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“All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.” - Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

“‘Tis strange – but true; for truth is always strange; Stranger than fiction.” - British poet Lord Byron (George Gordon Byron)

A lot of evidence concerning abuse and corruption connected with Children's Aid/Children Services/CPS and the various related government departments and non-government organizations (NGOs) has surfaced in both the U.S. and Canada - yet, over the years, nothing changed.

This indicated that there was a larger more powerful connection at play. It did not take long to find this bigger connection. However, in the early years, there were few people who would accept the reality of these larger global connections.

Most people do not want to believe that corruption and abuse against innocent families and children exists in Canada and the U.S.. They need to feel a sense of security in the society they live in, and that need is so great that most people will prefer to believe a lie rather than face the truth. They want to believe that such things only exist in third world countries !

Understanding that even the basics of the wickedness in Nova Scotia, Canada was hard for most people to accept, we originally limited the information we posted to local concerns. This way, at least, we hoped that we could begin educating Nova Scotians about the reality of abuse and corruption connected with Children's Aid/Children Services/CPS.

However, it broke our hearts to find testimonies from parent groups throughout North America and beyond who had worked years to inform the public and had attemped to change the system, as we had, with no success. They were frustrated and did not understand why, despite all the evidence that had come forward, nothing was done, nothing changed.

We felt they were owed an explanation, so, hopefully, now is the time for people to hear and accept the "Bigger Global Picture".

The powerful connections that are responsible for abusing our innocent families and children go to the highest levels that hides behind secrecy and secret organizations.
Countless people will hate the New World Order and will die protesting against it. When we attempt to evaluate its promise, we have to bear in mind the distress of a generation or so of malcontents, many of them quite gallant and graceful-looking people." ~ H. G. Wells (1939)

Finally alternate media, first hand testimonies from people coming out of these evil organizations, and countless politicians began now declaring openly the plan for a New World Order and a one world government. Because of this, it is hoped that people will accept the evidence we are now posting concerning this evil global connection. Please view topics under "Bigger Picture" , "Agenda 21" , "Democracy Destroyed" etc .

Because of the push to form a One World Government, we are all connected in our struggle. What is being done elsewhere is being, or will be, done to us because it is the same global power which is working towards the destruction of our families and our children worldwide - And the corruption in Children's Aid/Children Services/CPS is is just one of the instruments they use to achieve this goal.

Thus far there are at least 8 powers that are struggling for this one world domination: the Illuminati, Communism, the Vatican, the Masons, the Islam extremists (understand these Islam extremists are killing fellow Islamic people who do not agree with their extreme views) and India, China, and Russia. They all use and manipulate each other but, ultimately, each wants ultimate control.

In the Christian Bible, it is prophesied that an evil Anti-Christ will set up a one World government utilizing a one world religion where all the people of the world will eventually be forced to worship him alone. It is difficult, at this time, to determine, for certain, if this Anti-Christ raises up from any of the 8 powers mentioned above or elsewhere. Please link here if you are interested in learning more about the Anti- Christ.

Over the years, we have seen the voice of the people shut down: Newspapers, and Radio stations, that were willing to write and broadcast critical articles and interviews against Children Services/CPS and government folded. And radio/media personalities, who allowed people to speak out against Children Services/CPS and the government, lost their jobs or were heavily curtailed.

Both the US and Canada have passed laws to remove our right and freedoms, including free speech: the Patriot Act, numerous Executive Orders nullifying the US Constitution. The latest US government grab for power is the NSAA that would allow the US government to put any US citizen in indefinate detention without charges or a trial.

Oath Keepers (military police and sheriffs loyal to the US Constitution - ready to defend the people against enemies "foreign or domestic" ) and some congress people, senators and US States have also taken a stand. Even concerned individuals have gone to the courts to fight the NSAA.

We believe the internet, as we know it, soon will be limited. Eventually internet use will be removed completely from the hands of the people. The time is short. The time to get this information out is now. No one is immune from the abuse of Children Services /New World Order/Agenda 21 etc. The victims can be your family, your children, your grandchildren, your nieces and nephews etc.

You cannot move away from this threat - It is global !You must not put your head in the sand! - There is a global plan to destroy the family unit and physical, sexual and mental abuse is an essential part of Trauma-Based Mind Control, one of the many mind control programs used by this global system to destroy our children. They are also using the more insidious Neuro Linquistic Programing (NLP) to alter people's value system. But the current and planned use of Electronic, Psychotronic Mind Control which can be used on people in mass is the most alarming of all ! Please view the many topics on this site under the title MIND CONTROL.

They want our children to rebel against us. They want the new generation to view the "state" as their parent.

But worse than all this, they want to kill off most of the people on this planet, and all under the guise of environmentally saving the planet. We have been declared the enemy - They openly state that we, and our children must be sacrificed for the greater good.

If this sounds extreme to you then it is because you have not been paying attention to the world events that are unfolding before your very eyes. You have been lulled into ignorance and apathy. The expansion of sports and sports arenas, the addiction to various social networks, the focus on celebraties on so called "news" shows. This has all been designed to placate the masses and to get your focus off politics and the changes that are being done to you and your family. Your attention has also been diverted to worrying about the economy and an "enemy" that shifts and changes to suit the political manipulating whims of a small powerful elite. - and this spell has been caste over you "by design". The people in the highest realm of this global power call us "stupid sheep", and we are being lead to the slaughter !

You must wake up NOW! Time is VERY short ! I suggest you start with the several topics listed under "Agenda 21" :

1. AGENDA 21/ Sustainable Development Explained: North America - US - Canada - Nova Scotia (It is recommended that you read this 1st)

2. AGENDA 21/ SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: Population Cut/ Cull (kill) Part 1
(They want to kill us, You should question, Vaccines, Fluoride, Water, GMOs, Chemtrails, Morgellons - GMO/Chemtrail desease.

3. AGENDA 21/ SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: Population Cut/ Cull (kill) Part 2
(Morgellons, Meat, Aspartame, No home gardens, Planned vitamin, mineral and organic food ban, Smart meters, Cancer cures, Pollution free energy and cars, Abortion, After birth abortion, Denying medical care, Killing our own troops, Gun control)

4. AGENDA 21/ SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: Pushback - People are waking up Part 1
(States, Governors, Sheriffs, )

5. AGENDA 21/ SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: Pushback - People are waking up Part 2
(Militia, Military, Whistleblowers)

6. Agenda 21/Sustainable Development: The Bigger picture

7. AGENDA 21/ SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: Political Takeover

8. AGENDA 21/ SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: Canada - New World Order (NWO)

If we do not WAKE UP, fight back, and win then you need to seriously prepare yourself and your family for, incarceration without trial, torture, persecution, and even death.

Did you know that Obama has declared Christians to be "potential domestic terrorists"? - Especially those who believe in the promised Second Coming of Jesus Christ, who, as it happens, according to the Bible, comes to put a stop to an evil one world government. http://youtu.be/c0kiSGKbljs

Maybe some of these Christians and Messianic Jews know something that is very important for these times and perhaps we should pay attention to what their holy books have to say about the "End Times" "End of the Age" etc. (the 3 1/2 to 7 years just before the return of Yeshua Ha Mashiach/ Jesus the Messiah or Anointed One.

For those who want to check this out, please LINK HERE (scroll down to topic list on the right) . Beautiful pictures, fab songs, great testimonies from ex- satanists, ex-witches, ex-illuminati, ex-islamists, Christ believing Jews, etc, archeological evidence for Biblical events and most important scriptures to help you, encourage you and guide you.

May you find the path to the Creator of the heaven and earth. He foresaw these days (view topics on the "End Times" in the link above) we are living in right now and He has instructed us clearly on what we must do and what we are NOT to do. ( "The Mark of the Beast" View all scriptures on this subject HERE Revelation 13: 11-17, 14: 9-11, 16: 2, 19:20, 20:4 . Acceptance of the mark is not a matter to be taken lightly. The Bible states that anyone who accepts the mark, that one must have to buy or sell, denies Christ in favor of a false god. This decision, once made, is irrevocable, and the consequences are everlasting. - ( LINK HERE to read in context with fab pictures and music)

Get yourselves educated. Get familiar with the law and the illegal and unconstituional actions of your government . Educate yourselves about the New World Order and Agenda 21. Get vocal with the government to protect your family and children. Get into the family court and bear witness to what is going on in the name of "justice".
Above written by - Reverend Niemoeller, a German Lutheran pastor who was arrested by the Gestapo and sent to the concentration camp Dachau in 1938.

Monday, February 26, 2007

20. Presentations to the Minister of Community Services' Advisory Committee February 21, 2007

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See Updates! - This posting 23 (Thelma Gillespie's presentation) and posting 7. Marion Tyson

Here are 2 Presentations given to the Minister of Community Services Advisory Committee on Februaray 21, 2007 by Thelma Gillespie and Linda Youngson, 2 advocates who have worked for many years exposing the serious flaws in our "child protection" services that has been victimizing - not protecting - our children and families.

There have been many concerns with the Minister of Community Service’s Advisory Committee. In her presentation, Linda Youngson includes:

  • Her history with the CS Agency,
  • The Makeup of the Minister’s Advisory Committee, their responsibilities, and the message she wants the committee to carry to the Minister,
  • The 2 years history of the creation of the Advisory committee,
  • Some specific concerns with the Children and Family Services Act,
  • Concerns with the Minister’s Advisory Committee,
  • An introduction to 2 Documents submitted to this, as well as the Human Rights Senate committee:
    Concerns with Nova Scotia’s Children and Family Services Act
    (1990)
    Checks and Balances

Thelma Gillespie speaks about the pedophiles who have been allowed to work within our child protection system as well as the pedophiles who have been protected by this system.



Presentations to the Minister of Community Services Advisory Committee, February 21, 2007

Presentation by Linda Youngson

To begin with, I would like to thank this committee for this opportunity to finally make a presentation. Unfortunately, it has been a 2 year process getting to this point.

