there is no follow up .. The children are basically just left..and many of the children suffer at the hands of their care givers..and a lot has be kept hushed .. Which just makes it worst..
Reply2Nov 19, 2016 12:50am
Todd Herron
The article implicitly blames the child protection system yet nowhere discusses the root cause: intergenerational trauma.

Perhaps the next article can tackle how we can make our indigenous brothers and sisters full and equal members of our community, thereby living up to our end of the spirit of Treaty 6?
LikeReply16Nov 19, 2016 8:40amEdited
Nah Ti · 

While there is A LOT of work to be done, it still does not excuse CPS from this shameful act of neglect on their part.

I took in my cousin under temporary kinship care. We were contacted DAILY. (We are not indigenous, not that it matters). WHY was their NO communication whatsoever between CPS and the family? Why was there no investigation after a complaint of abuse?

No, CPS must be held accountable. No child, NO CHILD should ever see abuse like this!!!
Reply14Nov 20, 2016 1:22amEdited
Todd Herron
Nah Ti

I'm not suggesting that CPS should not be held accountable. CPS, like the police, is a reactive social service. Reactive services can only do so much, no matter how good they are. I appreciate Ms Simons' diligence in putting a personal face to this but the story is missing the obvious bigger context and the bigger human cost. This is one tragic case among far too many.

Are journalists not willing to make Reconciliation a story any more? Are they content with tinkering at the edges because those stories so easily tug at out heartstrings and make clickable headlines?
Reply1Nov 20, 2016 1:57am
Ruth Bancroft · 

This is outrageous. What a gross disgusting failure by the system that is meant to protect and provide for children in need.😔😡It reads like every single interaction with the Alberta government agencies that this family has had has hurt and devastated them; ultimately failing to look out for the welfare of these kids. My heart breaks for Serenity, her Mother and her siblings. 💔 They deserve justice.
LikeReply6Nov 19, 2016 12:14pm
Janice Calliou Kleckner
This is so sad. Children's services failed terribly. Such an innocent child who never asked to be brought into this world then tortured and starved. Someone has to pay for this horrendous crime! Rest in Peace Serenity❤️
LikeReply10Nov 19, 2016 12:48am
Terry Schmolcke · 

Unbelievable! Monstrous disgusting people and where are these creatures now! Who could do such things to a toddler! The system is clearly overlooking matters and someone should be reprimanded for not doing their work.
LikeReply5Nov 19, 2016 9:37am
Dominique Atyeo · 

This is so horrific I can barely read it through tears. How can this have been allowed to happen? And how is it that no one has been charged? Those responsible need to be prosecuted to the full extend of the law and the branch of social services supposedly looking out for her and her siblings welfare need to be thoroughly investigated immediately! IMMEDIATELY!
LikeReply5Nov 19, 2016 2:43pm
Audrey Mitchell · 

aww. my prayers for all the chide that are taken..I fought for my children .they where abused in the system. .I admitted I was wrong in putting them in the system for I was asking for help..but was child welfare did to me was wrong..I fought with all my might.i won and I won ..still I was and still emotionally abused by the system..I'm still sober children where abused in the system. if only I had someone walk along side of me..but in the end I won.
but pray for all the little people..
LikeReply4Nov 19, 2016 9:48am
Nah Ti · 

I pray for all the little people too...

Praying aside, what do you think needs to be done to prevent this from ever happening again?
Reply1Nov 20, 2016 1:27am
Audrey Mitchell · 

we need to guide and educate everyone not everyone knows what the system does to parents.or single mothers or father's who raise their children thru story's we learn about the hiding behind behind a judge and make up lie after lie they believe what they hear about make up story's. .I proved my point without a lawyer just me and a picture of the left a scar for life..
Reply1Nov 21, 2016 12:04am
Bonnie Kitteringham · 

This is a horrendous example of how our systems failed Serenity - and continue to fail her. How does it take two years to name and bring the guilty parties to justice?!!
LikeReply5Nov 19, 2016 9:01am
Patrick Buick · 

My own experiences with Child Welfare in Alberta also have shown a complete inability to protect children, while tearing apart families instead of assisting them. The minimal and often mis-guided "assistance" is often provided to obtain more evidence to use against the family in the courts (which have none of the protections installed into criminal court to protect the innocent and ensure that justice prevails) to tear them apart. Unfortunately, many of the workers see the problems, but feel they cannot do anything about it for fear of retribution by other workers, management and even the union! My other (and perhaps largest) complaint is that many of the workers may have great intentions, but with many of them only having "book knowledge" and a biased paradigm provided by thei training and system, have no idea what it is like to raise children in the "real world".
LikeReply3Nov 20, 2016 8:24am
Mikey Kirky
The problems with the system is on a vast scale. Not enough workers in the system and a work load not many of you could manage. There are no easy solutions, just alot of bandaids.
Also there is alot of Government red tape and politics to overcome.
So next time if you see your MLA, ask them what can be done to change what is going on.
LikeReply3Nov 20, 2016 11:32am
Julie Ali · 

I think we have asked our politicians to change the system but I doubt that anyone in the government is interested in these matters.
I think the only solution is to change the ruling party at every election until we have transparency, accountability and performance. Real deliverables so to speak.
LikeReply6 mins
MaryJo Gariano · 

I don't know how, as a society, we can keep perpetuating the abuse of children in care!
The child welfare system needs a revamp. Provide supports to the families in need so they can raise their own kids! One death of a child in care is one too many!
LikeReply2Nov 20, 2016 8:08pm
Victoria Ann Mccomber · 

Why do the child welfare let the mom go in a program, but get to keep her children,now that poor baby girl is dead. Someone at that office has to be held accountable! And fired I hope,as for the foster parents,starve and beat them please.
LikeReply1Nov 21, 2016 5:36pm
Jonathon Kettler · 

This is a horrible thing, but I can say, that this little sweetheart is with her true Father, Her heveanly Father, and her bitter short life will be turned into joy and enternal happiness, just like those who did this to her will lament their horrible sins for the rest of eternity. She can no longer be hurt, but her siblings need to be watched over and treated for the severe problems they will have in life! I pray to God that he will send the destroying angel to claim them soon from our world. They do not deserve to live!
LikeReply1Nov 19, 2016 9:59pm
Allison Balciunas
This needs to stop! I've bEen abused in the system and the memory is still fresh. this is heart breaking and I can't believe they were trusted with her why would you do that to gods children 😭
LikeReply2Nov 19, 2016 8:37am
Andy Dyck · 

Innocent, and vulnerable children suffer maltreatment, abuse, neglect, and torture every day in our country, and yet the news, elections, and political debate hardly ever concern themselves with the grave topic of protecting children beyond bumping ratings or attempts to appear sympathetic. The atrocity and terrible nature of these crimes keeps me up at night, but I, like most of our population am doing nothing to help prevent other kids from suffering. Can someone please help us make a change, or guide me in ways to do so. I am appalled and terrified simply...See More
LikeReply2Nov 22, 2016 1:33pm
Mirella Pavletic Popowich · 

This is a heart-wrenching story. No child should go through that. Clearly we need more good foster homes, more social workers, women's shelters, interventions for substance/alcohol abuse, and help for families with domestic violence. I look at her photos and I feel ill that this has happened.
LikeReply1Nov 19, 2016 5:52pm
Sherry Peltier
OmG....children's services should have intervened and investigated ASAP. Internalized racism if you ask me. What kind of ppl are running those places our west?
LikeReply1Nov 19, 2016 7:30am
Mikey Kirky
The problem with CPS is they are over worked and with too many case files per worker. The workers are lied to, misled, and have alot of other problems that make thier job all the more difficult. The laws are also impairing their job. I have talked to many social workers, many of them left because of the daily BS.
Try walking a mile in thier shoes, a vast majority of you would quit in hours.
ReplyNov 20, 2016 11:17am
Sherry Peltier
Ohh, hit a nerve. Do you work in management? I understand that alot of social workers are over worked but do you not do one on one homevisits with these families? This is a heart breaking and sad incident. I just made a comment, an opinion, everyone is entitled to their opinions. Did you answer to everyone else with such hostility?
ReplyNov 20, 2016 11:35am
Trevor Doering · 

Don't ever talk to a children protection worker, about your problems. Correspond through email only. Don't ever report people to Child Protection. That call you make could very likely lead to the death or rape of a child.
LikeReply3Nov 19, 2016 7:10am
Julie Ali · 

It is best with government to ensure you have a paper trail. If you meet with government and associated care agencies tape record the meetings. In this way we all avoid misunderstandings that can be clarified by a document or a tape.

