Category Archives: OpEd

Help Find Missing NRCan Scientist

August 22, 2020

By: Amy MacPherson

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It is with great regret that I must address a very serious personal matter. As some of you know, my fiancé is a missing person and it’s now been two months since his location was known. I’ve tried to keep this matter private to protect his wellbeing and reputation, as a senior research scientist with Natural Resources Canada. But the consequences of waiting any longer are too great to ignore. as my own health is failing and I will soon be completely blind and unable to communicate through the internet in the effort to find him.

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I also fear that my issue has broader implications, as the cause of my loved one’s missing status is a direct result of Phoenix pay issues that are being exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. If this is happening to my family, there may be other families that are impacted in a similar way.

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What follows is my letter to my fiancé’s boss and the president of his union. It lays out everything you need to know to grasp the severity of this situation. The closing of my post will include a description of their responses (or lack thereof) and identifying information. so the public can help me find my partner before anything bad can happen to him.

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I apologize from the bottom of my heart for any embarrassment this may cause him. My actions are motivated by love and not vengeance, as well as duress that I am clearly under. Several friends have encouraged me to involve the police instead of taking this route, but in my decades of experience, law enforcement is the wrong entity to take control of a mental health situation. Their tools are extremely limited to blunt-force instruments and despite the good intentions of police, what’s needed here is a de-escalation. I felt that asking for the public’s help was the lesser of two evils in an impossible scenario. Some of you may disagree, but please know that I tortured myself while thinking this over and coming to a decision.

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(My original email to NRCan contained typos due to my failing vision. I sent two emails in total, to amend those errors. For the sake of what privacy I’m still able to protect, the contact information for my fiancé’s boss has been partially redacted in this publication.)

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From: Amy M <XXXXXX@XXXXXX>

To: Taylor XXXXXX <XXXXXX@canada.ca>

CC: President <XXXXXX@pipsc.ca>

Sent: Tuesday, July 28, 2020 at 5:49pm

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Please forgive any typos. I obviously meant to say Natural Resources Canada. I didn’t realize that auto-correct was entering “National Resources Canada” in error. My vision is so poor that it’s like trying to read through a frosted glass window. I do apologize and no disrespect was intended.

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Yours very truly,

Amy MacPherson

@msamymacpherson

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From: Amy M <XXXXXX@XXXXXX>

To: Taylor XXXXXX <XXXXXX@canada.ca>

CC: President <XXXXXX@pipsc.ca>

Sent: Tuesday, July 28, 2020 at 4:12am

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July 28, 2020 – URGENT Re Missing Scientist

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Attention:

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Taylor XXXXXX

Director XXXXXX

National Resources Canada

XXXXXX XXXXXX

XXXXXX, XXXXXX

Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, XXXXXX

Ph: (705) XXXXXXX

Fx: (705) XXXXXXX

Cl: (705) XXXXXXX

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CC:

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Debi Daviau

President PIPSC

XXXXXX

Ottawa, Ontario, XXXXXX

Ph: (613) XXXXXXX

Fx: (613) XXXXXXX

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From:

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Amy MacPherson

XXXXXX XXXXXX

XXXXXX, Ontario, XXXXXX

Ph: (705) XXX-XXXX

Cl: (705) XXXXXXX (preferred)

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Dearest Taylor,

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I deeply regret the need to write to you under these circumstances. It’s not every day that someone’s fiancé becomes a missing person, sparking a process of engaging with emergency services and government bureaucracy. There is no etiquette handbook regarding how to do this and I’m trying my best to manage an extremely stressful situation. I’ve done everything possible to be calm and respectful toward you and National Resources Canada, as well as navigating cautiously around my partner’s employment so this intervention doesn’t impact him negatively and make the situation any worse than it is currently.

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But I’m growing concerned that you haven’t kept your word by calling me back and all I’m getting is radio silence when I attempt to get you on the telephone since our original contact. For that reason I’m putting my concerns and plea for assistance in writing to generate a government record, in addition to ensuring that NRCan is fully aware of the details surrounding the disappearance of senior research scientist, Dr. Barry J. Cooke. I’m not looking to become adversarial with the government, so please accept my communiqué as being motivated by genuine love, care, and distress.