My name is Linda Youngson. I am an advocate who, along with a number of other people, has been fighting for many years to bring the ineptness of Children’s Services, Children’s Aid, and the Community Service’s Agency, as well as the numerous stakeholders connected to them, to the foreground.

My History with the Agency

I naively contacted the Agency for assistance for my daughter who was suffering from the baby blues and was not bonding with her child. Instead of helping her - they gave her NO services - the Agency took advantage of her mental state, recruiting her to assist them to fight against both the father and I as we attempted to keep the child in our family. Because of my daughter’s mental state, I had been my grandson’s primary caregiver - This was never disputed by any party throughout the 1 ½ years this proceeding was before the courts.

Legal action was filed against my daughter and the father for a limited 2 week period when this child was suppose to be in their sole care. After this 2 week period, my grandson who had just turned 1 years old, was wrongly apprehended and placed in foster care for 1 year. No attempt was made by the Court or the Agency to have my grandson placed with a family member as mandated by the CFS Act. When I attached myself to the legal proceedings as a Third Party requesting custody - which the father agreed to at the first court appearance - the witch hunt then began against me.


When my grandson was cigarette burned and otherwise abused in foster care, this abuse was covered up by the system, which included my own lawyer.

A year and half after this Agency proceeding began, on August 28th, while the Agency’s Case was still before the courts, the father, who did NOT have legal custody, and who had already self-confessed to drug abuse and had NOT submitted to any drug rehabilitation program, disappeared, out of province, with my grandson. At the time I had court ordered access.

I immediately appealed to the Agency for assistance to bring the father and my grandson back to Nova Scotia for the conclusion of the court proceedings. However, the Agency, wiped their hands of any responsibility, claiming they had reached the end of their time frame. However, the Agency’s documents filed in court on March 7th concerning this timeframe specifically specified The agency is currently estimating meeting the August outside date for disposition, however may request extended dates if necessary.” This was evidence that the agencies hands were not tied. They could have extended the timelines. Timeline expiration was not a legitimate excuse for the Agency’s inaction. They let my grandson disappear with no evidence of his well being.

At the time of my grandson‘s disappearance, there was a court date scheduled 6 weeks hence on October 12 -please note this was beyond the August end date claimed by the Agency. But though the Children’s Services’ lawyer had signed the adjournment slip to be present, neither the Agency’s case worker nor their lawyer appeared in court on that date. This absence was duly noted by the Justice, and the Justice made it clear that the Agency and their lawyers were suppose to be in attendance.

In response, the justice requested that all parties, including the Agency and their lawyers were to appear before him within 15 days - However, this requirement, without explanation, mysteriously disappeared, despite all my efforts to have this implemented.

At this point, my lawyer jumped ship and I was left to continue, on my own, to pursue this case by myself and without the Agency’s assistance.

The Makeup of the Minister’s Advisory Committee, their Responsibilities, and the Message They Need to Carry to the Minister

I believe we do need a healthy, proper functioning system to assist both our children and our families. We need a legitimate program that the people of this province can trust, that people can turn to for genuine help and assistance.

Unfortunately, after years of research and advocacy work, I have come to the conclusion that the various entities that function under the Children and Family Services Act are sick and dysfunctional and have become more and more so with each passing year because no one has made them accountable.

For the sake of our children, you committee members must send a clear message to this new Minister, Judy Streatch:

  • Tell her there is a very different story, gleaned from experiential knowledge, that the families of Nova Scotia wish to tell.
  • Remind Ms. Streatch that she is only an elected official: the people who actually run these departments only tell her what they what her to know.
  • Tell Ms. Streatch that it is important that she allows us into her hallowed office to speak to her directly - She speaks with the people connected with these departments, it is only fair that she should also speak to us.
  • Tell the Minister that to restore the trust of the people, there needs to be a major shake down, including a clearing out of the old guard who has allowed this dysfunction to persist, and an adjustment and a tightening up to Section 88 so that a balanced representation of members on the advisory committee is guaranteed .
  • And lastly, inform Ms. Streatch that the people within this government need to respect the law, and must, by example, show the citizens of this province the importance of following the law- specifically I refer to the CFS Act 1990.

Now let me clarify the duties and membership of this committee. It is the responsibility of this Minister’s Advisory Committee to report back to the Minister of Community Services on the Children and Family Services Act 1990 (CFSA) , as well as the actual real-life implementation of this Act. Let me quote from the Act itself, the duties of this committee:

The Minister shall establish an advisory committee whose function is to review annually the provisions of this Act and the services related thereto and to report annually to the Minister concerning the operation of the Act and whether the principles and purpose of the Act are being achieved.” - CFSA 88(1)

I emphasis the term “shall” because this word “shall” is a very important legal term that has been explained to us by a number of lawyers including Mr. Rollie Thompson, one of the co-writers of the Act itself.

When “shall” is utilized in law, it means that the action referred to is mandatory. If the action specified is not carried out, then the individual or entity specified to carry out the action is legally in contempt of the law and can actually be sued for inaction.


As already quoted, the creation of this committee on an annual basis is mandated by the Act itself, as is the specific job this committee is suppose to do.

I wish also to remind this committee that by law, 7 members of this committee are also mandatory. And please take note of the use of the term “shall” in this section I will quote as well. I quote from Section 88 (2) (a) through (e).
"The advisory committee shall be appointed by the Minister, after consultation with the relevant groups and individuals, and shall include
(a) 2 persons whose children have been, are or may be in need of protective services;
(b) a representative from an agency;
(c) a representative of the Minister;
(d) a legal aid lawyer;
(e) 2 persons drawn from the cultural, racial or linguistic minority communities; and . . . "

Subsection (f) also allows up to 3 other unspecified people to be appointed to this committee:
" (f) such other people, not exceeding 3, as the Minister may determine."

I bring it to the attention of this committee, that I am well aware that these 7 mandatory members are currently not appointed, yet this committee is still functioning . [In fact, on the day of this presentation February 21, 2007, 3 of the mandatory members were no longer on this committee -In fact, this committee did not have the full mandatory membership since Dec 8, 2006 1]

History of this Committee’s creation

I realize that there may be some on this committee who are not aware of the history of this particular committee’s creation. It is important that the people of this province, as well as the members of this committee, understand that though the creation of this committee was mandatory under the law, there was a lengthy hard fought process, taking almost 2 years that lead to this committee’s creation.

Since the CFS Act 1990 came into existence, there had only been 2 committees struck, one produced a report in 1993 and the other a report in 1996. Though the government claimed there were also committees in 1999 and 2001, the documents published by these committees show no evidence that the 7 members required by law was fulfilled, and it is also clear that these committees did not do the specific job mandated by this Act, which is to review the CFS Act and its implementation.

On May 11, 2004, I wrote my first letter to the Minister of Community Services, David Morse, informing him of this lapse of government responsibility and my interest to apply for membership for this committee. On June 28, 2004, I received a signed letter from the Minister informing me that he would inform me “at the appropriate point in time when membership selection is being considered”.

On August 16, 2004, I again wrote the Minister reminding him of his obligation and pressing him for a “specific date for the implementation of the mandated annual review”. On August 21, 2004, I received a letter signed by the Minister, stating that “membership selection is still not currently being considered for this committee”.

Almost a year later, on June 16, 2005, after conferring with a total of 5 lawyers, Marilyn Dey and I finally filed for a mandamus application against the Minister to force him to obey the law. A mandamus application is a judicial writ commanding a person to follow a public or statutory duty.


On Dec 13, 2005 we went to court understanding that the government had decided to accept our mandamus application and that they would sign all required documents in court on that date. However, when we arrived in court we were informed that the government had changed its mind and that all agreements were, now, off the table. The government was forcing this to trial and now planed to fight our mandamus application in court. Our lawyer was given only 2 hours to prepare for trial.

What was significant about this trial was not so much that the sole argument that the Minister brought to the table was that individual citizens like Ms Dey and I did not have the right to bring the government to trial to force them to obey the law - This argument, in itself is wrong and a danger to democracy. But what was even more significant was that the government’s lawyer wrapped its argument in the phrase “the Crown only owes its duty to the Crown”. In this argument the government , in fact, was arguing that the government was answerable to no one, including any elected government opposition - that they were, in fact, above the law !

Such attempted actions from any democratic government should be recognized as a serious and dangerous warning - It should make us aware of the self-important mindset that this government has graced upon itself and we citizens, everyone of us, need to be mindful of these insidious attempts by our elected representatives to legally wrest the power away from the people.

Specific concerns with the Children and Family Services Act

When I applied to make presentation before this committee, I filed a 35 page document listing specific concerns that I had with the Children and Family Services Act and its implementation - including comments and recommendations. I wanted to make it very clear that it was not only the implementation of Section 88 that was being ignored - that, in fact, the problem was that most of the Act is being ignored.

As advocacy workers we have habitually seen the Court, the lawyers, the Agency workers and the justices functioning with a total disregard for the law. We have seen court administrators taking advantage of self representing parents, giving out deliberate misinformation, impeding parents from accessing correct information, and documentation they have a right to and giving misinformation concerning the parents right to file subpoenas and evidence. As advocates we were given misinformation concerning our right to be present in Supreme Court Family Division court rooms. And most distressing, we constantly see lawyers who are doing absolutely nothing to protect or defend the parents from the slanderous accusations the Agency brings against them.

There is no fair shake - there is no justice - there is no concern for the truth or what is in “the best interest of the child” - when the Agency decides to take a child, they are funnel-focused to save face and prove their case at any cost - even at the expense of the child‘s current and future happiness!


Concerns with the Minister’s Advisory Committee

We have many concerns about Children’s Services, Children’s Aid, and the Community Service’s Agency, and with the Minister’s advisory committee.

First, because this Minister’s Advisory Committee is appointed by the Minister, there is a complete imbalance of representation and there is no guarantee that people who might have views other than those supportive of the current government, Minister, and Agency can be appointed.