While this might sound rather distrustful it is just plain necessity. When one side holds all the power, we as citizens must protect our side so that our families are not adversely impacted by bureaucratic and political expediency decisions. These sorts of decisions occur and are based on legislation that permits such unilateral decision making by the government.

For example, I was told by a Tory MLA that the PCs designed the Trespass to Premises legislation so that it would have no appeal process. This law is used to ban family members who constitute what the system considers to be a threat. I guess voicing repeated concerns in a public format is a threat to the system. When this law is used to ban a person, you are pretty much stuck. The government of Alberta sets up these pieces of legislation so that the system is protected.

But what does the government do to protect the vulnerable in our society and their banned advocates? Nothing. The vulnerable get abused with impunity and the advocates get retribution because this is the way government wants it. If the government wanted it different so that there was a true just society all they would have to do would be to amend the Trespass to Premises legislation to include an independent appeal process. But the government hasn't done it. Why would they? They don't want to be bothered by appeals and having all the secrets of the abuse of vulnerable citizens out in the form of public appeal proceedings. It's a nice set up. But it's time we changed it.
Reply1Nov 23, 2016 8:35pmEdited
Rosie Kristina · 

I'm pretty sure I would report any child who I suspected of being abused. It starts with the parents, get your act together. I don't believe in your line of thinking that because it may be worse out there in the foster care system (which I do not believe) that it's better for children to be left at home. That's excusing crappy parenting because someone else's guardianship might be crappier. Only in Canada would that logic work. fact is unfit parents cause the bulk of the causes of chidlren being removed. Are there good parents who sometimes get caught in this system, of course. But many children have been save from raped, torture, abuse and so forth by being removed.
ReplyJan 7, 2017 1:01am
Julie Ali · 

Rosie Kristina This mother did report the child abuse. She was banned from seeing her children. The government of Alberta can do anything it wants to do. Citizens don't have the money and power to defend themselves. Especially poor citizens.
LikeReply4 mins
Bernadette Parent Davis
This is just wrong!! Three children in care and the two older ones said they were being abused but nothing was done? A precious little life snuffed out and no one charged?! 😡
Barry Mclean
Children's Sevices will never admit the truth, never take responsibility or be accountable that is the way it is, and has been for years, standard form letter We cannot confirm or deny .
Jean Clark · 

What kind of answers do child welfare give at this point. I have dealt with child welfare at one point in Alberta over the abuse of a relatives children an found them to be very distant and uncaring, ready and waiting to argue and constant refences to policy, procedures etc. They need to be more consistant in their dealings with young children, it seems like they go forward on a wing and a prayer, maybe they need constant training to ensure they don't become unfeeling and and their jobs are just another day for them! So sad to hear about this beautiful little gal, I cannot even imagine anyone treating a child like this, poor little mite.
Kerstin George Kujannek · 

as far as I am concerned they should be charged with murder and put away for life no child should have to go through anything but to have a wonderful life
Debra Marie Barlund · 

The System is so flawed I learned that when to foster child we had was returned to her mother whom admitted giving her street drugs.
Daneille Owen-Bilida
Rosie Kristina I did have children in my care that were relatives about 12 years ago. I was an unofficial guardian. The children were placed in my care by social services, though we did not receive any compinsation, as "foster parents" normally receive. Zero money or benifits of any kind were received. Money was not the reason for doing it. When the placement was started I was told that the process of foster care had recently changed and that now ( at that time) if any children went into any official placement/care, they had 6 months before they cold be taken and put up for adoption. This would not be the case if the child/children were placed with relatives in an unofficial placement. We still had regular home visits and support. This is how it was in Alberta, I am not sure if this has changed again.
Vicki Mona Savoie · 

An absolute tragedy! Someone should be in jail or worse. 😡
LikeReply8Nov 18, 2016 8:43pm
Nah Ti · 

Children's services failed and should be held accountable. This is beyond human error, this is neglect on their part.
LikeReply6Nov 18, 2016 10:07pm
Louis Tiedemann
The list of who failed this child appears to be a long one. Please everyone, watch out for our communities children, and do something if you see a child in distress.
ReplyNov 19, 2016 6:56am
Julie Ali · 

Louis Tiedemann And what is done when you report abuse? I would say not much. This mum reported abuse and she was banned from seeing her kids. As for reporting abuse in the continuing care system, you get banned there as well: Stephen Tucker added 4 new photos — with Tammilee Rideout-Tucker.
April 27 ·
PLEASE SHARE!!!! It breaks by heart to have my mom in a emergency room bed were at least dad can now visit her . A care home in grande prairie has abused my mom for the last time . We are now taking up...See More
LikeReply2 mins
Nancy Dryden Lorieau · 

What can be done about this outside of getting automatic kinship placement? Why has this not gotten any publicity until now?
LikeReply6Nov 18, 2016 8:15pm
Chris Blair
Kinship placement is what led to this girls death, if she had been kept with Foster families (like theone she thrived with), this tragedy never would've happened.
Reply5Nov 19, 2016 12:42am
Trevor Doering · 

Chris Blair read the article a little slower.
ReplyNov 19, 2016 7:12am
Julie Ali · 

Chris Blair While this case did have a kinship arrangement that failed the problem isn't with kinship placements but with the determination of whether the kinship placement is appropriate or safe.
In this case, it appears no one bothered to do an indepth review or follow up and complaints were not taken seriously.
The consequences of poor oversight and no interest in the child resulted in fatal consequences.

Since this is government, no one will face any consequences. If a government worker is found to have made mistakes, this would mean that the government of Alberta is at risk of being liable and despite the fact that no one sues the government because most of us don't have the unlimited cash reserves of government, this sort of situation will be seen as full of legal liability.

What happens is usually non-productive. Everyone covers their butt. The adverse events (abuse, death) are not entered into any database for abuse that I can find so that we have a longitudinal record of the repeating of the same mistakes by government and ultimately the same mistakes will be repeated.

This summary is based on my family's experiences with government in the continuing care system. In our family's case, AHS meets with the family independently or with the continuing care provider. Everyone yaps a great deal but no one does any sort of preventative work. In my handicapped sister's case, all they had to do were data card downloads and the teaching of staff on equipment but no, they don't do the reasonable course of action but do some sort of "mentoring" on site that results in the same adverse event repeating in my handicapped sister's case. She suffers the consequences of the lack of intelligence in the system. She gets dumped at the Grey Nuns Hospital emergency. She gets a year in a bed at the Grey Nuns Hospital since no other facility will take her. She gets to have do not resuscitate orders on her file for five years and all the doctors gang up on her while AHS and Covenant Health administration sit around ignoring the situation. She gets the hell of the entire experience of failures system wide and at the end of it what happens? She is downgraded from long term care to SL4 where miraculously with an integrated care plan and workers who have been trained on the BIPAP machine, she has not been in hospital since. So odd. Maybe the system has learned something. What it has learned is that if a family yaps in public as our family has, we face retribution but in the end the system has to provide required services to keep folks alive so that they are not the victims of premature termination events by unethical doctors who simply don't give a darn about the challenges faced by complex care patients but would rather end the problem by killing them off.
ReplyNov 23, 2016 8:47pm
Stef Rose · 
Works at Self-Employed

so sick. why do some people take the job of child welfare worker and social worker when they don't even care about people. How could they still have a job?
LikeReply4Nov 18, 2016 10:45pm
Anita Klein
That've are no appropriate words for my outrage at this child's horrific abuse. 
LikeReply3Nov 18, 2016 8:51pm
Bea Silver Tallio · 

