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Queens Park Rally

October 7, 2008 permalink

A Rally for Accountability was held yesterday at Queens Park, Toronto. From 9am to 1pm a crowd gathered gradually, with many CAS activists getting a chance to meet each other and share experiences. Shortly after 1pm Andrew Skinner took the podium and introduced the speakers.

  • March just before the introduction of the first speaker, CAS, it's a mess! YouTube and flv.
  • Randy Hillier, MPP for Lanark, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington. YouTube and flv. He mentioned that when an MPP inquires about a children's aid case he gets the same brush-off as any parent, something we have pointed out many times before on this site.
  • Sheila White stood in for Hamilton Centre MPP Andrea Horwath, who was presiding in the legislature at the time. YouTube and flv.
  • Rev Dorian Baxter spoke at length about his own his own maltreatment at the hands of CAS, and his ultimate triumph for his children, but not for his finances. Here is a short clip from YouTube and flv.
  • An extemporaneous speaker described his own experience at the hands of CAS. He was not notified when his mother died. A sign at the rally in the spelling of a graduate, read: CAS IS AN EXTENSION OF RESIDENTUAL SCHOOL ABUSE. YouTube and flv.

While Andrew Skinner got the credit, the prime organizer of the rally was Jacqueline Dratwa. During the speeches, about 50 persons were participating at Queens Park. Many did not want their names mentioned in public. Here are some who consented to use of their names: Ed Allen / Hamilton, Guy Babineau, Jacqueline Dratwa, Joe Fappiano, Bill Flores, Neil Haskett / Sudbury, Mary Janiga / Hamilton, Cheryl Jarvis, Jeanne Leclerc / Sudbury, Patrick Lemieux / Sudbury, Kenneth McQuaid / Mattawa, Robert McQuaid / Mattawa, Cathy Norris / Brantford, Andrew Skinner / Hastings, Sean Slaven, Swayze / Moldessa, Kris Titus / wonderwoman, Tania Van Norman / Sudbury and Bev Yates.

There were also satellite rallies in other cities. We include below a report on the Queens Park Rally by Mary Janiga, and news reports about satellite rallies in Owen Sound and Cambridge.



DAY 1295

Queens Park rally October 6, 2008

I held a sign that said DAY 1295 for Vinny and Paige. I could not forget them today. That is how long I have written in my diary and that is how long I have not had them home. I shed a tear and thought about them today and they were on my mind today. I told Ed that is why we continue to fight.

Your parents/grandparents are still fighting for you Paige and Vinny and we still want you home. Even after 1295 days and after all that has happened we love you and care about you both.

Swayze, Mary Ed and Joe of Child Assist Services hit the highway on the road again in support of a rally at Queens park in Toronto that was put on by a group named Fighting 4 Families to stand up and fight against the Children's Aid Societies of this province of Ontario.

We all have one common goal and this is accountability of the Children's Aid Society and to Grant the Ombudsman oversight through Bill 93 (Legislation from Andrea Horwath's NDP MPP for Hamilton Center, private members' bill that was presented in the house in June of this year)

It was great to finally put a face to the people that we communicate with on the internet behind a computer screen on a daily or weekly basis through Canada Court Watch and Dufferin VOCA

It was a chilly day, and the sun peaked out when it could. We shared coffee with the homeless and talked with people from all walks of life. Even dogs and kids attended and many people would stop and ask me what the event was about and how they could get involved in the future.

We made our own tshirts for our members that attended, we brought signs and our bullhorn for noise and we went there in support of a just cause and common goal.

We shared laughter and tears, listened to stories of burdens of the systematic approach the CAS/CPS inflicts upon fathers, mothers, grandmothers, children and even our Native people in Canada spoke about the residential school atrocities committed against them that made 50 000 children die at the hands of the government, state and church over the past 100 years.

We were thankful for being a part of such a worthwhile effort. My totals from scanning the group that attended the protest throughout the day was around 60 supporters from various walks of life and from across the province as far away as Kingston to Brantford, Ontario. Alot of pictures were taken, Politicians made speeches and those that put the rally on were humble and did not want to take the true credit for organizing such an event.