In April, 2005, a one day notice, in tiny print, was published for people to apply for membership to 78 provincial committees and boards. This notice appeared tucked in the backs of 6 different newspapers across the province including the Chronicle Herald, and the Daily News. When I phoned the Executive Council to get this information, the person giving me this information refused to identify herself. Within 5 minutes I accessed her identity, through the internet, phoned her back addressing her by name, and chastised her for not revealing her identity. As a public servant giving me public information that I want to record, I have the right to the identity of the person giving me information.

This one day publication in small print tucked in the back of a newspaper does NOT indicate a sincere effort on the part of the government to secure anyone but those they end up actively approaching to be on these committees and boards.

If this situation persists, there is no hope for positive change. As it stands, we are left helplessly hoping that the current government will do the right thing by exposing the ineptness of this system. But this is a wasted dream because it is never in the current government’s interest to expose wrong-doing within its own government departments.

But our children are precious and our families need to be protected and assisted when needed. Partisan politics should not be a part of this system. There has been too much going on for far too long that is not right about Children’s Services, Children’s Aid, and the Community Service’s Agency. The responsibility for these children and these families have not been well served by any one party in power. Indeed, there is concern that the 2 parties who have shared power back and forth over the years, the Liberals and Conservatives, are content, for whatever reason - and some of those reasons may be serious and sinister - these Parties are content with the status quo.

Innocent children who have no voice to speak for themselves deserve better than this. It is time to make this department more open and accountable - to all political parties as well as to the citizens of Nova Scotia.

To begin with, I would suggest that the appointment of this committee be taken out of the hands of the Minister and placed in the hands of a multi-party committee. All applications for membership should be made public and any political affiliations, past or present, of the applicants should be made public as well.

I also understand that the current per diem for this committee is well below the standard $100, and I also understand that this low per diem allows a little known loophole to exist - that the details of members do not have to be made public.

Well, what I say to that is - for shame! Get the per diem up to standard and get out from under all the secrecy! You are a public committee. The taxpayers of this province are paying for you and we have a right to know who you are.

As public servants, the public also has a right to contact each member individually. As it is, there is wholesale distrust from persons making presentations critical of this government. They are concerned that all the information filed is not getting to all the members. To assist in establishing trusting relationships with this committee, the public needs the ability to send material directly to all members of this committee.

Now let us move on to concerns we have with scheduling of presentations for this current committee:

An ad was originally placed in the paper for people to file documentation and/or to make requests to present before this committee. There was an e-mail address included to assist with these submissions and requests. Eventually people were contacted by e-mail and asked to phone a specific phone number. However, as the final date to make applications drew near, Lynn Cheek, a member of this committee and the person originally connected with this contact phone number, suddenly proclaimed new criteria for eligibility to submit documentation or make presentations, including that from henceforth - only days before the deadline - requests and submissions had to be made “by mail with a stamp”. She also declared that people would have to access the CFS Act and would be required to link their documentations and presentations to specific sections of the Act. People who did not have computer connections who asked for a copy of the act were refused.

It was apparent that Lynn Cheek’s goal was to knock out or dissuade as many people as possible from making presentations. When Lynn Cheek spoke to me, she informed me that because my written submission met her criteria there was no reason for me to make a presentation. So you see, you were damned if you did and damned if you didn’t. If you didn’t make the criteria you were out and it you did, Ms Cheek did not see the need for you to make a presentation.

Other people, including a mother whose child had been left out in a torrential downpour as punishment by the foster parents, were informed, up front, by Lynn Cheek, that they did not meet the criteria to come before this committee.

As for having to make connections with the Act - This is not the job of ordinary citizens who want to make presentations - When I made a presentation to the Senate Committee on Human Rights, I was not required to make connections to the Human Rights document that Canada signed in 1991.

Making those connections is your job, you whose qualifications were suppose to include familiarity with the CFS Act! And besides this, your job is also to be vigilant to any omissions in the Act that might need to tightened up with recommended amendments. So even if the concerns of the presenters are not presently covered in the Act- maybe they should be!

The date of closure for these submissions and requests was October 21,2006 . We believe that because this committee has extended its timeframes, without first making an annual report as directed by the Act, that a second advertisement for submissions and presentations by the public should be opened.

We believe that that the description of the 2 parent members of this committee in Section 88 (2) (a) needs to be tightened up as well. It is clear that the original writers of this act meant these spots for parents who have wrangled with the department to get their children back - or even parents who did not succeed in getting their children back. - These people have a very different story to tell and their voices and their experiences are valuable and are needed on this committee.

One of the original “parents” appointed to this position was Mr. Van Zoost, a personal friend of the Minister who had adopted children. Theoretically this man could have been on the receiving end of a tragic apprehension - He was NOT a parent who had experienced the wrenching heartache of being separated from a child - for a time or for a lifetime. The specifications for this parent category needs to be tightened up so that the political uproar that followed Mr. Van Zoost’s appointment is NOT repeated, and so that this position is safeguarded for those it was originally intended for.

That being said, we are also aware of the Agency’s habit of grooming a few trophy children and a few trophy parents to bring out as examples of how well this system is working - This is NOT the norm, and people appointing this committee must be vigilant to this ploy. These two parent spots are the best opportunity to attempt to put some balance to this pro-Minister committee and the opportunity to do so should not be missed.

Because there are currently no members on this committee who are critical of Children’s Services, Children’s Aid, and the Community Service’s Agency there is much distrust concerning the actual working of this committee. As mentioned before, we are concerned that not all members are receiving our submissions. In addition, we are concerned about what may be discussed after our presentations. In particular, is the Agency representative and the legal aid lawyer, dismissing and talking away our concerns to this committee without allowing us to be privy to what is being said and giving us no right of rebuttal?

We are also concerned that there is talk afoot that this committee does not intend to publish a pubic report. This would be a tragedy and would only intensify the distrust that is building against Children’s Services, Children’s Aid, and the Community Service’s Agency.

Might I also point out that if this committee does not publish a report, the government would not have the evidence to present to the public in the future that there was indeed a committee as per section 88 of the CFS Act. Section 88 (1) states that “The Minister shall establish an advisory committee whose function is to . . . report annually to the Minister . . .” Because a year has already passed since this committee began, you have already missed the boat on the requirement of an annual report - Do not miss the opportunity to gain the trust of the public by publishing an honest report - that we can all read!

That being said, it seems there is now a need for an amendment to the CFS Act specifying that the work of this committee includes publishing a public report.

We are also concerned that all presentations that we have been privy to have NOT been given the respect of a quorum. When we of contrary opinion began our presentations Ms Harawitz informed us that the quorum was 8. We were also informed that this was the first time that they had not had a quorum. We were also of the understanding that various government representatives had already given presentations to this committee. With this in mind, we were very distressed when it became apparent that presenters critical of the government were being habitually snubbed with poor attendance by this committee. At the most 7 came to these presentations, at the least 3 [now 2], with the norm being 4 or 5. As a support person, I challenged this, but was met with the retort, “Would you rather we called the presenters up at the last minute and ask them to rescheduled?” To which I replied that I would rather that they appointed people to the committee who cared enough about the business at hand to come to hear the presenters.

The Mona Clare committee, that was comprised of a number of journalists, informed us that they were concerned about the apparent lack of interest conveyed by the committee members, that no one except Cheryl Harawitz was taking notes and that the presentations were not being taped. These were exactly our concerns as well.

With people dropping out of the committee and new people being appointed, how are they suppose to get any accurate understanding of the presentations made thus far?

2 Documents submitted

I have covered a lot of ground but believe me this is only the tip of the iceberg! I have included 2 documents with this presentation. The first document, Concerns with Nova Scotia’s Children and Family Services Act (1990) , speaks to specific sections in the act where the Act is misused, habitually ignored, or just plain illogical.

For example, it is rare that the Court or the Agency seek placement of a child with family or community as mandated by Section 28(1) “the agency shall make all reasonable efforts to locate or contact a parent or guardian or, in the absence of a parent or guardian, a relative of the child who is willing and able to provide for the child’s care.” and Section 42 (2) “Where the court determines that it is necessary to remove the child from the care of a parent or guardian, the court shall , before making an order for temporary or permanent care and custody . . . consider whether it is possible to place the child with a relative, neighbor or other member of the child’s community or extended family”

We have never found any child 12 years or older who has been allowed to have an independent lawyer as specified in Sections 36(1), 37(1)(2) as well as the preamble of the Act.

“the agency shall take reasonable measures to provide services to families and children that promote the integrity of the family” Services to assist the family as mandated in Section 13 (1) (2)(a-j), are rarely given, and when they are, they are not given to assist the families but are often used as thinly veiled tools to gather and manufacture evidence against the families.

This document also points out sections of the act that defy all reasonable logic. For instance, though the police maintain an abuse registry predicated on proof and conviction, Section 63 (3) of the CFS Act states that the Minister maintains an abuse registry based “ on the balance of probability, the person has abused a child” .

Another example of grave concern is found when 2 sections of the Act are viewed in tandem. According to Section 26 (1)(2), to get evidence, including questioning a child, the Agency needs to get a warrant or a court order BUT Section 33(1) and Section 34(3) states that to apprehend a child, a warrant or a court order is not needed! So, to get around the need for a warrant or a court order to question a child, the child is apprehended first, and questions are asked later, when the child is alone without support or legal counsel.

These are only a few examples of concern raised by this document.

The second document Checks and Balances gives numerous examples where the checks and balances that are suppose to be in place when families are attempting to redress the injustices while their cases are before the court, or to get redress after their cases are out of court are not working. The checks and balances which we have identified as not working include:

  • The family lawyers representing the family, the non-existence of independent lawyers for the children
  • The Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society through which one is suppose to be able to make complaint against the lawyers,
  • The Ombudsman’s Office-Children’s Section,
  • The assessments of the children and family members, and the Nova Scotia Board of Examiners in Psychology,
  • The Minister of Community Services’ Advisory Committee, and
  • The Politicians.

I ask that this committee takes the time to read these documents.

In summation, we implore you to send a strong message to this new Minister. Let her know that there is knowledgeable discontent and mistrust concerning Children’s Services, Children’s Aid, the Community Service’s Agency and the CFS Act that shapes the functioning of this system. People are frustrated, and they are no longer willing to let the Minister take their children and ruin their families in silence.