Sweet baby resting in a beautiful loving place embraced by our Creator and ancestors arms. 😢🙏🏾🙏🏾❤️🙏🏾👍🏽🌟👼🏽👼🏽👼🏽👼🏽
LikeReply1Nov 19, 2016 1:06pm
Dawn Taylor
Please keep this story alive. Somebody needs to be held accountable.
LikeReply1Nov 19, 2016 1:01pm
Gabriela Andrea Rosende Gonzalez · 

Please punish these demons to the maximum. Please let them loose any chance of freedom and life.
LikeReply1Nov 19, 2016 3:17pm
Lisa Jane Jonasson · 

I know the system is overwhelmed, but still.......there are no words.  
Rosanne Alldis · 

This poor baby angel, whoever did this may you all rot in hell
Wanda Lawrence
the person in charge of supervising this family should be charged too
Winns Jenny · 

that is so sad,i hope ypou get justice for your precious girl,she was sweet heart who was robbed of a great life,so sad
Emina Cehic
Condolence to the family that lost this beautiful little soul. May she rest in peace.
LikeReply2Nov 18, 2016 10:10pm
Susan Fortay
Her family killed her. They need to stop insisting and placing these children in the environment they are taken from.
ReplyNov 19, 2016 6:26am
Ashley Marie-rabbit · 

Susan Fortay it wasn't her whole family .
Reply2Nov 19, 2016 7:10am
Susan Fortay
The family home she was put in, yes it was her family. Even if one or more didn't physically touch her they could still see what was going on with the bruises, malnutrition etc. Yes her family did this.
ReplyNov 19, 2016 8:39am
Emina Cehic
SusanFortay i absolutely agree with you. The mom wasn't left with many choices. They should have checked the caretakers backgrounds better, they should have monitored the well being of these children more readily.
Furthermore these individuals that abused these children should face the law and not be allowed to live in their community if they pose further threat to vulnerable children.
Ashley Marie-rabbit you're also right it wasn't her whole family. Her mom tried to fight for them. And let's not forget that two siblings lost a little sister. Their grief should be acknowledged and respected.
UnlikeReply2Nov 19, 2016 9:23am
Dee Dunton · 

Does anyone have the link for the story? I'm trying to send it to a friend, but can't find the link! Thanks!
Leona Badger · 

This is so sad for this little angel to have endured such awful things, may she be comforted now and those people pay!
Olivia Chu
Emily Ma this makes me angry and I want to cry. Close to home. I'm angry at what happened
Jeanne Lauck
I think this happens all the time but is hushed.
LikeReply5Nov 18, 2016 8:55pm
Mim A Mim
Yep. Similar thing is happenoing to my mom right now-elder abuse and no one will doanything. She was just kidnapped boko Haram style and treated less than an animal despite every effort on my part. everybody in positin of power acting together to silence me
ReplyMar 1, 2017 9:25pm
Mark Pearson
Hey Paula...thank you for this story.
Janet E Smith
Thank you for telling this story, Paula Simon!
LikeReply2Nov 18, 2016 10:51pm
Jill Traver
Awwww omg that poor baby and her mom and siblings 
LikeReply2Nov 18, 2016 9:08pm
Chris Blair
Kinda hard to feel bad for the Mom at all. She had two kids she was already not taking care of, got in a relationship with someone who 'liked to abuse her" and still had another kid.

"Her birth father was physically abusive to her birth mother. The report says the birth mother was a drug abuser, whose two older children were already in foster care. At seven months, the child was placed in foster care with a non-aboriginal family."

At least she has turned her life around, which is likely more than can be said about the deadbeat dad who goes unmentioned above, but at what cost? It took losing a life to get her to appreciate her own.
ReplyNov 19, 2016 12:55amEdited
Jordan Dawn
Are you enjoying yourself?
ReplyNov 19, 2016 3:27am
Lorna Hinkle-Carroll · 

Chris Blair what a horrible thing to say
Reply2Nov 19, 2016 2:47pm
Janice Abe · 

No child should have lived like this.
LikeReply2Nov 18, 2016 9:51pm
Jenny Yip
Yep. So sad.
ReplyNov 27, 2016 11:30pm
Stephanie Zee Fehler ·

we need tougher penalties in Canada for those who abuse children. Perpetrators are getting *months* for raping their own child, and webcasting it. Death penalty would be appropriate in those cases. Sexual abuse of children (any abuse) has to be very harshly penalized. This has to stop.
LikeReply7Nov 18, 2016 11:29pm
Nah Ti · 

Yup. I really dont think there is any rehabilitation for people that sexually abuse children. It is beyond sick and beyond "fixing".
Reply1Nov 19, 2016 1:31am
Dee Gratton
Stop killing our babies you murders..
LikeReply2Nov 19, 2016 9:19am
Shannon Marie Jankola · 

God my heart hurts for this innocent baby
LikeReply1Nov 19, 2016 3:47am
Louis Tiedemann
Me too.
ReplyNov 19, 2016 7:07am
Mandy Foran · 

So sorry Serenity. Poor baby 💔
LikeReply1Nov 18, 2016 8:40pm
Eileen Norman
How is it that these "caregivers" are not in jail? Until we hold the decision-makers (child welfare bureaucrats/officials, social workers) personally responsible for their incompetence, nothing will change.
Sue Maddin
LikeReply1Nov 18, 2016 8:26pm
Krizjonezz Whitford
Chassidy Amanda whitford 2000-2002is a member of our family who had fallen thorough the system also...stay strong and fight to save another little hard as it is our poor lil angels deaths need to be recognized and not be turned away the people involved should have their punishment handed to them.if not today then wen they meet their maker...all baby killers should be hung n.. who would harm a child soo inoccent??? Monsters only a monster's its sickening and disturbing how a inoccent child has to endure such hardships while the perpitrator get a slap on the writs
LikeReply1Nov 19, 2016 10:17am
Vangie Kuzio · 

How tragic.
Pierre Vincent
belle petite fille. tellement triste.
Valerie Jackman
This is so incredibly heartbreaking!!
Carla Lange
So heartbreaking
Barb Levesque
This is heartbreaking.
Carolyn Louise
So so sad . Children should be cherished. How badly we all failed her
Cole Baker
Child protective services is not solely to blame here. Indigenous people have long pushed for this kinship program. I know of a case of a little girl be taken out of her mothers home and placed in foster care. The grandparents fought social services for over a year to get the little girl. They finally won , both grandparents are extreme alcoholics and that is the life the little girl is living now. Social services did not want these people to have her, but court determined otherwise
LikeReply4Nov 19, 2016 8:15am
Lisa Parsons
In most cases, kinship care is better for children. Children are murdered by non-kin foster parents as well. What really needs to happen is more support for parents to keep their children and far more screening of foster parents and family who want to provide kinship care.
ReplyNov 20, 2016 10:09pm
Julie Ali · 

In this case, the mother had no choice about the kinship placement.
I don't believe that kinship placements are the problem.
The problem is a lack of due diligence by the government of Alberta.
Also complaints are rarely dealt with effectively by the system.
I complained for most of a year about the care of my handicapped sister in continuing care and most of the time it was pass the buck.
Complaints are ignored and complaint resolution processes aren't effective.
The mother complained. Nothing got done. And this is usually how it works in the system until there is vital evidence of major infractions.
In the case of my handicapped sister, Alberta Health did it's audit and found many non-compliances.
AHS did an audit.
I am still waiting for the respiratory audit I requested which is mysteriously not provided.
It's all about lack of interest, no oversight, no autopsies and yet there is a ton of regulation to reassure the restive public that vulnerable citizens from our children to adults are being taken care of.

