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Office of the Children's Unlawyer
May 17, 2008 permalink
Canada Court Watch has much material on the Office of the Children's Lawyer, and is appealing to the public for more persons to come forward with information. Below is an abridged version of their comments.
Information wanted from children and parents about their experience with Ontario's Office of the Children's Lawyer!
(May 17, 2008) In a recent court hearing, Ms. Clare Burns, the Children's Lawyer of Ontario, personally intervened and attempted to discredit Canada Court Watch by claiming that Court Watch should not be allowed to monitor child protection cases in the courts and that Court Watch should not be considered as a media source for getting information out to the public. By her actions, Ms. Burns has only demonstrated that her agency is more worried about protecting the interests of its lawyers than it is interested in promoting accountability and transparency Court Watch has a copy of a video from the Law Society of Upper Canada in which Ms. Burns has stated that her office has determined that the recording of children can psychologically harm them. Yet, the Supreme Court of Canada has said that the video recording of children is a reliable source of evidence.
Ms. Burns takes the position that her government funded agency is a reliable source for providing services for children and that organizations such as Canada Court Watch should not be allowed to monitor how the Children's Lawyer's Office does its job. Her agency had previously argued this same position at a court hearing. The lawyers with the Office of the Children's Lawyer and the Children's Aid were defeated in court by a single Canada Court Watch reporter. Court Watch has received many complaints from children about their distrust of the court appointed Children's Lawyer. Children have testified that their court appointed children's lawyer has lied to the court about what they are saying and that they don't trust their children's lawyers. This being the case, why is Ms. Clare Burns so opposed to having her worker maintain an accurate record of meetings with children by simply audio recording them?
A previous report (link broken) released by a committee of citizens about the Children's Lawyer on just one case, provides some evidence as to the poor job this agency has done in the past. This report which was produced by the citizens of Ontario at no cost to the taxpayers, resulted in the Office of the Children's Lawyer being hauled before the Divisional Court In Toronto and harshly criticized by the court. Recent video testimony from a mother gives some more indication of how parents feel about this government funded agency and that problems continue to exist with this agency. Link to video.
Canada Court Watch feels that it is time for children and parents of Ontario who have had dealings with Ontario's Office of the Children's Lawyer, to have their say so that the elected officials of the Province of Ontario can know how the Children's Lawyer is performing under its mandate. Court Watch would like to gather testimony and other evidence from children and parents who have had dealings with the Office of the Children's Lawyer for the purpose of producing an investigative report on this agency. We are looking for video interviews with children and parents as well as court documents which will show how the Children's Lawyer has performed in various Ontario court cases. We want the names of individual lawyers who have worked as children's lawyers and we want feedback as to how well they performed. Testimony from mature children and teens will be most helpful. Whether a good or bad experience, Court Watch would like to hear from you. If you are interested in providing information or testimony in support of this effort, please contact Canada Court Watch at firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: Canada Court Watch