Our children are our future. Children who have been psychologically scared by a short time or a long time in “the system” are not a heritage to be proud of. The promised services to “promote the integrity of the family” must be forthcoming now!

And last but not least, as other presenters before me have requested, so I request now, a general inquiry into the functioning of Children’s Services, Children’s Aid, the Community Service’s Agency, and all the organizations and stakeholders connected with them.


Presentation by Thelma Gillespie


Good morning, my name is Thelma Gillespie. Thank you for this opportunity to speak.
I believe silence is consent and I refuse to be a moral mute.


According to the Children and Family Services Act 1990 c. 5, s1.
Section 2 (1)
The purpose of this act is to protect children from harm, promote the
integrity of the family and assure the best interest of children


and Section 2 (2) states
In all proceedings and matters pursuant to this Act, the paramount consideration is the best interests of the child, 1990,c.5, s. 2.

Being aware of the past experiences of others, expecting assistance pertaining to protecting their children and the horrendous harm that social workers caused to these children, I have no desire to read further. I do not enjoy science fiction and fantasy stories.

At 73. My life can be put to better causes - Life is too short to spend it reading fairy tales.
We are living with a plague of pedophiles in Nova Scotia. Social workers tap dance around the facts, avoiding the issues and leaving pedophiles to continue torturing little children.

Pedophiles are masters of intimidation - and they rely on others to cover up their crimes.
Example: Shelbourne school for boys - Amherst school for the deaf - the husband of Mrs. X in Sydney - Betty Stevens’ two helpless boys. A mother fighting the system and social workers, and friends of the Hendersons’ covering up and protecting the abusers.

Letting the soul murderers continue their evil.

Cesar Lalo, without the aid of persons who are being paid to protect the most vulnerable in our society, would have been stopped sooner.

Who was silent? People in authority providing him with recommendations to gain employment. - Will we ever know their names?

Persons expecting fairness and justice in our Family Courts and the Community Services department are just naïve and need to wake up! They have no understanding of the evil people we place in jobs with absolute power.

I would like to thank some of these people, they have made me a stronger person:
- the deceased mentally challenged family court P C Judge Paul Neidermayer.
- Dr John Anderson, IWK abuse team director
- Ms Lorraine Aucoin (now Dupres) social worker
- Dr Ruth Carter, Atlantic Guidance Centre and IWK
- and a special thank you to our justice system,where money decides your fate.

My family members are not strangers to this system.

My son was a victim of Kingsclear and Springhill prison. He died June 1, 1971 alone in a cell sniffing glue. - Though his problems stemmed from being abused by a pedophile, this information provided by lawyer Kenzie McKinnon was used [more than 20 years later] against me to throw my credibility out the window:

In 1992 we went to Dartmouth Children Services for help. Two grandchildren were unhappy and troubled saying disturbing things to us. -

Very easy to say, “Oh! S.A.I.D. (Sexual Allegations In Divorce) syndrome.”

Rilda Van Feggelan, of the Nova Scotia Board of Examiners in Psycholoy, and Dr Jeri Wine asked Robert Cowcill and Family court to investigate. This was totally ignored. No response from either party.

Rilda Van Feggelan said Dr Carter broke many rules. [Ms Fegglen later repeated this exact statement in the presence of Linda Youngson, a fellow advocate] Dr. Carter under oath reported she had red flags before meeting the children’s mother - my daughter. [For fairness, to avoid unwarranted "red flags", undue bias, or wrong value judgments, meetings with opposing parties are suppose to be staggered, but Dr Carter, wrongly, meet with the husband first on a number of occasions before meeting the mother]

Carter’s report, assessed by Dr Marlies Suderman of the London Family court Clinic- I have these with me today- Dr Suderman appeared in family court with Judge James Williams and was not impressed with the proceedings and stated, “If you need support go to the media - I will help you.”


I have been asking for an inquiry into the decisions of Judge Paul Niedermayer for ten years - No support from Justice -----

September 2005, my daughter again needed help. February 2007, her common law spouse would not return her children after a short parenting visit. They are still kidnapped and he will not return them. The RCMP refuses to take her to get them, ignoring court orders.

We are living in a Gestapo state!

The people we expect to protect - are killing our spirits - taking our children away - and giving the children to pedophiles.

Absolute power corrupts absolutely!

“Someday maybe there will exist a well informed, well considered, and yet fervent public conviction that the most deadly of all possible sins is the mutilation of a child’s spirit, for such mutilation undercuts the life principle of trust, without which every human act, may it feel ever so good and seem ever so right, is prone to perversion by destructive forms of consciousness.” Erik Erickson - psychoanalyst




Friday, February 16, 2007

19.Ombudsman’s Office - Children’s Section Update

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Visit our sister LINKS What's Wrong with Nova Scotia's Children and Family Service Act: Comments & Recommendations
http://revealingtruthinnovascotia2.blogspot.com/ , Former Reviews: They can do it Again! - We want a General Inquiry! http://revealingtruthinnovascotia3.blogspot.com/ , and Totally Deceived: The Journey Out of Denial http://totallydeceived.blogspot.com/

Ombudsman’s Office - Children’s Section Update

For years, the Nova Scotia Ombudsman’s Office claimed they were overseeing the rights of the children who were apprehended by the provincial government. In fact, until recently, the Ombudsman’s Office boldly made this declaration on the front page of their Child and Youth Section website:

If you are a child or youth in the care or custody of the Province of Nova
Scotia or you have an interest in the programs and services provided to
children and youth in provincial facilities . . .
The Nova Scotia Office of the Ombudsman Children’s Section may be able to help you.
Printed from
http://www.gov.ns.ca/ombu/Child_Ombud/default.asp

Claiming this service to other organizations and federal/ provincial departments, this assertion was reproduced on a number of other websites as well.

At the same time, they distributed numerous expensive glitzy colorful pamphlets declaring this fallacy. You can view one of these pamphlets at this website: http://www.gov.ns.ca/ombu/publications/ChildOmbudComServ.pdf

The Ombudsman’s Office is NOT an independent third party! It is a provincial office, overseen by a retired RCMP official, Dwight Bishop. This is not the person you want handling complaints against the government or government agents. RCMP personnel are rigorously trained and instilled with a mindset that is focused on defending and protecting the government - not entertaining complaints against the government.

Only 2 weeks ago, a mother who had 4 children apprehended by the Nova Scotia government phoned to request a meeting with the Child and Youth Section of this office for herself and her husband so that, together, they could discuss their appeals to this office. This request for a meeting was refused and the mother was informed that she could relay any information gleaned from the conversation to her husband.

The Ombudsman’s Office informed this mother that they would not contact her children to inform them of their rights, including their right to make complaint - One child was 12 years old who, under the Children and Family Services Act, has the right to an independent lawyer.
The only “assistance” they would extend was to mail out pamphlet’s to the mother for her to attempt to give to the children herself!


FOR SHAME ! ! ! ! ! !

We have no confidence in this Ombudsman’s Office to oversee the right and complaints of the children who have been apprehended by this province. This office is not independent and has shown no desire to defend and represent these children . For years, they were funded to do exactly this, yet they chose Not to take jurisdiction over any of these children.

A little know fact to most citizens of Nova Scotia is that many children apprehended by the Minister are being sent out of province, as well as out of country - One such place is Cinnamon Hills in UTAH, situated in a high plateau desert, in Southwestern United States. To send our children, who are used to the seasoned Northeast with the cool Atlantic breezes, to a desert, is a culture shock! See additional information on this website They're Shipping our Children to UTAH!

We are very concerned about the well-being and the whereabouts of these children - Once the government has taken children into permanent care and shipped them out of country, who is watching out for them?

What, we ask, is the Ombudsman’s Office doing to protect their rights? What avenues of complaint do these children have to complain against the out-of-province and out-of-country facilities that they find themselves in? They are not looking after the rights of the children in province - why should we expect them to look out for the rights of our children sent out of the province ?

See further information on the Ombudsman’s Office-Children’s Section see:
Ombudsman's Office : More Gripes Please &
The Checks and Balances Not Working

18. Child Denied Right to Independent Lawyer

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One Ongoing Futile Attempt to Obtain an Independent Lawyer for a Child Over 12 Years Old as Mandated by the Nova Scotia Children And Family Services Act
Update:
This is the story of the 16 year old who has been in the media recently. She was involved in the court case that Judy Streatch, the Minister of Community Services was a asked to attend.

Judy
, you boasted about becoming the parent of all the children who have been apprehended by your government when you first took this position, but you did not bother to hear the other side of this child's story.

We
know her mother requested meetings with you but you would not meet with her. This child was criminalized by the very system that was suppose to protect her - The government, saw fit to throw criminal charges against this girl when she lashed out in frustration - Did you know the basis of this frustration?

A
n "independent" criminal lawyer was then given to this child when these charges were thrown against her. Then, against this child's best interest, your government Legal Aid lawyers pressed this child to accept these charges instead of fighting them in court, because to do so would have not been in the government's best interest.

We
also know that this child is currently being threatened with being sent back to lock-up in Truro if she contacts her mother again.

Shame
on you Judy Streatch- Give this family the services, promised in the Children and Family Services Act, they need to heal from the wounds you have inflicted on them!

My
name is Linda Youngson. In June 2005, with another fellow advocate, Marilyn Dey, we filed a mandamus application in the court of Nova Scotia against the Nova Scotia Minister of Community Services, David Morse, to force him to obey Section 88 of the Children and Family Services Act 1990 whereby the Minister was to appoint a committee to review the Act and its implementation on an annual basis. Two of these committee members were to be parents who had had their children apprehended by the Minister, or in fear of having their children apprehended. Since the implementation of this Act, in 1990, there had only been 2 such committees doing the job specified: in 1993 and 1996.

In December of 2005, our application went to trial with the provincial government’s main argument being that “the Crown only owed its duty to the Crown” and that individual citizens like Marilyn Dey and I did not have the right to bring this action to Court to force the government to obey its own laws!