Yup. I'd say that families need to be the oversight that is not present. But of course in this case, the mother wasn't allowed to see her kids after she complained. Wonder if they banned her with the Trespass to Premises legislation that is used on advocates in continuing care? It's a pretty neat set up.
ReplyNov 23, 2016 8:53pm

Braid: Serenity died in misery, but we're not supposed to blame anybody

Don Braid, Calgary HeraldDON BRAID, CALGARY HERALD

More from Don Braid, Calgary Herald

Published on: November 22, 2016 | Last Updated: November 22, 2016 5:11 AM MDT




Braid: Death of little Serenity


An Alberta child can still die in complete secrecy even after being beaten, sexually assaulted and starved by adults.

The sordid reality is on revolting display in the story of four-year-old Serenity, told by Postmedia colleague Paula Simons in one of the most powerful columns I have ever read.

Serenity was an aboriginal child. She was being “monitored” by the care system. She was said to be a bit “difficult.” Wouldn’t we all, if we were abused to the point of death?

That happened more than two years ago. And we’re only hearing the full story now from a reporter, not from a government that spends $734 million a year on child intervention.

The whole business follows a familiar trajectory of extreme secrecy, incompetence and bureaucratic butt-covering in government and related agencies.

It echoes almost exactly what was revealed in 2013, when the Herald and Edmonton Journal told the shocking stories of children in government care dying anonymously for a decade. The deaths of literally hundreds of children, many of them First Nations, were never announced.

The law was changed because of that series, to allow these victims to be named. Serenity died shortly after the new rule was proclaimed.

And yet, on Monday, Human Services Minister Irfan Sabir actually told the legislature: “In all cases, we make sure we protect the identity of the family, the child and their loved ones. There is no exception to that.”

The prescription for dying in obscurity, it seems, hasn’t really changed at all.

A vivid detail in the child advocate’s report — almost the only one — noted that Serenity was beaten because she “stole food.”

Yes, a four-year-old, dying for want of food, brutalized because she took food.

But Del Graff, Alberta’s child and youth advocate, couldn’t say much, because of the legal constraints the legislature imposes on him.

He called the child Marie, not Serenity, her real name. He almost apologized for the possibility that her true name might slip out.

The police asked the medical examiner’s office not to release its report, or even a cause of death, because there’s an investigation (now more than two years old, with no charges we know of.)

It was therefore improper for the child advocate to put details in his report. What use is that?

Now we learn the autopsy wasn’t completed until September this year, and turned over to police a week later, almost exactly two years after the girl’s death. How is a delay like that even possible? Was there ever an investigation at all?

It was left to Simons to reveal not just the girl’s first name, but photos of her and actual medical records from an emergency ward and the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton.

That photo of Serenity, gaunt and haunted, her face clearly injured as she looks up at the camera, revealed for the first time the reality of these secret sufferers.

The medical reports detailed the injuries to the girl’s anus and genitals, the lethally sub-normal weight, and the profound brain injury that finally killed her.

Anybody who read that column without being powerfully moved is missing a major human part. Premier Rachel Notley said it bothered her all weekend.

On Monday, the NDP agreed to a Wildrose request for an emergency debate on oversight of kinship care, secrecy, and other matters relating to Serenity’s death.

Wildrose house leader Nathan Cooper said, “The details that were raised this weekend and the stories were devastating.”

He began his speech by saying this wasn’t about blame, but about making sure it never happens again.

I couldn’t disagree more. These things keep happening because nobody is ever blamed.

The language of the reports, and the speeches of the politicians, always imply that it’s always just some benign system failure, like a flat tire on a parked car, rather than a series of catastrophic human blunders that left a child dead.

There are officials whose inaction let things happen to Serenity. For 11 long months before she died, there was no check on the home.

Those responsible should face serious career punishment. It should be broadcast all over the government.

There are other people who actually did the terrible things to the little girl. They should be in jail.

Sometimes blame is a damn good thing.

Don Braid’s column appears regularly in the Herald

Sort by
Julie Ali · 

What is being done to address the questions of citizens with reference to the problems associated in this file?
My questions:
Why did the Child and Youth Advocate report indicate that there was an intake worker assigned to this case upon the complaint of citizens but there was no documentaion on what was the follow up work?

Marie at 4 years old
Shortly after Marie’s fourth birthday, the police received a concern that Naomi and
Kolby were unsupervised in the community and appeared to be malnourished. The
police met with Anne and she said the children had tapeworms when they were placed
with her.
Child Intervention Services was notified and the matter was assigned to an Intake
21 There is no documentation outlining further activity by Child Intervention Services.
Why did the autopsy report take years rather than a few days?

Why is there no interest in a public inquiry?
Chevonne Natuasis
heartbreaking that so many things happened to these poor children and rarely anything was done about it. The government has failed once again. So many sick twisted people in this world, it's so scary. My heart goes out to all the families affected.
Barry Mclean
If there is anyone reading this and would like to see the court documents that to me indicate Martineau was a ward., email me at
Barry Mclean
When Martineau appeared in court on Feb/04/1985 the Judge in his wisdom vacated his probation order, instead of keeping him in custody--until his next court date. Children's Services will not confirm nor deny he was a ward of the province.
Barry Mclean
This took place in Feb/06/1985 Roderick Martineau a 15 year old native youth along with Patrick Tremblay murdered our parents. Martineau was sentenced as an adult in adult court because of the brutal murder. Martineau was in Social Services / Children's Service since 1978, his criminal career started at age 12 in 1982.
He was in a group home in Jan/1985, transferred to a Youth Assessment Center on Jan/23/1985 because of his drug use in the group home. The director of the group home classed him as a timebomb. He appeared in court while in custody to answer to outstanding charges on Feb/04/1985 He agreed to plea guilty and it was put over until March He was released from the Youth Assessment Center on Feb/06/1985 against the wishes of his probation officer nobody bothered to listen. On Feb/06/1985 upon his release he was taken to his foster parents by two employees of Alberta Justice, hours later two people were brutally murdered.
Miyuki Unrau · 

Excuse me, Mr. Braid, but you spelled "a decade" wrong. It should read "children in government care dying anonymously for over a century and a half". The trust has long lost, rebuilding could take equally long. If Serenity's death could not help to begin, or better yet, accelerate the process of change or rebuilding of trust, I don't know what could.
Cynthia J. Faryon · 

I was a foster parent ... I saw things, reported things, and nothing ever happened to fix those things ... over a decade later, I still pray for the children who lived in my home, still wonder how they are, still hope their lives are full and they've been able to move forward from the troubles their family went through ... I tried to make a difference ... but it's hard when your hands are tied ...
Barry Mclean
Children's Services are responsible for this tragic event, again they did not do their job, they should also be charged and be held accountable.
UnlikeReply1Nov 23, 2016 9:09pm
Julie Ali · 

No one is held accountable for incompetence in government, associated public agencies and all through the system. This is troubling but the children dying are First Nations kids for the most part and the deaths of over 1,000 kids to date hasn't mobilized the public. I am curious if the public would be raising hell if there were more than 1,000 dead kids in Riverbend, Edmonton?
LikeReply3 mins
Barry Mclean
This is a disgrace, the public should be raising hell with the Children's Service department, as well as Premier Notley.Thanks to Paula from the Edmonton Journal for bringing the story to the public.
UnlikeReply2Nov 23, 2016 8:57pm
Bobbie Niwa
I see people blaming this gov't, that gov't, the last gov't because it occured 2 yrs ago, someone even mentioned residential schools somewhere on here. How about we start by blaming the horrible, disgusting, foster parents that did this to that innocent baby. She was a victim first and foremost of the people who did this.They need to be charged when the police are finished with the investigation. They need to go to jail for the rest of their lives, NO EXCUSES, no grew up in a bad place, no alcohol addiction, no drug addiction, no excuses, and ANYONE who was aware of this and did not report it should be going to jail too. This kind of bs has been going on a very long time, longer than most of our current mla's have been alive and it is time to make it stop!
LikeReply5Nov 23, 2016 5:57am
Teri Beauchesne
The many perps out there and all over the world are to blame for their sick acts, the rest of us just try to pick up the pieces when we can.
LikeReply1Nov 22, 2016 10:43pm
Barry Mclean
Children's Services and the former government are to blame for this tragic event. Standard procedure, never admit the truth, never be accountable. This is not the first time this has happened. The NDP now has the chance to make sweeping changes to Children's Services. Will anything change ? Heads should roll, but nobody in government will be held accountable.
LikeReply3Nov 22, 2016 8:48pm
Barbara Johnston · 

