Transmitted By Facsimile
October 24, 2000.
The Woman's Centre for Grey and Bruce
P.O. Box 905
Owen Sound, Ontario N4K-6H6
Attn: President and Board of Directors
Dear Board of Directors
RE: Abuse of your facilities at the expense of Ontario taxpayers
A couple of months ago, I was served court papers, which contained a letter from your shelter addressed to Mr. Chaddah, a local lawyer, indicating what a great mother my wife is. It would appear to me that letters are being automatically generated by your shelter, using taxpayer's dollars, to provide personal references for women about whose past history very little is known.
Unfortunately, by writing a support letter for this woman without first checking out her past as well as the other facts relevant in the family's matter first, not only has your shelter damaged its credibility in the Owen Sound community but you have helped to further erode the already damaged credibility of all the women's shelters throughout this province. By writing this letter, the Woman's Centre for Grey and Bruce has helped to teach another young mother who was not abused in her marriage, how easy it is to lie, deceive and abuse the system at taxpayer's expense and get away with it.
When my wife came into your shelter she had not been abused. The police had never been to our home to investigate any sort of abuse. My wife, in her own words, said that I was a good father to our child. We were married for less than one year before she got tired of being married and wanted an easy way out. Unfortunately, the free food, shelter and other services, paid for by taxpayers, were more attractive than having to work out a sensible separation agreement on our own. Encouraging her to go into the shelter were other single welfare mothers who had already learned how easy it is to abuse the shelter system and rip off taxpayers. These other single mothers, were very eager to guide another young mother into the system to give them more company so that they all abuse the system together.
I am also sure that these experienced mothers also told her that staying in a woman's shelter, which would give the appearance of her being abused, would give her greater sympathy with the court. Even the wording of your letter inferred that you provide services for women who are trying to escape abuse. My wife was not abused yet somehow she obtained free services without any questions asked.
When my wife came to your shelter, she was not abused and she knew it. My wife was never at risk in my presence and she knew it. I was a good father to our daughter and my wife knew it. Yet she chose to walk out of our marriage and your shelter helped to make deserting her husband and breaking up her family real easy. Going to a shelter was the easy way out and get at the same time "free" benefits paid for by taxpayer's.
Supposedly, you claim that your shelter provids services for women who are fleeing abuse. Yet, below are just some of the things that went on while my wife was in your facility supposedly under the pretext of "fleeing abuse:"
In reality, the greatest fear that my wife had was the fear of those at the shelter, certainly not me. What she worried about the most was the truth getting out to her lawyer and those at the shelter. I believe that the women in your facility brainwashed her to the point where she became embarrassed and ashamed to be seen in public with her husband who had never abused her, and child, in case any of the women in your shelter seen her.
Her intent was of course to get as many of the free services as possible before moving out on her own and to get the sympathy of he court. She wanted to see just how much she could get from taxpayers while falsely claiming to be a victim of abuse. She told me about being taught by the ladies in the shelter about men's groups and how dangerous they were. It seems strange that one of the first things that women are taught in your shelter is about hating men. Why don't you teach these mothers how to parent their children cooperatively with their former spouses? I would think that teaching women about how to focus on the future of their children instead of teaching them that men are evil may be more productive to our community.
Knowing what I know now and then reading the letter from the shelter, I can only say that it is as great shame that your shelter is part of the problem of family breakup and domestic violence rather than a solution. Your shelter did its best to make this mother sound wonderful, yet without any consideration about what harm was being done to the rest of the family, especially the child.. It seems to me that the goal of your shelter is just one thing -- give the woman the support to destroy their spouses without any consideration for the truth or about the children.
Did anyone from your shelter ever think about this child's relationship with the other parent? Probably not! Did anyone from your shelter ever question if what they were being told by this mother was true -- probably not! Did anyone in the shelter see about initiating contact with the other party to see what the real circumstances were and what could be done to resolve the problems -- of courts not!
Although I will admit that some women genuinely require the use of the shelters, too many are easily getting away with abusing the system and the taxpayers. This abuse only further discredits the shelter system, which in the end will erode the public's support and in the end make getting help for truly needy women even more difficult to obtain.
For the sake of the taxpayers of the Province of Ontario, I would suggest that your shelter establish some clear guidelines and procedures, which will equally apply to all women who make application for entrance. These guidelines should be clearly published and be open to scrutiny by the taxpaying citizens of the community. At the very least, some sort of investigation should be conducted within the first 24 to 48 hours to confirm a woman's claims. This should at the very least be done by someone not associated with the biased and one-sided workers at the shelter.
Your shelter has been a disservice to my family and to my community. It has served only to create needless conflict within our family at the expense of taxpayers. Your shelter has been used to deprive a little girl from having a meaningful relationship with a loving, caring father and to help guide another mother into the cycle of welfare dependency and single motherhood. Your shelter has contributed to the breakup of a family and caused great harm to my child and extended family members. Both my wife and I have been forced into bankruptcy as a result of the needless litigation.
For your information I have included an article called "Battered Shelters" from Donna Laframboise of the National Post, which would indicate that many other families in this province are being similarly affected by woman's shelters such as yours. I have found many other similar articles written about shelters and all seem to reflect the same sad state of affairs at the shelters.
Your written response would be most appreciated. As part of your response I would also like to know specifically what steps your shelter plans to do to in the future to ensure that the taxpayers are not getting ripped off by other women coming to your shelter who are not really being abused but who have only heard just how easy it is to rip the system off.
Mike Harris, Premier of Ontario
Senator Ann Cools, Senate of Canada
All Members of Provincial Parliament of Ontario
Various members of Federal Parliament of Canada
Jim Flaherty, Attorney General of Ontario
Anne McLellan, Justice Minister of Canada
Owen Sound City Council
Donna Laframboise, National Post