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When we spoke on Tuesday, July 14, 2020, around 8pm ET, I reached you on your cellphone. I obtained that number from your official work voicemail greeting that advises everyone to contact your cell during the COVID-19 pandemic, due to working from home. I trust that I was not behaving inappropriately by using that personal contact information.

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During that conversation we spoke for some time, as I explained that Barry is a missing person. I shared some of the details to express my belief that he’s suffering from a mental health event and to convey that his disappearance is a bona fide cause for concern. I further explained that I inquired with you because you’re the only person who knows where his trailer is located, in a nondescript rural area beyond the outskirts of Sault Ste. Marie. I was also aware that Barry had to keep his phone turned on, to be reachable by NRCan throughout the pandemic and dynamic working conditions.

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You responded with several questions that I accept were appropriate, despite making me feel uncomfortable. I gather you were trying to determine if I was interfering in Barry’s employment due to a domestic spat and blowing a personal situation out of proportion, possibly in an act of revenge. I believe I satisfied your doubts enough that you agreed to search for Barry and you asked for a few days to look into his welfare before calling me back.

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During our initial call, you indicated a few things that I will note for the record. You stated that you don’t know the specific location of Barry’s trailer – only a general vicinity. You agreed that you’re supposed to be able to reach Barry while he’s offsite during the pandemic and would attempt to make contact. While still entertaining the possibility this was nothing more than a domestic dispute, you asked if you were able to get in touch with Barry and he refused to speak with me – would I accept his denial. I agreed that I would and stressed the most important thing is locating his whereabouts to ensure he’s okay.

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I was prepared to accept the government’s state of unknowing pertaining to my intentions, because I’m also unsure of Barry’s mental state and his intentions. I can appreciate that any outsider would question the chicken or the egg; whether a romantic rift led to his flight, or greater emotional instability caused Barry to behave erratically and threaten his own well-being. On that topic in particular, you asked if Barry threatened to harm himself and I indicated he did not, but there are more details you’re not aware of yet that point to negative trajectories.

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In the interim I was trying to remain level-headed and avoid jumping to unhelpful conclusions, so I only shared enough information to cause you to search for signs of life. As Barry’s family, I’m obligated to contact anyone who might know where he is before I embarrass him by filing a police report, if in fact it is unfounded. I can’t go to the police and say I think he’s missing, but I haven’t bothered to look or check any of his usual places. The police wouldn’t take me seriously if I didn’t call his workplace. So that’s what I did to work through this methodically, without causing him or me unwarranted shame and complications.

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The last thing I want to do is imperil Barry’s employment, when it might be one of few things still holding him slightly together. It doesn’t matter if the employer is a champion of human and labour rights, because I’m old enough to recognize the stigma surrounding mental illness and emotional crisis will persist, in contrast to any regulations prohibiting this discrimination. Unfortunately it’s human nature to distrust anyone ‘different’ in a society that doesn’t actively educate about these health issues.

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I’m not just a recovering journalist. I used to be a spokesperson for the Ontario Association of Social Workers during government budget and policy consultations. Therefore I tried to keep as much of Barry’s situation private as possible. I told you enough of what you needed to know to provide the assistance he needs, without divulging every last detail. However and due to your lack of response, I’m sincerely worried that NRCan is either circling the wagons or failing to take Barry’s situation seriously enough. Because it’s possible his life may hang in the balance and you’re the only person with any ability to locate Barry, should he be safe and sound, I will now share more about his crisis, albeit reluctantly and with heaps of caution. I am not a doctor and what follows is not grounds to penalize Barry any more than he’s already suffered. This is my personal opinion, supported by facts, that suggest a need for qualified medical intervention and proper support from National Resources Canada.