We went from a culture that respected and desired morals and ethics, and desired laws that reflected that we are a selfish self serving amoral sexualize everything culture where innocence goodness and purity are frowned upon...we replaces love with tolerance, lies for truth and treat each other as objects to be used like many ways our culture vaues death over life......we are so dependant on the government we think they are the natural protection for the most vunerable in one government that places value of people over wealth and power ...this is our faliure...this is the people we are becoming...every thing is relative...there is no good, no evil, no higher purpose
LikeReply6Nov 22, 2016 8:07pm
Barbara Johnston · 

We went from a culture that respected and desired morals and ethics, and desired laws that reflected that we are a selfish self serving amoral sexualize everything culture where innocence goodness and purity are frowned upon...we replaces love with tolerance, lies for truth and treat each other as objects to be used like many ways our culture vaues death over life......we are so dependant on the government we think they are the natural protection for the most vunerable in one government that places value of people over wealth and power ...this is our faliure...this is the people we are becoming...every thing is relative...there is no good, no evil, no higher purpose
LikeReply1Nov 22, 2016 8:07pm
Donna N Fred
Very well said, Barbara Johnson.
Reply1Nov 23, 2016 9:19am
Barbara Johnston · 

We went from a culture that respected and desired morals and ethics, and desired laws that reflected that we are a selfish self serving amoral sexualize everything culture where innocence goodness and purity are frowned upon...we replaces love with tolerance, lies for truth and treat each other as objects to be used like many ways our culture vaues death over life......we are so dependant on the government we think they are the natural protection for the most vunerable in one government that places value of people over wealth and power ...this is our faliure...this is the people we are becoming...every thing is relative...there is no good, no evil, no higher purpose
Michelle Gascoigne
The parent was not responsible. The parent was coerced by child services to put their child in care because her partner beat her. If she did not agree to kinship care? She was told her her children would be split up and adopted out. She acquiesced under this pressure. Then- when she complained to the social workers regarding what she saw when visiting, and what the children reported, the social worker or workers told the kinship guardians that she was complaining about them. THEN iirc, her visiting privileges were revoked. Do not blame the parent.
Like · Reply · Delete · Just now ·
UnlikeReply7Nov 22, 2016 6:51pm
Velvet Martin · 

It isn't kinship care that was problematic; nor should this tragedy be manipulated to deter from kinship placements. What was wrong remains the culpability of the System that stole a child from her parent; instead of assisting, placed her in a more dangerous situation and turned a blind eye to the crisis although warned of abuse.

795 child fatalities in the Province; 685 hidden deaths by previous government. Zero culpability; System workers continue to be unaccountable and the kids keep dying. That's the true problem; duplicity in application of law.
LikeReply5Nov 22, 2016 6:44pm
Julie Ali · 

Almost 800 kids dead. Imagine this folks. There are currently 335 kids enrolled at Grandview Heights Elementary and Junior High School where both my sons went to school

Imagine an entire school of 335 kids vanished. And then imagine another group of 335 kids gone. And you still haven't got almost 800 kids dead in the child welfare system. Makes you wonder doesn't it?

If these deaths had occurred in the general society rather than the child welfare system there would be action taken with penalties pretty damn quick. It is only because the GOA is shielding the system that we have no accountability and no penalties.

Citizens need to hold the GOA accountable since these kids cannot speak for themselves. The GOA has liability for the failures in care and as the public guardian of these kids bears full responsibility for harm, abuse and fatality.
ReplyJan 11, 2017 9:22pm
Ailina Coraline
The RCMP are still working on the case. It isn't closed.
John Phillips
Enough of the blame shovelling, prosecute the twisted sick parents put them away for life not a few years but life
Julie Ali · 

Did you even read the piece? The children were taken away from the parents by the government of Alberta. They were in a safe foster care placement. Then someone had the bright idea to put them in an unsafe kinship placement. The mum saw problems. She complained. She was separated from her kids for yapping.
Then guess what? One of her kids was abused and ultimately died. It's still under investigation but sure as lawns make dandelions the parents did not kill the kid.
Reply2Nov 22, 2016 9:40pm
Bobbie Niwa
Possible he means Foster Parents ???
ReplyNov 23, 2016 5:47am
Patti Bryson
in a way this reminds me of the residential schools that Native Children were place in ...was kept out of the lime can so many Native children perish and nothing is done...why did it take so long for any information to come out god this is horrible
LikeReply4Nov 22, 2016 4:55pm
Julie Ali · 

The reason nothing has come out is because of intimidation tactics. These intimidation tactics are used by care providers in the continuing care system. We have had banning, evictions and lawsuits for expression of concerns about seniors and handicapped citizens in the continuing care system. The government of Alberta in my opinion is complicit with the culture of silencing. Why else would Alberta Health offer my family a chance to get my handicapped sister back to the Good Samaritan Extended Care at Millwoods after she was evicted if we kept our mouths shut? The partners are government, care providers and the other public bodies.

It's a pretty neat set up. The poor aboriginal families who are mostly the customers of this bankrupt child welfare system have no chance in hell of fighting the system. They are poor. Most of them are not knowledgeable about bureaucrats, legislation and how the system works together to keep their stories out of the media realm.

It's worse than before.
Reply1Nov 22, 2016 9:44pm
Patti Bryson
Julie Ali I am a psw in Ontario of Aboriginal decent Ihave a very loud voice when I see something wrong or things in question.I will always use my voice to fight for the underdog.If I can't get the answers I seek I go higher up.People need to start doing their jobs period
Reply5Nov 22, 2016 10:01pm
Julie Ali · 

Patti Bryson Good for you! We need more folks going public. If we are polite, kind and relentless in our efforts we will change a system that is broken to one that works for all our families.
Reply2Nov 22, 2016 11:08pm
Patti Bryson
Cheri L Bass I've found that some people would rather turn a blind eye ...thankfully I'm not one of them.I go into group homes sometimes and see things that are not safe for me or the residents and I'll tell staff on site ,then phone my sup and if nothing is done I go right to my branch manager.Eventually they get tired of hearing my voice and things get done.
UnlikeReply1Nov 23, 2016 7:09am
Craig Mu Ray
With people suing and incompetent bosses not standing up for employees doing the right thing many are afraid to do more. Many have their hands tied by bosses, laws or being understaffed.

The ONLY blame should lie on the parents. If they hadn't treated this girl in this way none of this would have happened.

We are so quick to blame police, child services, etc but we never blame those who deserve it ... the ones who actually did the horrible act. We WANT to blame someone so badly, but don't want to accept blame. The only blame we should be laying belongs on the people who abused this girl.

