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Bracebridge Rally

June 11, 2011 permalink

Two dozen people showed up at a rally outside the Muskoka CAS office in Bracebridge. The turnout was half of that in last year's Huntsville rally. Below is one reason for not attending:

Krissy Terry I will not be showing up cause I talked to an ex-CAS worker named Kim, and she told me the word was out if I show up that they were going to open a case up on me again and stop me from seeing my grandson. This is not fair, we are telling the truth about what happened to my child while in care. Hope all goes well and wish I could be there.

Source: Facebook rally page

According to other participants, CAS knew about yesterday's rally in advance, because it was announced on Facebook, so they scheduled conflicting meetings for families otherwise inclined to attend. During three hours of rally presence, not a single person (other than the rally group) entered or left the CAS building.

Police presence was the most unusual part of this rally. At noon three friendly officers advised the group that the event was legal, but should avoid obstructing traffic or trespassing. Around 1 pm a small group entered the building in support of Gordon who was requesting copies of his CAS records. After several minutes, CAS asked the group to leave the building, which they did within a minute, just as police arrived. The police said they came on a CAS complaint of trespassers who refused to leave when requested. How long will it be until police get exasperated with CAS lies?


local press interviews Chad Wells
lady inside with camera
police investigate trespass[4]
Chris Carter assisting Gordon

There is a video of Gordon asking for his file (mp4).

Addendum: Gordon reads his poem (mp4). This kind of speech is far more effective than expressions of hate and vengeance coming from some of the other users of the megaphone.

Addendum: Here is a local newspaper report.



Protestors gather at children’s aid office to voice frustration

VOICING CONCERNS. Protesters gather outside Family, Youth and Child Services of Muskoka in Bracebridge. The group stood with signs and megaphones on the edge of Pine Street for most of the day on June 10.
Photo by Brittany Corry

Just weeks after a demonstration at the Bracebridge Courthouse, another protest against the Children’s Aid Society took place June 10 outside the Family, Youth and Child Services of Muskoka office in Bracebridge.

The demonstration included a group of about 20 protesters, who stood outside the building with signs and megaphones. The protest was relatively peaceful when compared to the courthouse demonstration, in which at least one protestor was arrested.

Chad Wells, one of the organizers of the most recent protest, said the protestors had gathered to voice their frustrations from their dealings with the Children’s Aid Society.

“We’re here to expose some of the corrupt and malicious acts that CAS perpetrates on families on a daily basis,” said Wells. “We’re trying to get the word out to the public.”

Wells said there are rallies like these across Ontario, but made specific accusations against the Muskoka branch. Family, Youth and Child Services of Muskoka manages children’s aid in Muskoka.

He said the protestors are looking for more government involvement and oversight in the CAS.

“We’re trying to get these people registered with the Ontario College of Social Workers,” he said. “All teachers in the province of Ontario, all nurses and all police are registered — there’s an accountability aspect in all these places except the Children’s Aid Society.”

Gordie Merton, 20, was among the protesters. Merton spent several years in the CAS system as a child. He was the subject of a Huntsville Forester feature in February, in which he shared allegations that he was abused and mistreated while growing up as a Crown ward in the CAS system.

“I’ve been asking for five years now for my file,” said Merton. “Each time I send a file to this office they have not replied to my request, nor have they attempted to reply.”

Merton said he showed up at the protest in an attempt to see if his file at CAS documents any of the alleged abuse and over-medication he suffered. He said he’s tried at least three times before to see his file, and that each time he’s been turned down.

“I want to know what’s in my file,” he said. “If the abuse is in it, that’s closure for me.”

At one point, protesters entered the building as Merton tried to ask CAS staff for his file. They left peacefully after they were asked by staff inside to leave.

Two OPP officers then arrived and acted as an intermediary between the protesters and CAS to inquire about Merton’s file. Through the OPP, CAS staff told Merton “a process” must be followed in order to obtain his file.

On June 14, Lynn MacKay, executive assistant at FYCSM, issued a statement about the protest.

“Given the nature of the work of child protection, we know we must be accountable to our community and to our clients,” she said. “For that reason, we welcomed the protest as our way of showing our belief in the value of an open and accountable system of child welfare. Healthy discussion in a civil democracy can only serve to improve our system of child protection.”

MacKay said FYCSM welcomes healthy discussion as a democratic means of improving child protection.

“We know that the work of child protection can evoke tremendous emotion and passion in people, and we appreciate that not every client of our child protection service will welcome our involvement,” she said. “However, we also know that the work of child protection is honourable, necessary work in our community, and we are committed to continuing to fulfil our mission statement: To promote, support and protect the mental, physical, emotional and social well-being of children and youth, and to strengthen families and community.”

Source: Cottage Country Now