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Before I get to those details, I wish to indicate that I waited patiently for you to respond with the outcome of your search. You requested “a few days” to look into this and to speak with your boss regarding procedural obligations within NRCan. When I didn’t hear from you after a week, I began calling again. I left messages on your cellphone voicemail; one on Tuesday, July 21, 2020 around 2:45pm, one on Wednesday, July 22, 2020 around 8pm, and one on Thursday, July 23, 2020 around 3:30pm. None of my calls have been returned. I’m still unaware if NRCan considers Barry to be a missing person or if he’s been located. By the time you receive my email it will be two full weeks that NRCan has been aware of a missing person inquiry and failed to respond whatsoever.

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I tiptoe lightly through the next part, from a personal and professional perspective. I’m absolutely intimidated to raise legal considerations with the government, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t gently nudge you to contemplate the ramifications for everyone involved.

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On a personal level and as I explained, I’ve only heard good things about you, Taylor. You’ve been as much a friend to Barry as his boss and I’m keenly aware that I owe my blended family to everything you did to help him resettle in Ontario. Barry has said many times that your adherence to ethics mirrors mine, as a matter of default and preoccupation. He admires your courage to tackle bureaucratic dysfunction and that you don’t shrink from hot topics. In better times, he’s been anxious to introduce us because he thinks we’d get along famously and the banter would be exciting. You can’t imagine how sorry I am to squander the promise of that positive introduction.

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Despite anything I might say in this letter, I regret causing damage to your friendship with Barry or making myself look like a threat of any kind. That is not my intention and I’m hopeful we can be friendly on the other side of this chaos. Please understand that my first obligation is to my fiancé and his immediate welfare though. None of what I say is an attack on you or the government. It’s just a complex situation we’re now required to sort through together.

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On a professional level (and this is where it gets prickly), I believe I’m afforded some rights as Barry’s emergency contact and dependent within the records of NRCan. A couple of years ago, he said he made this change to his file as well as adding me to his benefits package. If I’m wrong or he changed the record to remove me recently, you will need to correct my understanding. I only have Barry’s word to go by and this is what he told me when we got engaged.

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I would think that any workplace needs to take a missing persons report seriously, regardless of who made it. I would think that any reasonable person should expect the workplace to be cooperative with a missing persons case as well. I’m at a loss to understand why NRCan believes it can take two weeks or more to confirm if their staff is alive. As the emergency contact for Barry, I’m not clear that it’s legal for NRCan to ignore me. This is cruel and unusual punishment, especially given the many considerations I’ve already shared with you and the fact that Barry may be in danger this whole time.

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NRCan’s reluctance to respond is directly interfering with my ability to involve the police and obstruction is not a word that anyone should accept when it comes to the plight of searching for a missing person in apparent emotional distress. During our conversation and every voice message I’ve left since, I mention the need to initiate a police search if NRCan isn’t able to locate Barry either.

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If you know that Barry is okay and he just doesn’t wish to speak with anyone, you need to let me know. Otherwise NRCan would be setting me up to make a false police report for a missing person, knowingly so. False reports waste a lot of taxpayer dollars and I could be criminally charged with mischief for relaying information that isn’t true. My only defence would be claiming the government’s negligence and that’s a brutal scenario to create for NRCan families. Plus the government would be impugning my reputation within the community and as a professional journalist, if the plan is to let me make the report while knowing NRCan would debunk it when the police came calling to locate Barry.

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Whether anyone likes it or not, the government has a duty to respond to me, one way or another, to confirm the status of an employee. The public service is not the secret service and it doesn’t get to hide staff from being discovered alive. It has a fiduciary duty to Barry as well, to not deliberately ignore his welfare and make his family think he might be dead, if you know he’s alive and well. Moreover, the government has a fiduciary duty to ensure the police know if a staff member has gone missing. Waiting weeks to do that, when the family has notified NRCan of the issue, would make the government liable for any harm that comes to him.

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Nobody needs a law degree to understand that concept and the last place I want to be is in court with the government while I’m grieving the loss of my partner, should he meet an untimely end. This isn’t a threat. It’s just the cold, hard reality for both of us. I’m as obligated to report him missing as you are, if neither of us can locate Barry anywhere. If NRCan is taking its time to get around to an investigation because they question my credibility, it would be detrimental to the sitting government’s reputation for its handling of mental health emergencies as well.