Want things to change? Go after others who are treating their children the same way. Blaming police, coroner, family services etc will just tie up time, energy and money that could be spent trying to save the next victim.
LikeReply2Nov 22, 2016 1:59pm
Michelle Levasseur · 

You are correct but in only a very small way - and that is that those responsibile should accept that responsibility. In this case the authorities are part of the group that needs to take responsibility. They failed the little girl and further compounded that failure by burying the information. How did that help bring those responsible for her death to justice? And that excuse that professionals in the child care service being afraid of losing their jobs? They need to lose them if failing to protect a child so that they could protect their job is their only reaction to these horrible abuses.
Reply5Nov 22, 2016 3:02pm
Craig Mu Ray
Michelle Levasseur my point is that we need to change our way of thinking if we want to change the outcome. We always are quick to blame police, family services etc but seldom lay blame where it's deserved .... On the parents. Lets see an article about that. About how responsible the parents are for all this. How they failed her. How they are the cause of this.
Reply1Nov 22, 2016 3:08pm
Joe Mcdonald · 

Craig Mu Ray you are both right and wrong.
This child was under care of the ministry and thus the ministry needs to answer why they failed her. The people who had care of her failed her also. At some point if government steps in they need to be held accountable. This is not a simple black and white issue.
Reply8Nov 22, 2016 3:47pm
Craig Mu Ray
Joe Mcdonald true. But let's not go on a witch hunt to blame everyone but those who are truly responsible.
LikeReplyNov 22, 2016 4:38pm
Julie Ali · 

Craig Mu Ray We aren't blaming everyone. We are specific. We are blaming the government of Alberta. It has final responsibility for placement of children. We are blaming the failures of government workers to address the mother's complaint about the care of her child. Why would we blame the mother? She was not able to take care of the children according to the government.

If the government decided that the mother was not able to care for the children and then put them in a foster care placement that worked, why did the government then put the children in a kinship placement that was not fully checked out? Why were the mother's concerns not addressed so that her concerns ended in the death of a child? It's not the mother's fault that government was incompetent or that they failed the child all the way through.

There are system wide failures here. Other folks complained and why did these complaints not result in the removal of the children? The mum is not at fault.
LikeReply2Nov 22, 2016 5:35pmEdited
Craig Mu Ray
Julie Ali, it is not the mothers fault??? Why was this girl taken away to begin with. Do you have ANY idea what needs to happen before a child is taken away ? If the mother took better /proper care of her child NONE of this would have happened.
LikeReplyNov 22, 2016 5:58pm
Velvet Martin · 

Craig Mu Ray it was not the parent who was at fault. Victim shaming is wrong. The child was failed due to cruel, manipulative, incompetent System workers. Listen to Serenity's mother provide further insight:
LikeReply1Nov 22, 2016 6:49pm
Michelle Gascoigne
The parent was not responsible. The mother was coerced by child services to put their child in care because her partner beat her. If she did not agree to kinship care? She was told her her children would be split up and adopted out. She acquiesced under this pressure. Then- when she complained to the social workers regarding what she saw when visiting, and what the children reported, the social worker or workers told the kinship guardians that she was complaining about them. THEN iirc, her visiting privileges were revoked. Do not blame the parent. I have seen a similar situation play out, where a person who was hurt by a family member lost custody of their children to social services. Even though they were being hurt. And I have some certain knowledge of another person who was a victim of a crime against their person be threatened with their offspring being removed, after reporting said crime. Don't be so quick to judge.
Like · Reply · Delete · Just now ·
LikeReplyNov 22, 2016 6:57pm
Julie Ali · 

Craig Mu Ray Don't you understand that the mother was not the one who abused and harmed her child? How the heck do you come up with the idea that the mother is responsible for the child's death?

Don't you have any idea of the problems of drug addiction? This mother had her problems. These problems lead to the loss of her kids. Fine. But her problems certainly did not result in the abuse and death of her kid.

You should be ashamed of yourself for your lack of empathy. This mother is a victim. She has been through hell and then you add to her hell by saying it is her fault? Wow.
LikeReplyNov 22, 2016 9:47pmEdited
Julie Ali · 

Craig Mu Ray For sure we could talk about the parents. But the Child and Youth Advocate has already done the blaming of the parents without the blaming of the government folks.
I think it's useful to blame the right people.
The right people to blame are the folks who took the kids out of the foster care arrangement and put them in the kinship placement from hell.
The right people to blame are the ones who disregarded the mum's concerns about abuse.
The right people to blame are the ones who would not let the mum see the kids.
The right people to blame are the ones who did not follow up on the complaints of other people in the community.
Oh and don't forget to blame the folks who actually did the abuse and ended up with a dead kid.
The right people to blame are the people we--the citizens of Alberta hire --who we should fire when they fail at these life and death decisions of child placements.
These are the right people to blame.
LikeReplyNov 22, 2016 10:08pmEdited
Linda Eberle · 

Even when you advise "child services" that a child is being neglected and abused, they show up and say things like "She looks fine to me" and NEVER investigate further....Childrens services is a joke unfortunately it's not a funny one.
Julie Ali · 

It seems that the rights of the folks taking care of the kids are more important than the safety of the children. You see the same sort of unbelievable behaviour in the continuing care system.

When I reported the first adverse event for my handicapped sister in long term care in Alberta, the folks at AHS simply mentored the staff at the facility. This mentoring apparently did not include teaching staff how to use equipment and a second adverse event occurred. Both events were confirmed as abuse by the PPIC folks.

And yet what happened? My sister got dumped at the Grey Nuns Hospital and the facility got rewarded with more money by AHS. It's a farce. And what is required are penalties. It's all about image, spin and no performance.
Reply1Nov 22, 2016 4:53pm
Dee B Goode · 

What makes this worse is the government of the day ignores repeated calls from the Human Rights Tribunal to increase funding for on reserve social services. The tribunal has issued a second call to comply, the government has called for round table talks? This is the real cost to underfunding, it equates to lost lives, and First Nations are underfunded across the board.
LikeReply2Nov 22, 2016 10:04am
Barbara Johnston · 

there is already a lot ofmoney given to the reserves, unfortunatly many of the leaders on the reserves claim the money for themselves...Harper tried to fix it and was demonized for it
Reply2Nov 22, 2016 7:46pm
Tracie Brezsnyak · 

So sad that a child should have to go through this and yet no one is charged. It doesn't matter who was in charge at the time steps need to be taken so this does not happen again.
LikeReply5Nov 22, 2016 8:33am
Julie Ali · 

Adverse events like this need to be followed up and changes made to the system but it is not made.

Government says it is not responsible for such changes.

From: Ministry of Justice <>
Date: Tue, Nov 8, 2016 at 10:42 AM

PCU 94078

Dear Ms. Ali:

Fatality inquiry reports are distributed to the parties involved in the inquiry and to those who may be impacted by recommendations. The Government of Alberta does not follow up on recommendations as it is these parties who have the authority and responsibility to determine whether recommendations are appropriate to be implemented.

When recommendations are directed at a ministry of the Government of Alberta it is the sole responsibility of that ministry to review and determine how or whether it is feasible to implement recommendations in whole, or in part.

Thank you for writing to share your concerns with our government and I hope that this information is helpful.


Kathleen Ganley
ReplyNov 22, 2016 4:59pm
Corrine Miller
Please keep it focused on steps to save. children versus how to find out about and report deaths.
Joe Mcdonald · 

If the ministry actualy dealt with these cases instead of minor nonsense there might be less tragedies. Instead the system is geared towards looking good by 'solving' cases that are quick and easy.
UnlikeReply2Nov 22, 2016 7:39am
Julie Ali · 

The government of Alberta is not interested in changing the system. Why would it do this? Public attention on these horrific cases is fleeting.
Once the media attention is gone, so is the government will to do anything.
This is why this junk has gone on since the time of Richard Cardinal. No political will at all.

And in the continuing care system, there is a similar lack of oversight, no interest, no autopsies but for sure government puts on a shining patina of tons of regulations to convince the public that everything is fine and dandy. It's not.
ReplyNov 22, 2016 9:52pm
Bob Craig · 

I hope you continue to report on this particular story. Find out why the police haven't done something! It's like a house of horrors for these kids who cannot protect themselves from people who are "serial fosterparents"? Come on!
LikeReply4Nov 22, 2016 6:56am
Julie Ali · 

It is essential for the media to keep our attention on these horrors that occur not only in the child welfare system but also in continuing care in Alberta. Without the public exposure of the hidden history of government there will be no change. The just society model that is preached to us is so much baloney as these stories attest.