I am part of an association of people who have had their family members apprehended by this notorious system. Though I am active in many aspects of advocacy work concerning our many serious concerns, including speaking to, encouraging and directing currently victimized families, and appearing as a witness to the court proceedings, as well as accompanying individuals as a support person, my forte is research and writing. My academic credentials include B.A. (highest aggregate), B.Ed., and M.Ed.( Psychology with a focus on Human Relations with a 4.00 GPA).
From our years of advocacy work and research, we have come to know that there is serious systemic corruption that runs through a number of provincial government departments. These departments include the Department of Community Services, The Health Department, the Justice Department, the Education Department, and the Finance Department.

The following is just one example, amongst many. Though there are many grave issues that are apparent in this case, the persistent concern that has followed this family is their inability to get independent legal representation for the child who was apprehended by this province at the tender age of seven and has been in the system for 9 years now.

Section 37 of the Children and Family Services Act states that a child who is 12 years of age or more shall receive notice of a proceeding and, upon request by the child at any stage of the proceeding, the court may order that the child be made a party to the proceeding and be represented by counsel, where the court determines that such status and representation is desirable to protect the child’s interest.”

Section 41 (4) of the Children and Family Services Act states that “Where a parent or guardian consents to a disposition order being made pursuant to Section 42 that would remove the child from the parent or guardian’s care and custody, the court shall:(a) ask whether the agency has offered the parent or guardian services that would enable the child to remain with the parent or guardian(b) ask whether the parent or guardian has been consulted and, where the child is 12 years of age or more, whether the child has consulted independent legal counsel in connection with the consent; and(c) “satisfy itself that the parent or guardian understands and, where the child is 12 years of age or older, that the child understands the nature and consequences of the consent and consents to the order being sought and every consent is voluntary.”

Despite this law, the mother has been struggling to get a lawyer for her, now, 16 year old daughter for 4 years. I and another advocate, Marilyn Dey, sat as witnesses in the courtroom 4 years ago, when the daughter was 12 years old, as this mother requested a lawyer for her daughter. Despite the law declaring a 12 year old to be mature enough to be a party to the proceedings, the Children’s Aid lawyer argued that he did not believe a child of this age should have her own lawyer because he felt that access to certain documentation would be upsetting to a child of this age.

It is important to note that this was a general observation linked to the lawyer’s personal understanding of the abilities of a twelve years old. The lawyer did not make any specific observations about the abilities of this particular child. On this statement alone - the justice disallowed the child her right to have her own lawyer.

We were appalled! Since when should the personal opinion of a lawyer come before the law! The law had declared 12 year olds to be capable - what gave the lawyer, and the justice, the justification to flippantly wave away this legal right?

It should be noted here that when senators representing the Federal Senate Committee came to Halifax in June of 2005, they raised the issue that they believed that 8 year olds were capable of having their own lawyers and were inquiring why the age had been set at 12.

While this mother struggled through the courts attempting to rescue her daughter from this system, she was denied access to her daughter. However, approximately 4 years ago, when her daughter was twelve, the Halifax Children’s Aid Society allowed the daughter to write letters to her mother. Upon receiving these letters, the mother immediately replied, but it was not until 2 years later, when the mother finally saw her child, that she discovered that none of these letters were given to her daughter.

This poor child had finally been allowed to write her mother, but because she was never allowed to receive any of her mother’s letter’s, she was left wondering why her mother had not answered. One could only imagine the rejection this child was made to feel through this ordeal. The Halifax Children’s Aid Society cannot possibly defend this action as being in “the best interest of the child”? Indeed, to do such a thing is mental cruelty!

When the daughter, was 14 years old she located and contacted her mother. When they met, the daughter stated that she wanted her own lawyer and it has been a roller coaster ride ever since.First, this mother and daughter were directed to provincial legal aid. It is important to note that there is grave concerns with legal aid because both legal aid and Halifax Children’s Aid is overseen by the provincial government - Many see trying to get a legal aid lawyer to battled Children’s Aid/Service or the provincial government Agency as nothing more than a conflict of interest!

When the mother attempted to make arrangements to see a legal aid lawyer, she was then informed by the provincial legal aid officials that she could not assist her daughter in finding a lawyer, that the child would have to do this herself. Finding a lawyer can be an daunting experience for adults. To expect a 12 year old child to do so by herself is not realistic.

Then, after being told that the child had to look for her own lawyer, the story suddenly changed - the mother was then informed that the child already had a lawyer, that the guardian ad litem’s lawyer was the child’s lawyer. This is totally incorrect information. The guardian ad litem’s lawyer is there to protect the legal interests of the guardian ad litem NOT the child.

And let me also clarify, the guardian ad litem , a person appointed to represent the child’s wishes in court in their absence, is not the child’s lawyer either. This person is NOT independent from the system, and works very closely with Children’s Aid/Service or the provincial government Agency. From our advocacy work, we are aware of blatant disregard for the children’s requests through their guardian ad litems and that there are no checks and balances in place for the children to determine if their concerns or requests have indeed been brought forward. All to often, the children naively believe the guardian ad litems have done their jobs.Children and parents are told they are not allowed to discuss court concerns during their visitations but in our advocacy work we have determined that when parents have discussed these issues with their older children, that it is not unusual that the parents realize that issues the children believed were being brought before the court were NOT!

Back to the family in question - Finally, the child did contact legal aid on her own and she was informed by the secretary that a particular lawyer had been assigned to her and she was given a card with the lawyer’s name on it. The child made many frustrating phone calls attempting to set up a meeting with this lawyer, but her calls were never returned. Eventually, this lawyer contacted the mother’s lawyer stating she had never received any communication from this child!

After this, the daughter, on her own accord, at the age of 14, left the group home in which she was residing and went to live with her mother. The Children’s Aid Society responded by serving the mother a “Protective Intervention Order” demanding her appearance in court July 5, 2005. Though the police had been contacted, the mother understood that they do not see grounds to intervene.

During this time, the Halifax Children’s Aid was refusing to allow this child to have her personal items including her prescription medication. Please note that Children’s Aid/Services and the government Agency will use such an action against a parent if they are attempting to justify taking a child away from their family.

When the mother and daughter visited the daughter’s doctor, the same doctor who was seeing this child while she was at the group home, the doctor made a direct call to the group home, in front of the mother and daughter requesting her medicine - The doctor was shocked to be told that the medication would not be forth coming .

Frustrated, the mother finally approached an independent lawyer to represent her daughter. This lawyer had already heard a number of disturbing things about the system and he indicated that he was keen on representing this child. But this possibility was shut down when the legal aid office refused to issue a certificate of service for this lawyer.

Over the next two years, the daughter spent time at the group home and with her mother. These were not visitations that were sanctioned by the system but it was apparent that both mother and daughter were determined to have a relationship. Unfortunately, no services were offered to assist with this reunification, services that were desperately needed for a mother who had last been a mother to a seven year old and a daughter who had long ago forgotten how to respond to a mother.

It is important to note that up until the child found her mother, there had been no unusual problems with her in the group home. When the child returned from meeting her mother she reported being deliberately provoked by the staff. This goading resulted in angry outbursts by the child. The first incident was throwing milk in the face of one of the house workers.
As advocates, we have no problem believing this intentional goading by individuals in the system because we have witnessed this ourselves, even during court appearances! In one case, totally unprovoked, a self-representing woman was tackled by the security guard after she had gathered her notes and was walking down the aisle towards the door. There were at least 5 court witnesses that day- one a World War 2 Vet who shouted out to the justice to do something. Instead, the justice just stood there, silently watching the spectacle for a few seconds before she turned on her heels and retired to her chamber.

In response, I quickly followed the guard and this poor woman as they rolled through the doors into a small outer chamber. When I got there, the woman was pinned half on the floor and half on the wall. Then I calmly repeated to the guard 3 times - “I am a witness- I am a witness- I am a witness” In response the woman simply stated twice “She is a witness- She is a witness”. And then, the guard backed off, without a word, and let the woman go home.

One night, a fellow advocate was shocked to get a phone call from this child. This 14 year old had been hauled off to the police station in handcuffs for the aforesaid incident, throwing a glass of milk at the worker! We were appalled . What were they trying to do to this child? Scare her into compliance? She was in tears.

Again, I ask, where is “the best interest” of this child being served? Is criminalizing this child for such action in this child’s best interest?

Over the next 2 years, this group home managed to rack up over 30 charges against this child, including missing curfew, smoking cigarette, damaging the carpet etc, as well as punching a worker in the face.

A few times this child left the group home, spending nights on the street and at times phoning one of our advocates, begging for a place to stay. Unfortunately, this was an act that was deemed too risky because this advocate had a child of her own that she had only recently gotten out of the clutches of this system. We have been informed that one absence from the group home resulted when the child had phoned to inform the staff that she was going to be a bit late making curfew and she was told that the police would be waiting to haul her off when she came in! Under these circumstances, could you blame the child for not going back?

We are aware that this child was eventually sent to “ the province’s secure treatment facility in Truro” that professes to assist troubled children. However, children in the system have reported that being sent to Truro is often used by workers to threaten them.

Now, we are deeply upset to find out that there is talk of sending this child out of province or even out of country. There is also grave concern that this child is now being deemed to be functioning at a grade four level, (she is in grade 10) and that she has all kinds of psychological problems. We do not agree with this assessment. The advocate who has been working with this child over 4 years has always described this child as being bright, well mannered (please, thank-you, your welcome), with a good head on her shoulders. When meeting with this advocate over the Christmas holidays, she was touched when this young lady brought small gifts for her and her daughter, a coffee mug and a small teddy bear.

Understand, the criminal charges against this child starting racking up only after the group home staff started goading this child after she located her mother, and all of these action are specific to the group home and group home workers.

We are also well aware that it is not beyond this system to produce fraudulent assessments. We have had assessment done by this system reviewed by well known and respected PHD psychologists. In court, they have testified vehemently against these assessments with nothing good to say about them at all! Here in Halifax, we arranged to have a PHD psychologist speak publicly on this issue. In this meeting, she candidly confessed there were a grave problem with assessments done for Children’s Aid/Services and the government Agency here in Nova Scotia .