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Please let me be emphatically clear: This is not what I want. What I want is for Barry to be okay and able to receive help. I want for him to be found and I want to work with the government to locate him. I want to be friends and not the butt of an inappropriate joke that fails to value mental health and the lives of staff. Even if Barry is okay, don’t you think he’s dealing with serious issues if his family is worried he may be lost and distraught or dead?

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Now that the prickly part is out of the way, we can begin to address the things you may not know and why I’m genuinely worried about Barry’s welfare.

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Via your questions during our telephone conversation, I can tell that you’re approaching me like a casual girlfriend who has no rights (unlike a wife) and that you’re protecting Barry’s right to walk away from me if he decided to end the relationship. You asked about ownership of the car, shared bank accounts, and things of this nature. You asked if he left any belongings at my home, I guess to ascertain if he broke up with me and had any intention of coming back.

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Regardless of our family management plans and who owns what or pays for what, Barry and I are in a common-law relationship and have been for a number of years. We are engaged and did intend to be legally married, but whether we tie the knot is almost neither here nor there. Common-law partners have nearly the same rights and responsibilities as married couples in the Province of Ontario, so he doesn’t get to exit the relationship and escape financial obligations. This is a common misconception among people who’ve never had to navigate the family court system. (Oddly enough, the reason we’re not married yet is because of NRCan – more on this soon).

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My relationship with Barry began on October 19, 2015. I’m the reason he left Alberta and relocated to Ontario. I’m the reason he took your old job as the Ontario Entomologist in the year that it took to conclude his life in Edmonton and begin anew here. We’ve been together for nearly five years and he’s been using my address as his home for more than four years. He became my son’s step-dad and they’ve shared car insurance policies all that time as well. Much of Barry’s mail arrives at my home, including correspondence with his union over the continuing grievance at NRCan. In no way, shape, or form are we casually dating.

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Barry’s emotional distress is caused by a few issues, but all of them relate to me and NRCan. He thought because precedents were set for other employees to work on deployment that he would be able to request a similar arrangement through the University of Toronto, in partnership with NRCan. He spent a lot of time lining that up and making the inroads necessary to create a space for him at the school. This was important to Barry because I own my home in Wasaga Beach, I’m physically disabled, and I can’t relocate to Sault Ste. Marie.

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Needless to say, he was disappointed when NRCan denied his request to be treated equally and granted the same distance leeway as fellow staff. The commute from Sault Ste. Marie to Wasaga Beach is eight hours, whereas the commute from Toronto is two hours. One is feasible and the other isn’t. He originally planned to spend half the year living with me (while working in Toronto) and half the year spending two weekends per month at home (while working in the Soo).

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When this didn’t pan out, he was disillusioned at the discrepancy between staff. My disabilities require daily support and he knew this was letting me down in such a severe way that it could threaten the viability of our relationship. Although he earns a healthy income, it’s still not enough to cover a nurse/PSW and maintenance people on a regular basis. But I stood by Barry because I love him and so did my son. My boy agreed to remain at home (hijacking his plans to leave for college), so he could assist me until Barry was able to amend his working/living arrangements in a way that I could manage.

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The winters became hard, to do the eight hour commute on weekends. Sometimes it was just too dangerous to drive in white-out conditions that notoriously plague that route. He had a few accidents that were mostly small, but his life flashed before his eyes when he narrowly missed a rockface. That’s why Barry began working tons of overtime when he was in Sault Ste. Marie, so he could bank it and come home for a week or two at a time. You were very kind in making at least that much possible (thank you).

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None of this was the life we imagined when we began our journey together, but we stuck together as families do to overcome the challenges. Barry kept trying to finagle arrangements that would get him closer to home, or home for longer stretches. In return I vowed to stay with him and I tried to pitch the worst-case scenario as something we could handle. His retirement wasn’t that far away in the grand scheme of things, for soulmates to be united. If we all pitched in, including my son, there was no tribulation that could keep us apart.