Ruth Adria has done much to document similar abuses and deaths in the continuing care system in Alberta. Her singular devotion to the truth is rare in Alberta. Her documentation of abuses and deaths in the senior population will provide the history of government incompetence in the care of our most vulnerable seniors:

But who is listening? Who will be the leaders in this area? Only the famlies of the abused victims.
Reply2Nov 22, 2016 5:16pm
Alcira Chacin
Same people in government who want to rule if a woman has the right of proper health care to prevent pregnancies or in desperate circumstances to have abortions and they permit worse crimes.
Jay Ahmed · 

I am extremely sorry that this is still happening in Alberta in the 21st century. So many people can't have children and adults that are blessed with children, treat them like this! No excuse....the Government of Alberta needs to do better screening of individuals before releasing these vulnerable children into the care of foster families. Also, I have no problem that a child gets put into a family that might be a different race/culture so long that the family is checked out completely. RIP little angel; it's such a cruel world!
UnlikeReply6Nov 21, 2016 9:46pm
Tom Cranfill
Thank you for picking up on this tragedy. I totally agree name names, release the autopsy and charge the murderers. The public servants that dealt with this need to be removed from service regardless of the reasons they might use as an excuse. The community that this took place in needs to deal with this as well. How many other children are being abused anywhere in the province right this minute?
UnlikeReply8Nov 21, 2016 9:19pm
Julie Ali · 

This is going on all over Alberta and not only in the area of child welfare. You can read some of the history of abuse and deaths of seniors in care here:
Abuse & Neglect Studies
Reply1Nov 22, 2016 5:17pm
Julie Ali · 

Cheri L Bass But at least we have Ruth Adria making a history of the abuse and deaths of our most vulnerable seniors for posterity. Without her we would think that everything is just fine in continuing care when it is also another disaster zone.
ReplyNov 22, 2016 9:54pm
Ian Chappell · 

Government Accountability......put those who have failed so miserably in the protection of this child and those who did the actual abuse in jail..we have laws and police ....LAY THE can anyone involved in this be silent?
UnlikeReply6Nov 21, 2016 9:14pm
Julie Ali · 

When government workers and those delegated with the care of our most vulnerable children, youth and seniors are at fault --no one gets punished.

Instead in the case of continuing care workers, AHS goes out to the facility to "mentor" the staff to compliance.

This is such rot. These workers were supposed to be professionals and they have to be taught how to do their jobs. We pay for the AHS staff to teach the workers to do their work. No one is held accountable.
They tell us to report non-compliant professionals to their professional bodies. That is another maze. You won't get any sort of disciplinary action from Colleges because the sole purpose of the professional bodies is to protect the professionals. What you will get is a pallid report if the complaint is accepted that does not blame anyone.

Nope. No one is ever blamed. No one is penalized. No fines. No licenses of any care homes yanked. It's all about cover your butt.

And if families speak- banning, evictions, lawsuits.
Reply2Nov 22, 2016 5:22pm
Julie Ali · 

Cheri L Bass The appalling situation of seniors in continuing care was only understood by our family when we found out the so called care at the facility my handicapped sister was at was full of non-compliances. Alberta Health did an audit and so did AHS. There was supposed to be a respiratory review I requested that I never got a copy of.

Without advocates you are very much at risk at these facilities. I have no confidence that there is oversight that results in appropriate and updated care plans unless of course there is a P3 arrangement where AHS staff are paid by us to provide the care plans that the care provider has to follow.

It's all about the money. Staff are not trained for complex needs. There is no complex care planning of any sort in Alberta. Doctors would rather go the do not resuscitate route as they tried to do this with my sister at the Grey Nuns Hospital. Alberta Health doesn't care or why else would 3 health ministers pass the buck to AHS?
ReplyNov 22, 2016 9:59pm
Velvet Martin · 

Cheri L Bass yes, all vulnerable persons are at risk; our childen, elders and individuals with medical and developmental diversity. And, not a one of us will escape either accident, disease or the natural aging process so we are all susceptible.

An aged gentleman that resided in nursing care that I knew was badly beaten by another resident. His family stepped forward to warn others and they were threatened with litigation as a means of silencing them. That elder man ended up passing away shortly afterwards. Prior to being injured, he was walking unaided, a happy, outgoing lovely man who should have had many more days ahead.
Reply1Nov 22, 2016 10:24pm
Debra Ann Coulis-Congi
Everyone involved in this childs demise should be held accountable starting with the rapist to the system who was suppose to protect her.
UnlikeReply10Nov 21, 2016 8:40pm
Julie Ali · 

Everyone should be held accountable. But no one will be held accountable. Perhaps the care givers might be charged but if that is the case this might reveal the failures of government and so this is unlikely to happen.
The real problems in government and delegated agencies will not be investigated. Why bother? We understand that there will be no one found to be responsible, at fault or facing dismissal. You can do a poor job in government and in the child welfare system and you are probably going to be simply reassigned, promoted or even complimented by all concerned for the work you do.
It's troubling but there you go.
All families can do is to go public.
Once enough families go public I figure the government may do something.
Something again ineffectual and tantalising just to show the public --look --something is being done.
ReplyNov 22, 2016 10:41pmEdited
Debra Ann Coulis-Congi
Julie Ali Who ever placed tis little girl in that person custody should go to jail along with the sick sob who defiled this child exceptions. This needs to be dealt with or it will continue to be swept under the rug.
ReplyNov 22, 2016 10:27pm
Julie Ali · 

Debra Ann Coulis-Congi I agree with you completely. But of course it will not happen. How do I know? In my handicapped sister's case she endured hell and all that came out of it was that the doctors at the Grey Nuns Hospital kept trying to prematurely terminate her. The repeated abuse resulted in hospitalizations. The doctors saw her as non-compliant. No one bothered to do an investigation. They just wrote "Do not resuscitate", "Do not intubate" and "No ICU". I went to three health ministers-Mr. Horne, Mr. Mandel and Ms. Hoffman. They all did what health ministers do which is pass the buck.
I begged for my sister's life to the doctors. They were all aligned as one wall. And to scale that wall I had to yap endlessly to everyone. I got retribution. The doctors did not change the DNR order of the Grey Nuns Hospital until the ethicist brought it to their attention that if they were resuscitating drug addicts who have repeated overdose events why not my sister?
This is the system.
ReplyNov 22, 2016 11:13pm

It's hard to face that accusing weary face isn't it?
This is Serenity.
Say her name.
And the name of the woman who was unjustly imprisoned for being powerless, voiceless and unknown in our society.

For odd reasons of privacy there is still a publication ban on the woman who was assaulted and put in jail by the judge. It's troubling that despite the request of the family to publish her name and turn her from a dehumanized statistic to a human being, folks cannot name her to us. Privacy laws are being used to keep victims as statistics not as human beings.

Recordings show a sexual assault victim was mistakenly called the same name as her attacker by a judge, who later forced her to spend five nights at the Edmonton…

June 7, 2017 7:10 pm

Alberta sexual assault victim mistakenly called name of attacker by judge

By Quinn OhlerAnchor/Reporter Global News
WATCH ABOVE: Recordings from a preliminary hearing in a sexual assault case are revealing more about the victim and how she was treated. Advocates say the woman, who was shackled and held in jail, deserved better. Quinn Ohler reports.
- A A +
An Edmonton judge mistakenly called a sexual assault victim by her attacker’s name before jailing and shackling her during testimony.
The 28-year-old woman, who was from central Alberta, was forced to spend five nights at the Edmonton Remand Centre during her testimony at a 2015 preliminary hearing for Lance Blanchard, the man who attacked her.