Besides using this assessment to justify sending this child to out-of- province facilities, we have no doubt that Halifax Children’s Aid will now bring this forward to justify not allowing this, now, 16 year old child to have her own lawyer. If you review the history this child has had trying to get her own lawyer, it is not difficult to ascertain that this is the basis of this negative assessment against this child - Not to mention that this would then classify her as special needs giving the system, and the group home, more money for this child.

How ironic that this child had to be criminalized before she was allowed to have her own lawyer - a criminal lawyer- yet she has been persistently denied a family court lawyer for her dealings with Halifax Children‘s Aid!

Please understand, that we have not been able to find one child in the system who has been able to find an independent lawyer. One of our advocates, when her family was being victimized, approached a number of regular, non-legal aid lawyers to represent her child and was informed repeatedly that they did not even know a mechanism by which they could represent a child “in care”.

17. Ombudsman's Office : More Gripes Please

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More Gripes Please?

I am so frustrated. . . . and so tired. I have just returned from a 2 ½ hour meeting with the Ombudsman’s Office of Nova Scotia. This meeting, the third of a series of meetings with this office since August of 2004, has manifested the roller coaster downturn that unfortunately we, who are trying to fight the system, have come to expect. As Thelma and I walked the hallway after the meeting we were already discussing other avenues to pursue. “We are resistant. Knock us down and we will pop right back up again” I defiantly declared as we headed for the elevator. Like those carnival games you see on TV. Pop the pegs down with a mallet and they pop right back up again!

It wasn’t that everything that was said at this meeting was negative, but at the beginning of the meeting the Ombudsman, Dwight Bishop, wasted valuable time expressing to us the wonderful “evidence” of the good works of the Foster Care system that had been revealed to him at one of their presentations . Yes a propaganda presentation! Some of the people in our group, I included, had already experienced such propaganda meetings.

“They are doing a splendid job. There is no need for us to get involved with them” the Ombudsman resounded. To me, this was mind-boggling! For a man whose job it was to hear complaints against municipal and provincial government offices and establishments, it was bizarre to hear him defend these people. (We discoveried that the Ombudsman, Dwight Bishop, was a retired RCMP office - a person who is rigorously trained to protect the government at all costs!) Such expressions devalued our horrendous experiences , and left us sincerely wondering if we had come to the right place.

Personally, except for the last few minutes of our 2 1/2 hour meeting, I was noticeably and purposely ignored by the Ombudsman. The ombudsman would not even look at me, steadfastly staring at Thelma, even when I attempted to interject. In fact, whenever I spoke, his gaze on Thelma intensified, and he interrupted me like I was totally invisible. At one point, I remember rolling my eyes and I mouthing to the assistant ombudsman, who had been so kind and attentive to us in the last meeting, “He’s totally ignoring me.” After the meeting, Thelma expressed to me that she believed he was “afraid” to speak to me. By this I gathered, that my reputation as a knowledgeable speaker had proceeded me and that he had no intention of verbally engaging with me.

Well now that I have let out a little steam, let me tell you how we got to this third visit.
Over time, a number of people I had connected with over our common concerns about this corrupt system had, now and then, brought up the subject of the ombudsman’s office. “The ombudsman’s office. They’re paid by the government! How are they going to help with our concerns against the government system” was the general reply. Years previous, Thelma had gone to this office, taking in all her documentation but they did nothing to assist her.

As for the alleged existence of a “Children’s” Ombudsman’s office, well that just seemed to be a fable-of-fantasy. There had always been whispers of such an office but no one seemed to know if it really existed. Even the people at Dalhousie Legal Aid didn’t seem to know. But, though rumors of the existence of a Children’s Ombudsman’s office would surface from time to time, none of us thought it worth our while to expend energy searching for this elusive holy grail sponsored by the very government that was victimizing us.

However, on July 15, 2004, a most amazing article appeared in the local newspaper. Ombudsman: More grips please the story banner read. Above the four-columned story two serious faces peered out of the paper, strangely unified by their somber gazes despite their physical differences. One was a tall distinguished white haired gentleman, perfectly groomed, with a well-trimmed mustache, white shirt and conservative, tidy, checked tie. The other was an unusually young looking woman, shorter, with dark wind-tossed hair, sporting an open collared shirt with a crew necked shirt beneath. To the right of these two, was a second woman, short haired, with glasses, a dark business jacket and a white blouse. Her eyes seemed to twinkle and her smile shone so that the contrast of her expression made me wondered how she had managed to get into a picture with these two grave grumblies .

Supposedly these three, the ombudsman, Dwight Bishop; the representative of the Children’s Section (the wind tossed lassie); and the woman overseeing the new division handling complaints from seniors (the sparkling smiler); were out on a whirlwind tour across Nova Scotia, attempting to drum up more business for the ombudsman’s office. At first glance, this sounded most excellent, but the details in the story revealed something different. These people were going to their regular pit stops, the youth detention centres and other institutions connected with the Justice Department, and instead of informing the general public about their existence and their services, they were meeting with municipal mayors and the people in municipal executive offices, they very people they are suppose to handle complaints against!

All of us connected with this struggle were aghast! If it was more business they wanted, all they had to do was to start helping the children in care, and their families. The concerns in the metro area alone, we felt, would keep them more than busy. This office seemed more interested in advertising themselves to the government than informing the people who have been victimized. Basic question: how can people access assistance if they do not even know it is there to begin with?

I must admit, this chance article in the paper confounded and fired me up, so much so , that, for the first time, I decided to delve into the ombudsman office a bit more. As a result, I was went on a web search expedition, slowly unearthing all kinds of interesting information about this office. Of particular interest was a posting on the Nova Scotia Office of the Ombudsman website declaring they did indeed give assistance to children in the care and custody of the province.
This posting read:

Nova Scotia Office of the Ombudsman Children’s SectionIf you are a child or youth in the care or custody of the Province of Nova Scotia or you have an interest in the programs and services provided to children and youth in provincial facilities . . .The Nova Scotia Office of the Ombudsman Children’s Section may be able to help you.
Printed from http://www.gov.ns.ca/ombu/Child_Ombud/default.asp

It seemed totally strange that I had been connecting with victimized families for five years now, and the existence of the Ombudsman’s Children’s Section had been nothing more than mist in the wind, yet here they were boldly declaring themselves as defenders of children in care on the internet. At this point, I decided to make an exploratory phone call to the Ombudsman’s Office, Children’s Section, to get clarification of their assistance for children in care.

As a result, I spoke with the wind tossed lassie, the young lady who worked in the Children’s Section. Not wanting the reputation I seemed to have made for myself within government circles to influence the answers, I star 67ed my phone and identified myself only as a Nova Scotia citizen who wanted to know a bit more about the office, what they did, and their jurisdiction. To begin with, I let her ramble on in general areas that did not particularly interest me before gently steering her to the information I was really interested in. Then, I casually asked the questions I wanted answered. In response, I was told that the ombudsman’s office Children’s Section was there to handle complaints from children who had been removed from their parents and had been placed in the care of the province, whether they had complaints about Children Services, a case worker, or a foster parent. I was also told they were also there to help the families of these children if they had any concerns or complaints about the system. I was careful to get her to repeat herself, and reflect back to her my understanding of what she had said so that there would not be any misunderstanding on my part. Then I sincerely but nonchalantly thanked her for the talk and ended the conversation.

But all that glitters is not gold! After this initial contact, I sourced out additional information that informed me that this office was not implementing their jurisdiction over the children in care! This included three significant documents. The first two were the last two financial statements of the Ombudsman’s office Nova Scotia Office of the Ombudsman, Annual Accountability Report for the Fiscal Year 2001/02 and Nova Scotia Office of the Ombudsman, Annual Accountability Report for the Fiscal Year 2002/03.

The first report declared: “the Office [Ombudsman’s Children’s Section] was under spent by $201,248.05 due to the delay in the implementation of the Children’s Ombudsman’s service to children in care of the government (Community Services, residential Child-Caring Facilities)”.
The second, report stated: “the Office of the Ombudsman was under spent [by $124,000] because jurisdiction issues have delayed the implementation of the Children’s Section service to children in care of the government.”

The third document, It’s Time to Break the Silence: Creating Meaningful Access to Rights and Advocacy Services for Young People in Care in Ontario, was as a scathing report against the Child Advocacy Office in Ontario (the equivalent to our Ombudsman’s Office, Children’s Section in Novas Scotia). This document, published by Defense for Children International - Canada 2003, an international organization formed in response to the United Nations adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989, includes specifics about the Nova Scotia Office of the Ombudsman, Children’s Section:

"The Children’s Section of the Nova Scotia Ombudsman was established through the ombudsman’s power of delegation under the Ombudsman’s Act in June 1999. The ombudsman delegated a Children’s Ombudsman and a group of field officers to staff the section. . . Although the Children’s Ombudsman’s service mandate also includes young people in child protection care and secure treatment, a multi-agency agreement to monitor and investigate services within child protection facilities has not yet been implemented. "

Shortly after, on August 11, 2004, Thelma and I and a third woman arranged a meeting with the Ombudsman’s Office Children’s Section. As we waited in the seating area, noting the bullet-proof glass and the security doors, we passed disparaging remarks amongst ourselves about this sad state of affairs. Surely they knew there were disgruntle people out there. Disgruntled enough to warrant the installation of bullet-proof glass. As I panned the waiting room, I noticed two other closed doorways, one in the adjacent wall, the other, opposite the main doorway into the office. I assumed, wrongly, that one might be a washroom for the public.

Eventually a young, tall, soft spoken, well mannered African-Canadian gentleman came from the office, introduced himself and then ushered us through the opposite doorway into a windowless conference room. “A black hole with foul air”, Thelma would tell me later. “The black hole of Calcutta” I would clarify. But we didn’t even have time to sit down because, seeing that there weren’t enough chairs and not wanting to take the time to drag them in from behind the secured area, this man opened up the other mystery door, with turned out to be the “back door” to the office. So, we were ultimately ushered into “the inner sanctum” , we called it, a larger conference room with windows running along the length of one wall.