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But then Barry was hit with problems at NRCan that persist to this day and they’re entirely responsible for his current compounded crisis.

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The Edmonton lab is such a toxic workplace that it’s known by everyone in forestry across the country (my words as an experienced political journalist, not Barry’s). You had to fight for his transfer to Ontario because they sought to block his freedom of movement. We’re eternally grateful you intervened and that the Great Lakes Forestry Centre is a positive, productive environment. But that wasn’t the only problem they caused for him.

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When Barry took a year’s leave to assume your old job with the Province of Ontario (to facilitate his migration), the Edmonton lab (vindictively or negligently) withheld crucial information that cost us many thousands of dollars. As payroll resumed with NRCan upon transfer to GLFC and conclusion of his leave, he was unexpectedly penalized for a year’s worth of the employer’s contribution to the health benefit. No one told him this would happen. There were steps he could have taken to prevent that penalty but Edmonton refused to tell him.

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We were then in a position of needing to cover two residences (my home and an apartment for Barry in the Soo because he was blocked from deployment). We had to budget for those considerable extra costs, while also paying the employer’s health tax that was improperly deducted from each of his paycheques at hundreds of dollars every month. That health contribution amounted to the equivalent of a third residence that we were forced to pay for an entire year.

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But we did it, with help from his coworker. Will (Wil, William?) rented Barry a cheap room for $400 per month, with storage space for his belongings from the previous marriage. That worked for a while; though the property was a university party house, appliances were regularly broken, and Barry couldn’t get much sleep or privacy. Will is also a funny character (my words) and he took offence whenever Barry needed to request something (like a working stove or fellow tenants to stay out of his room). He was basically told to like it or lump it and not to complain about the kids’ destruction of property. Then Will tried to illegally raise Barry’s rent because he didn’t mesh well with a party crowd that was more than half his age.

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We didn’t want to create waves at work by taking issue with Will’s behaviour. What we’re doing is already challenging enough and it didn’t need to be complicated by fruitless arguments with a coworker. So Barry found another place to live across the street from the forestry centre. He tried to negotiate paying for Will’s storage space because there was no space in the new location. But again, Will was a funny character and he tried to charge Barry the same amount of rent, just to store his things in a garage that no one was using.

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It was beginning to feel like everyone at NRCan thought he was made of money for the taking. That hurt Barry, though he never told anyone at GLFC. I don’t even think he told you, because you’ve been an amazing friend and he didn’t want to be the source of trouble for anyone. This was Barry’s clean slate, free of the toxic meddling and hijinks in Edmonton, working with a team he truly respects, and enjoying the reward of collaborating with inspired people.

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Don’t mix business with pleasure, they say, as he tried his best to swallow everything that was morphing from a molehill into an actual mountain that Barry wouldn’t be able to climb. It’s unfortunate he only knows coworkers in the Soo and he tried to tread softly on that circumstance. Relocating to another province is challenging under the best conditions and the cards he was dealt upon arrival were quite daunting.

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Barry’s financial situation was further exacerbated by Brookfield and the government’s penchant for outsourcing important functions (again, my words). His moving expenses were supposed to be covered, but the company’s inner bureaucracy sorely delayed the process and it was several months before he was reimbursed. We had to shoulder that cost, once more in the thousands of dollars, despite his paycheque being improperly shorted for a year straight. During that time I sent care packages of food, so we knew that he could eat while away from home. For a while he was living on nothing but oatmeal and this upset me when I found out.

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(The longer I write, the more colloquial I may express myself and I’m trying desperately to keep this professional. If you could permit me one lapse, I just need to utter “what the heck” to the Government of Canada. His income is on the sunshine list that everyone in media gripes about, but the gauntlet of errors and lollygagging with corrections is costing more than public servants can earn anymore. This is patently insane and it’s only getting worse, enough to compromise the mental health of government staff. I’ve worked for the Liberals so my frustration isn’t partisan motivated. I want this administration to succeed. I just don’t understand how things could be so dysfunctional that employees can’t afford to eat and no one will bother to check if they’re still alive when a distress call arises. I don’t think I’d be human if this didn’t break my heart and cause concern in the utmost.)