Global News has obtained recordings from what has proven to be a controversial court case.
“Ms. Blanchard…” the judge said during a particularly emotional time during the case.
“I’m not Ms. Blachard!” the victim yelled, as the prosecutor corrected him.
“I’m sorry, that was my mistake,” the judge said.
“I’d rather just f**** grab one of your guy’s guns and shoot myself,” the witness replied.
From the beginning of her testimony, the woman, who can’t be identified because of a publication ban, seemed troubled and told the court a number of times that she didn’t want to be there. At one point, she was asked numerous times to stop spinning in her chair on the stand.
“I’ve got nowhere else to go,” the victim replied.
On request of the prosecutor, the judge ordered that the woman be taken to the Edmonton Remand Centre for the weekend.
Her testimony resumed the following Monday afternoon and as she entered the courtroom, shackles could be heard. She apologized for her actions during the prior proceedings and asked that she be “un-remanded” and allowed to stay with her mother.
“I really don’t want to go back there,” she told the judge.”Like, I’m the fricking victim here and I mean like, come on!”
She was ordered to spend the length of the trial in the remand centre, the same facility where her attacker was being held and on at least two occasions was transported in the same van to and from court.
“You sit in the back of those cells. It feels like fricking an hour went by but really it’s only 20 minutes,” she said.
The chair of the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund said Wednesday the way the sexual assault victim was treated, was dehumanizing.
“She is someone who was incredibly traumatized by this very violent assault and she was treated with an utter lack of dignity,” Lise Gotell said. “The assault that she endured was like something out of a horror movie.”
Watch below: Legal expert ‘shocked and horrified’ over treatment of Alberta sexual assault victim
She was homeless and aboriginal. Gotell told Global News race and economic status played a role in how the woman was treated in the courts.
“Indigenous women are mistreated in the criminal justice system, it’s not just this case,” she said. “We need to make some real changes to make sure that won’t happen.”
Gotell believes that the victim may have had issues concentrating and staying awake because, for safety reasons, women who live on the street often sleep during the day and stay awake all night.
“She wanted to stay with her mother,”Gotell said. “There was no suggestion she wasn’t going to come back the next day.”
A different judge — who found Blanchard guilty of aggravated assault, kidnapping, unlawful confinement and aggravated sexual assault — noted the woman’s treatment in his decision last December.
“She was clearly distraught and, using her word, ‘panicking.’ She was somewhat belligerent,” Justice Eric Macklin wrote. “Concerns were expressed as to her behaviour and whether she would voluntarily reattend on the following Monday to continue her testimony.”
Macklin expressed regret that the young woman was kept in custody.
“She was remanded into custody on the mistaken belief that she was ‘a flight risk’ and that she was simply incapable of participating properly in the court proceedings,” he wrote.
The victim in the case was killed during an accidental shooting before she received an apology issued by the provincial government to her family.
The family wants a publication ban on her name to be lifted. They say they don’t want her to be just another statistic.

With files from The Canadian Press.

Meanwhile we have the expansion of the no naming business to folks who die on oil patch sites as noted here:

Calgary man killed at east central Alberta drilling site

Published on: August 3, 2017 | Last Updated: August 3, 2017 7:21 PM MDT
RCMP stk
Occupational health and safety officials are investigating after the death of a worker at a drill site on Thursday.
The victim, described by RCMP as a 35-year-old Calgary man, was killed a little after 7 a.m. at a work site northwest of Consort, Alta.
Mounties say the death occurred during a pressure test at the drilling site.
Provincial occupational health inspectors have taken over the investigation, and police are not releasing the identity of the victim.
Consort is about 200 km northeast of Calgary.
On Twitter: @bryanpassifiume

The culture of secrecy in Alberta has not been diminished with the hiring of the NDP folks--it has been strengthened. Very troubling. But there you go. Time for another political party to be turfed.

See this part of the article I started with? This turn to secrecy in murder victims is originating from the Justice Minister herself.  So odd.

The driving force behind the change in Edmonton is unclear — it just abruptly changed in mid-January — but certainly, when the Alberta Association of Chiefs of Police met this week to adopt the “decision framework on naming homicide victims,” the mandate was clear — and clear, too, was the fact the tedious document wasn’t written by cops.
“In response to a request from the Minister of Justice,” the preamble says, “the AACP has adopted this framework to be used by all AACP member police services …”
There is nothing in the legislation to warrant this sort of intrusive secrecy under the NDP government but you don't need laws to do make changes in the new world of politics. You just need a directive from a minister. So bizarre:

FOI and privacy legislation has been in existence for decades, though it feels much longer — federally since 1990, in Alberta since 2000. Nothing huge appears to have changed in the intervening years.
These are maddening acts to read, and I’ve read them, but can find nothing that specifically refers to homicide investigations or the disclosure of victims’ names.
But again, there you go. It's part of the troubling secrecy moves of the NDP government to date that merely makes the culture at the GOA even worse than it was with the PCs.

I guess to make our family members human again we have to do what this family is doing which is going public with the name and the questions about the fatality that no one appears to be interested in:

I guess families have to name their victims and ask the questions of how these fatalities could possibly occur on work sites in the oil patch.
Family members are demanding answers after a 36-year-old father of two died at a central Alberta drilling site. Charles Oba was killed early Thursday morning at a work…
LikeShow more reactions

Family of Calgary man killed in fracking accident demands answers


More from Bryan Passifiume

Published on: August 4, 2017 | Last Updated: August 4, 2017 4:56 PM MDT

Charles Oba was killed Aug. 4, 2017 at a work site near Consort, Alta. when he was struck in the head by a section of pipe.

Charles Oba was killed Aug. 4, 2017 at a work site near Consort, Alta. when he was struck in the head by a section of pipe. SUPPLIED


Family members are demanding answers after a 36-year-old father of two died at a central Alberta drilling site.

Charles Oba was killed early Thursday morning at a work site near Consort when he was struck in the head by a section of pipe while conducting a pressure test on a hydraulic fracturing rig, said a release from Alberta Occupational Health and Safety.

Speaking to Postmedia Friday, Oba’s elder brother Scott wants to know how such an accident could have happened.

“We’re kind of surprised, we’re not talking about a third-world country,” he said. “How can they have a drilling accident in Canada?”

Oba said he and his brother have seen their share of industrial accidents in their home country of Nigeria due to poor safety standards.

“We’ve seen drilling accidents where there are no safety checks — we want answers,” said Scott Oba.

“Where was he supposed to be? Where was he? Was there safety checks that were missed? What happened? We need specifics.”

The site, about 200 km northeast of Calgary, is operated by Calgary’s Karve Energy Inc. Oba was employed by Element Technical Services, a Calgary-based company specializing in hydraulic fracturing and pressure pumping services.

Oba said his brother had been employed by Element for about a year, and had lived in Calgary for the past five years after moving to the city from Nova Scotia.

He leaves behind a wife and two sons.

“Those two boys are devastated,” Oba’s brother said.

While Oba was informed of his brother’s death on Thursday by his employer, he said the tragedy won’t seem real until the family sees his brother’s body, which is currently being held for an autopsy by the medical examiner.

“In a way, you kind of want to see and verify that this is your brother,” he said. “Our mother is grieving, but we all want to see and confirm, so we know it’s him.”

In the end, Oba hopes some good can come from the tragedy.

“It’s not just for us, it’s for the next person,” he said.

“Whatever specific job he was doing, they’re going to put somebody else in there. They’ve got to specifically figure out what went wrong — we want to know what that is — and they’ve got to fix it.”

Calls to Oba’s employer weren’t returned. The accident is being investigated by provincial occupational health and safety inspectors.

There were five confirmed workplace fatalities in Alberta in the first half of 2017, a number that may be conservative due to the length of time it takes to thoroughly investigate workplace deaths. There were 12 reported deaths in the same period last year.

On Twitter: @bryanpassifiume

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