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December 1, 2010 permalink
Fifteen people conducted a rally in Sudbury supporting bill 131, to give Ontario's ombudsman authority to look into the MUSH sector, including children's aid societies. Passersby were invited to sign the petition. In two hours 330 signatures were collected and taken to the nearby office of MPP Rick Bartolucci. He declined to present them to the legislature since he is a cabinet minister. Below is an article from Sudbury Northern Life. Here are three pictures. The rally was covered by CBC radio (mp3), EastLink TV (wmv) and Sudbury Northern Life, below.
Group rallies for change to Ombudsman power
A small group of men and women gathered in downtown Sudbury during the morning of Dec. 1 to raise awareness and support for Bill 131.
The private member's bill, put forth by MPP Rosario Marchese (NDP - Trinity-Spadina), would give power to the Ontario Ombudsman to investigate complaints against government organiazations, including Children's Aid Societies.
The group of about 12 people held posters and toy dolls with signs saying “Children's Aid Destorys Families” and “Save me from CAS.” They chanted “No More CAS!” outside of Sudbury MPP Rick Bartolucci's office on Cedar Street.
Samuel Fragomeni, a single father who said he hasn't seen his son in five years, said he was there to protest against the Children's Aid Soceity.
“My son has indicated to me over the past years that he wants to see me and that he doesn't appreciate what the CAS is doing,” he said. “I am even being denied a supervised visit. What kind of family-oriented community organization is this when they tear families apart rather than help them stay together?”
The protesters brought a petition with them, and invited passers-by to sign it.
Angela Cappellani stopped to sign the petition. “I've been dealing with the CAS for almost two years now,” she explained. “They're just not helping me in any way to try and get my kids back with me.”
Bartolucci was not in Greater Sudbury during the rally, as he was at Queen's Park in Toronto. In an e-mail to Northern Life, he said the bill in question hasn't come up for debate at Queen's Park yet, adding he looks forward to engaging in discussion with political counterparts as well as the people of Ontario.
“While there is always more to do, it's important that we strike the right balance with regards to accountability in public agencies,” he said in his e-mail. “Since our government came into office in 2003 we have expanded the powers of the Ombudsman, significantly increased the mandate of the Child and Family Services Review Board and have also established the Independent Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth.”
Colette Prevost, the executive director for Children's Aid Society for Sudbury-Mantioulin, said her organization is very conscious about its accountaibility in all matters where children and families are concerned.
“It's improtant to note that oversight is not something that is unfamilar to Children's Aid Societies," she said. "In fact we are probably one of the most legislated and regulated systems in terms of social services. We understand the complexities of the work that we do and we certainly understand the call for ensuring we have the capacity to perform the work as best we can.”
Source: Sudbury Northern Life