The wind-tossed lassie, the representative for the Children’s Section was waiting for us, introduced herself, as we settled around the large conference table. I hauled out my 2 large binders, from my briefcase, and, as the meeting began, both of the ombudsman reps took out their tidy little notebooks and, with heads bent, began meticulously notating every word. I recall feeling a bit ignored with their heads bent so, but not wanting to be outdone, and thinking it important to equalize the perception of power, that seemed to emanate from this diligent scribbling, I whipped out my notebook and began seriously making my own notations.The first question I asked was what exactly were they doing about looking after the concerns and complaints of children who were taken in to care by Children’s Services. In reply, the woman began rambling about the office making visits to youth in detention centres. I interrupted her and repeated the question. She now proceeded to ramble off in a different direction, once again avoiding my specific inquiry. Again, I stopped her, repeated the same question, only to have her, again, ramble off onto the pathway of avoidance.

For the third time, I stopped her, again reiterating the question.

This time, there was a pause. I guess she finally realized that I was not going to let her avoid my question. She looked at me and now, matter-of-factly, told me that the jurisdiction over the children in care had not yet been implemented. Of course I had already known this, but I hadn’t expected them to blurt this out so early in the meeting, especially since this woman had already told me different when I had spoken with her on the phone just weeks earlier. But keep in mind, this woman did not know that I had been that unnamed “citizen of Nova Scotia” asking questions. I also sensed that she was using this matter-of fact tone to try to steer me away from this subject. But, of course, we honed in on the subject, and as we began to tell them our concerns, interjecting a number of questions, it was apparent that these two people were not comfortable. As a result it was quickly communicated to us that they wanted to arrange a meeting for us with the assistant ombudsman. We were obliging to this, but Thelma stated that she wanted us to see the head honcho, Mr. Ombudsman, Dwight Bishop, himself. No, we were told, that would not be possible, access to the ombudsman, had to “follow proper procedure” and we would have to meet with the assistant ombudsman first.

Not wanting to forewarn them, until we met with the assistant ombudsman, that we were aware of the monies given to them specifically to implement jurisdiction over the children in care that was not spent since 2001, we started by inquiring in a general way about the Children’s Section, how did the Children’s Section came about and what they were doing. The information we were being given did not jive with the information I had already gleaned from this office’s own published materials and left me wondering what they actually knew about the history of their own office.

In the course of our meeting, we held nothing back, informing these scribes of our many concerns: our problems with Children’s Aid/Services, the corrupt assessments people were forced into, the conflict of interest that existed between many of the assessors and CA/CS, the unfruitful complaints to the Nova Scotia Board of Examiners, and we also managed to touch on some of the concerns we had with the judicial system.

I informed them that I was aware of the present complaint system implemented by Children’s Services from their own manual, Department of Community Service Family and Children‘s Services Division: Manual of Standards, Policies, and Procedures for Children in Care and Custody, Section 1.4 and 1.4.1, effective August 1, 2004. This manual stated that it was the responsibility of the social worker in Children’s Services to inform the children of their right to complain, and that if the child was over 16 years old that the workers were to instruct the child to make a complaint to the police. I informed them that they, of all people, should know that such a process was completely unacceptable, that this was the very reason there was an ombudsman’s office. One could not expect the very people who might be complained against to educate children on the complaint system. Did they really expect a social worker was going to instruct a child to call the police against them?

We also informed them of our concerns about the accountability of the numbers of children in care. I explained the usage of snapshot data, data for a single predetermined day, as the only accountability for the numbers of children in care. Giving the numbers for children in various categories for a single day, I explained, could not possibly account for the numbers of children who go through the system in the course of the year.

I suggested that when they did begin implementing their jurisdiction over the children in care, that Children Services needed to inform them of all the children who were in care, and that the ombudsman’s office needed to make sure that they visited every child and informed them of their right to complain through the ombudsman’s office, and that they should also visited every family and also inform them of their right to complain through the ombudsman’s office. As new children are brought into the system, I continued, the ombudsman’s office needs to get out and educate each new child and family. This way, I also pointed out, someone, besides Children’s Aid/Services would have the actual numbers for the children going through the system in the course of a year.

At this point, the diligent scribbler raised their heads from their notebooks informing us that they felt this was a very good suggestion, as they nodded their heads to each other.I then educated these scribes on the absence of an annual review of the Children and Family Services Act as proscribed by law under Section 88, subsection 1and 2, clarifying that only 3 “annual” reviews had been done since 1990, the last in 1999.

When a child is taken into care, we explained, not only are the parents, who the legal action has been taken against, automatically sent into assessments, but so is any other family member who dares raise their hand to seek custody of the child. We also informed them that two well-known and well-respected PHD psychologists had already strongly spoken out, in court, against the way these assessments were being prepared. We told them how one of these psychologists, in a recent public information meeting, had candidly expressed her concerns about what was going on with these assessments, done for Children’s Aid/ Children’s Services, all across Nova Scotia, but that their was a “particular problem in the Metro area”, so much so that, now, she rarely took cases dealing with CA/CS in the Metro area, despite the her office location in Halifax.
We informed told them that the right to have the assessment interviews taped were continually and adamantly denied - a right, we were told at the information meeting, that was meant to protect both parties. We informed them that in some cases, original notes taken during these interviews had been shredded (with signed letters admitting to this!)- such notes, we had been informed, were suppose to stay with the file and were suppose to be available to any person reviewing the assessments. We also told them that many of the persons doing these assessments were doing so under lucrative contracts with Children’s Aid/Services and that an important assessment establishment had already admitted, under oath, that most of their work came from Children’s Aid/Services - this situation, we had been informed, was not ethically appropriate. We also explained to them that according to the professional reviews of assessments, tests utilized in these assessments were wrongly given and incorrectly used to guarantee a negative outcome.

As a result of these serious transgressions, many people were complaining about being misrepresented and misquoted in the body of the written assessments, some reporting 100% inaccuracy! We informed them that formal complaints had been lodged to the Nova Board of Examiners in Psychology, that the investigative process was done in total secrecy, that basic information about the complaint process was denied the complainants, despite repeated requests for this information, and that suddenly, after 1 year of the complaints being before the board, the complaints were dismissed. Then, when letters requesting an appeal were filed with the board, the registrar of the board quickly sent out letters to the complainants stating that “there was no right to appeal” and, to add insult to injury, she was “not prepared to discuss this investigation” with the complainants.

We then touched upon some of our concerns with the judicial system, including the justices, the lawyers, and the court administration. Preparing to leave I told them that I would be willing to e-mail them the concerns that I had compiled about the assessments and the Children and Family Services Act. Agreeing to this, they informed us that they would contact us about a second appointment with the assistant ombudsman as soon as it could be set up.

After we were escorted through the security doors and while we were walking down the hallway to the elevator, the three of us, me, Thelma, and the other woman expressed to each other the thought that we felt we could be hopeful about the Ombudsman’s Office but that we were still realistic enough because of our past experiences to know that the door might very well suddenly slam shut in our faces. We have learned the art of keeping the balance of being forever hopeful, so that we will not give up seeking the help that we need, but at the same time realizing that this will probably turn into another dead end, so that when it does happen we are not devastated. We keep saying to ourselves, “There must be someone out there with the ability and knowledge to help us who will do the right thing” We want to change the system for the families that are being victimized now and in the future. For some of us, me included, it is too late to make a difference in my individual case, but we struggle on to make a difference for others.


The Sham Revealed (More Grips continued)

It would be 2 months before we got in to see the assistant ombudsman. First we were told that they needed more time to scrutinize the documents I had e-mailed them. Then it became a problem of finding a date when we could meet. Meanwhile Thelma kept requesting to see the head ombudsman, but the same reply was continually given: we needed to “follow protocol”, we needed to meet with the assistant ombudsman first, before we could see the ombudsman. Thelma was annoyed by this but I didn’t see that we were being given much choice in the matter. “Let’s jump through the hops”, I suggested. If we don’t see the ombudsman after following their “protocol”, then we will complain.

So, in October Thelma and I toddled off to meet the assistant ombudsman. The third woman who had accompanied us to the first meeting was out of town and though we had arranged for another woman to take her place, she, unfortunately, ended up making a scheduling error so that Thelma and I had to make the meeting ourselves.

This time, they showed us into the inner sanctum immediately. The young wind-tossed lassie from the Children’s Division was there, as was the assistant ombudsman, but the polite and gentle spoken man from our last visit was nowhere to be seen. In his stead was that sparkling smiler I had seen months previous shining from the newspaper picture, the person assigned to look after complaints from seniors. The rapport in this meeting was much better, stemming, I believed, from the eye contact made possible from only one woman, the smiler, taking the notes this time. Thelma and I both felt we were treated with respect during this meeting, and we also sensed that the interest expressed was genuine.

Much of the information given at the first meeting had to be reiterated for the assistant ombudsman. Concerning the complaints submitted to the Nova Scotia Board of Examiners in Psychology (NSBEP), we were informed that the ombudsman’s office could not interject if there was an established complaint process, but if the complaint process had been followed through and dissatisfaction still remained, then, they could intervene. Thelma and I assured them that this was indeed our situation, but in response, we were told that they would first have to determine if they had jurisdiction over the NSBEP. I was perplexed about any hesitation over jurisdiction. The NSBEP is an organization that was formed in response to a provincial act, The Psychologist Act . In addition, 2 of the board members are lay person who are appointed by the provincial government. To me, it seemed cut and dry, but obviously, to them, it was not.

Referring to my copies of the financial statements of the ombudsman’s office, I informed them that I was aware of the unspent budget money apportioned to the Ombudsman’s office by the legislature. I stated that was I was also aware that, according to the financial statements, this money had not been spent because they had not yet implemented their jurisdiction over the children in care.