All it takes is one voice to be heard and these people were heard if not today then tomorrow. Our children are our future and we must protect them as they will be the leaders of tomorrow

Source: Mary Janiga Blog for October 7, 2008

News for Monday, October 6th, 2008

CAS rally at MPP's office

Written by Diana Meder

A small rally is being staged outside local MPP Bill Murdoch's office to coincide with a similar event being held at Queens Park.

Today's rallies are being held to support Bill 93 -- asking for the Ontario Ombudsman to oversee Children's Aid Societies across the province.

The bill is up for Second Reading at the provincial legislature today.

Local parent Tracey Sprung says the bill needs to be passed so someone can watch over the decisions made by the CAS, who she claims is out of control.

In fact the bill and today's rally is being spearheaded by an NDP Hamilton area MPP who also has the support of a member of the Foster Care Council of Canada.

The group makes some strong claims against Children's Aid Societies saying they're funded in a way that promotes foster care and adoption.

They also claim more children are abused, neglected, sexually assaulted and murdered in care than they are in the general population.

Julie Lipsett of the Grey-Owen Sound CAS disputes those claims and says they don't require the Ombudsman's intervention.

She says they're already overseen by a provincial body -- the Children and Family Services Review Board.

Lipsett says they're also governed by a Board of Directors, the Children and Family Services Act and ultimately by judges who rule on their cases.

And Lipsett says Foster parents go through extensive training and background checks.

She says the CAS is an organization in the middle -- trying to help families and sometimes having to make tough decisions that turn into emotional issues.

Source: radio Owen Sound CFOS

Cambridge CAS rally

Cambridge mothers LeeAnne Caskenette (right) and Sherri-Lyn Ward are collecting signatures on a petition that supports Bill 93, which, if passed, would change Ontario's Ombudsman Act and allow the ombudsman to investigate decisions and recommendations made during the administration of a children's aid society. Both mothers, who rallied yesterday outside a children's services office on Hespeler Road, said too many children are removed from their homes based on "false allegations" against parents.

Source: Cambridge Times

Addendum: In her remarks Sheila White mentioned Wes and Cassandra, who were unable to attend because they could not afford transportation from British Columbia to Toronto. Here is a note from the same Cassandra suggesting a way participation may have been limited.



Did anyone notice that people who were planning on attending had to cancel at the last minute? I know of at least 3 people who cancelled at the last minute to attend the rally bc the CAS offered them a visit the same day as the rally. Seem odd to anyone else or is it just me? I have a theory. Could it be that a lot of those CAS offices make quick arrangements like visits with child or other "important" meeting requiring you to attend, knowing people will choose to see their children etc over attending the rally so that there are less people at those rallies? Which in turn lowers turnout. See what I'm getting at?

We would have been there if it wasn't for a money issue to make that kind of trip.

Just an observation.


Source: email from Wes & Cassandra, October 7, 2008

A Cambridge area resident who did not give permission to use his/her name, commented:

I have to do my work against CAS under a "No direct or indirect contact order, outside of Court, with the CAS Waterloo Region" currently and the officers I spoke with said that if I attended a rally which was held directly in front of CAS's Cambridge office the CAS could make allegations which might result in me going to jail.

And yet another unnamed demonstrator comments:



CAS worker exposes the shameful existence of what it must be like to be a CAS worker

October 6, 2008 an important day. After attending the rally for CAS accountability at Queens Park Toronto my three little justice fighters and I headed off to a protest demonstration at the Cambridge CAS. Once we arrived we placed our banner which reads, "STOP THE KIDNAPPINGS SUPPORT RESPONSIBLE CHILD PROTECTION" on the lawn in front of the main entrance, and started chanting with the other protesters.

After 20 minutes I started to believe that the CAS was planning something when I noticed someone peeking out from the bushes. Shortly afterwards out came a worker who identified herself as a Manulife employee interested in finding out what we were protesting about. I explained to her that I believed the CAS was an organization operating in secrecy and without accountability, costing the tax payer an awful lot of money. She then said, "I can assure you we are not making any money". Realizing that she had blown her cover she started to explain that she is on the board of directors and works for the CAS only part-time (whatever). She then went back inside and sent out the riding lawnmower which only blow dirt and dust (the grass didn't appear to need cutting) over me and my children until we left.

Source: email