In response, we were told that they had not implemented jurisdiction over the children in care because, having jurisdiction only in provincial and municipal matters, they did not have jurisdiction over the Children Aid Societies, which are private organizations.What we understood these people to be telling us was that because they did not have jurisdiction over all the children in care they opted to protect none of the children in care. The logic of doing nothing for the children they did have jurisdiction over, the children under the care of Children Services, totally escaped me, especially when they had the money from the legislature to do so! However, at this time, though it was right under my nose, an important deduction was still eluding me.

In the meantime, endeavoring to forge a positive relationship this office, I bit my tongue about this seemingly illogical lack of action. Then the assistant ombudsman, showing me an added insert to a booklet version of the Ombudsman Act went on to explain that they had recently gotten the amendments required to extend their jurisdiction over the Children’s Aid Societies, though, according to her, this had taken years to push through. I expected that to be true.Having had this jurisdictional glitch explained, I now thought to ask about their jurisdiction over the children in foster care.

In response, we were told that the Ombudsman’s Office felt no need to secure jurisdiction of these children. This response disturbed me greatly because in my original telephone conversation with the representative of the Children’s Section, I had been assured that their jurisdiction did indeed include complaints children might have against their foster parents.

“Oh no, no I told them, the children in foster care NEED your protection.” From here I proceeded to convey to them the concerns that I had experienced about cigarette burns on my grandson as well as the mysterious red marks around his knees. I also related to these women that disturbing things had come to light about what was going on “below the 49th parallel” (in the U.S.) as well as what was going on in Central and South America, and that we should not be so naive to think that similar things were not also going on in Canada. I referred them to recent finding of children in the US foster system being used for sex and pornography, and that the bodies of missing children in Central and South America had for some time now been surfacing in ditches and garbage dumps badly mutilated after their organs had been harvested. I also referred them to the Florida case it was found that a young girl had been missing from the system for 2 years, with the case worker filing false reports of visitation while the foster parents continuing to receive money for the child’s care. The exposure of this case had set off a state wide review of all children in care with the conclusion that over 500 children were missing from the system. Where were our missing children?

What was interesting about this was that not a word of dissention came from the lips of these women as I related these “worse case possibilities” about what might be happening to our children. In fact they were nodding their heads as I spieled on. From this reaction, I deduced that they were also aware of these cases and situations. If there was any surprise on their part, I think they were surprised that someone outside of their circle was also knowledgeable of this information and was spitting it back to them. As we concluded this meeting, both Thelma and I understood that the Ombudsman’s office did agree that they now needed to work towards an amendment to acquire jurisdiction over the children in foster care. In ending, I implored them to work towards this a quickly as possible, that the children could not afford waiting for this jurisdiction to take years to implement, as did the implementation of the jurisdiction over the children in the Children’s Aid Societies.

As Thelma and I walked out of that office that day, we were hopeful that these women we had spoken to were sincere in their intentions to help our children, the children in care in Nova Scotia, but from all of our past experienced, we also knew that the other shoe could suddenly drop. We reminded ourselves of this and the need to keep that balance between hope, to enable us to keep going forward, and preparing ourselves for the worse, so that we would not be utterly discouraged and give up “the fight”.

Within 6 weeks Thelma and I were back in the Ombudsman’s Office. We had finally made the “big time” - we were going to able to meet with the head honcho, Mr. Ombudsman, himself. Thelma had made a number of phone calls to set this appointment up. When the secretary finally phoned back to verify an appointment date, Thelma reminded the secretary that I would be accompanying her. To this the secretary informed Thelma that this appointment was for her alone.

When Thelma informed me of this, I was greatly distressed. Was this the divide and conquer routine? I informed Thelma that even if this was a meeting set up to discuss only her concerns, she had a right to have a support person, and besides this she would want to have a witness present if anything inappropriate transpired. I also concluded that this might also be a mistake on the part of the secretary. She might not know any better.

As a result, we decided to just go to the meeting together as we had always done. I have learned a lot about dealing with people over the last 5 years. One is fawning ignorance, and just pushing forward despite the obstacles. I take no pride in learning these tactics, but one needs to fight fire with fire, especially when the other side keeps erecting barriers and slamming doors shut. For me, it is not the fight that invigorates me. I come from an extremely shy childhood and youth. I was that child who literally hid behind her mother’s skirt, peeking out at the world when I dared. I rarely looked at or watched people. As a youth, I was the one with that down-turned Princess Di gaze.

As at the first meeting, the dark windowless conference room was originally opened for us. But once again, it was quickly determined that we would be escorted into the “inner sanctum”. No one made mention of my presence, so together Thelma and I sauntered through the “back door”. As usual, I took my place at the end of the long table and proceeded to lay out my 3 extremely thick binders, one with information pertaining specifically to the Ombudsman’s Office, one concerning, Children’s Aid/ Children’s Services, and the last concerning the psychologists/ psychology in Nova Scotia. The ombudsman, and two of the women who had seen us at the last meeting, the assistant ombudsman and the representative of the Children’s Section were present at this meeting.

It should be noted, the ombudsman is an ex-RCMP officer. A friend of mine, whose father was RCMP, was troubled by this. She stated that no RCMP officer should be appointed to such an office, that the RCMP are trained to follow orders unquestionably from the government and that this was not the sort of person you would want in this position. In response to this concern, I am determined to do a thorough web search of this man as soon as I am able to find the time.

As soon as this man entered, he strapped his eyes upon Thelma. He acknowledged Thelma but he did not acknowledge me. Whenever I spoke, his eyes drilled even more intensely on Thelma, interrupting my sentence with some sort of remark to Thelma. At first, I thought he was just being rude and I wondered at his audacity. “Excuse me, I am here . . . .” I began to say at one point. “He’s totally ignoring me” I mouthed to the assistant ombudsman at another. But as the hours progressed (the meeting lasted 2 ½ hours), I realized this was a deliberate maneuver on his part, never swerving from his tactic, consistent and persistent. He was following his training, training that, according to my friend, included espionage interrogation.

I watched as this man controlled the room. The other two women sat there and said nothing as he continued this bizarre behavior towards us, not even flinching when he contradicted things they had told us in the last meeting. Even when I challenged the wind tossed lassie by telling her that I had been the person who had phoned enquiring over the jurisdiction of the Children’s Section, she didn’t even flinch, sitting there completely silent. It was a surreal situation. I recall, at one point, saying that I wished I have taped this meeting (not that they would have let us). And as I watched this man continue his manipulation, I couldn’t help but think, “You are ignoring me at your peril”. When I came home, I immediately began writing the chapters concerning the Ombudsman’s Office.

For my 10 or 15 minutes of fame, at the end of the meeting, I held nothing back. Between me and Thelma we quickly gave the large overview of all the departments connected with this corruption. The ombudsman replied with the comment that what we needed was an inquiry, to which we replied, “How do we go about getting an inquiry?”. What was important here was that the Ombudsman shot back without any time for thought or consideration in a blase tone, “I don’t know”. - I’m sorry, but don’t tell me that an ex-RCMP officer doesn’t know anything about inquiries.

As the meeting wound down, I was so proud of Thelma, she stood her ground with this man despite his penetrating glare and near the end she quoted Martin Luther King:"Our lives begin to end, the day we become silent about the things that matter."

She also quoted Anne-Sophie Dumetz, of Ottawa from a clipping in MacLean’s magazine, Dec 8, 2003 in reference to the use of children in the sex trade in Asia and North America.“If we participate in the silence, then we participate in the crime”.

Afterwards Thelma told me she felt like a fool quoting these statements. But I assured her that I was proud of her. She had spoken truth. Because she had spoken truth on corrupt ears it had not been received but I assured her “I heard you and God heard you. You spoke truth and I am very proud of you” And then I added, “When they do the movie version of this story, this will be the scene they’ll show on television.”

As soon as I got home, while everything was still fresh, I began to write the chapters concerning the Ombudsman’s Office. I also wanted to write a letter to the editor concerning this office, but such letters need to be precise and poignant. Where was my focus? Then, as I wrote, suddenly the pieces fell into place. It had been right in front of my face all the time but I just hadn’t seen it. Now it all made sense, and the realization of what was before me shocked and disappointed me. Now I knew this Ombudsman’s Office was a farce and a shame.

At the beginning of the last chapter, I related how the ombudsman was telling us how impressed he was by the foster homes through the presentation they had put on.

The foster homes! That was the key! That was the key!

You recall, I could not understand why the office had not taken over the jurisdiction of the children who had been taken into care through the provincially run Children Services. (Dartmouth is Children Services, Halifax is Children Aid Society). Then the office stalled implementation of their jurisdiction for years claiming that they wanted to get jurisdiction over the Societies before implementing their protective powers over the children.

But, here is the rub, what I didn’t see until now: having jurisdiction over children taken into care by Children Service Agencies and Children’s Aid Societies is meaningless without jurisdiction over the children in foster care, because when the children are taken into care by either the agencies or the societies, except for a few older children in group homes, they are all placed in foster care!

This distinction of foster care and Children’s Services and Children’s Aid was legally emphasized in a recent court ruling that came down from the province of British Columbia that stated that the Children’s Aid/ Children’s Services were not responsible when children were abused in foster care. To top this off, when Rollie Thompson, the family law expert at Dalhousie had spoken for us at a public meeting, he had commented on this very ruling, stating that this court ruling was applicable not only in British Columbia but it was also applicable across Canada.

So you see, the children are taken away from their families and than the provincial agencies or the private societies place them in foster homes where they wash their hands of all legal responsibility. If the Ombudsman’s Office gets jurisdiction of the Agencies and the societies but does not have jurisdiction over the children in foster care, then they have nothing! Nothing! Nothing!

It is the determination to protect the children of this province, children who have no voice and no protection that spurns me on. There is horrendous devastation going on and no one seems to care. There is a lot of collusion, a lot of corruption, and, I suspect, a lot of important butts to protect. When I try to explain the way I feel to my friends, I tell them that I am no hero. I am driven from within to do this . I have no chose. “I cannot not do this” I express. I tell them if I felt I had a choice maybe then I could accept this heroic label some like to throw on me. But I truly feel I do not have a choice. I must do what I can for those who do not have a voice of their own