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Continuing, the financial stresses from NRCan weren’t nearly done compounding. After Barry completed the year’s worth of improper deductions to cover the employer’s health tax, those nasty Phoenix payroll issues ensued to replace one problem with another. With all due respect, this was worse than a 1-2 punch. Every time Barry’s paycheque was set to be properly restored, something else came along to skim significant chunks of his income on behalf of a wayward treasury department.

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That grievance has been dragging on for about two years. That in itself is unacceptable (more on this topic soon).

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I expect you’re aware of most information I just shared, but perhaps the government hasn’t considered these issues from the family’s functional perspective and the damage NRCan is causing beyond its office walls. Told in a story format, it paints a stunning picture. But I want you to see in 3-D so I will now explain some details you surely didn’t know.

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When the Phoenix errors began, Barry wasn’t expecting it. He didn’t experience these miscellaneous hiccups during implementation of the new system like others in the public service. Special care was to be taken as the employer health tax was eventually removed from his deductions as well (with assistance from the union). His original salary was restored and he had no cause to suspect they would incorrectly change his remuneration category to a lower level than he always earned. He still doesn’t have an answer regarding how or why that happened (to the best of my understanding, as per Barry’s explanation).

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Like anyone, Barry’s income is direct-deposited and most of his bills have an automated withdrawal. You can’t get things like car insurance without automatic payments and items such as lines of credit are automatically deducted as well. So one October night he was driving back to the Soo and he was stopped by the police. It was then he learned that his insurance bounced and he was charged for driving without coverage. That’s how he discovered the brand new payroll discrepancy.

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Barry didn’t know what to do and he couldn’t afford a lawyer. I didn’t find out for nearly a year because he was afraid to tell me. By this point his income woes were affecting his self esteem and he was afraid I might decline his marriage proposal if I learned he got in trouble with the police. I would have fought it and represented him in court if I knew, but I’m also forced to appreciate how emasculated he must have felt. He was relying on a disabled woman to feed him veritable rations, as he laboured through the madness at work to earn my love and respect. At some point it doesn’t matter how often you tell someone they’re loved when they’ve lost respect for themself. It still hurts me to know that Barry was suffering that much in silence.

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In any event, he pleaded guilty because that was the only way to get an extended agreement to pay the mandatory minimum $5,000 fine. At least that’s what the Crown Attorney told him and he was never advised of the additional consequences that would come to bear in the insurance system. He couldn’t seek that advice because NRCan had been ravaging his paycheque for two years in one form or another, and people on the sunshine list don’t qualify for Legal Aid (nor should they need to).

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Barry tried to cover up the Phoenix errors and repercussions so I wouldn’t get cold feet and leave him for being unreliable/inadequate. I never put those thoughts in his head and they were purely driven by his own fear and stress, related to the never-ending payroll nightmares. I finally got this out of him when we did a bit of counselling with one of my dear friends.

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I didn’t complain how hard it was to get by without him at home, but you know Barry has a big heart and it pained him to leave me fending for myself, on top of all else. My son was trying to hold down a job during this time away from his education and he had to look after all of Barry’s responsibilities. Shoveling the driveway. Taking me to surgeries and medical appointments. Taking out the garbage. Doing groceries and carrying them. Cooking much of the time. And falling behind his peers with no social life, while trying to be a young man who was supposed to begin his own adventure. Barry has/had a wonderful relationship with my son, but this weighs/weighed on him too.

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Meanwhile, Barry was put in a position of robbing Peter to pay Paul. By the time five grand arrived from Brookfield to reimburse his moving costs, it had already come from his personal credit to cover the fees upfront. Any money coming in was then needed to subsidize the recurring Phoenix shortfalls.

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By the time Barry incurred the $5,000 insurance fine, his credit was destroyed. His Visa was cancelled and he moved mountains to pay it back, but they wouldn’t issue a new card. His line of credit went to collections because he could only pay one or the other – and that’s not until massive interest fees were added at the worst possible rate imaginable. In fact, the tally keeps increasing every month that NRCan neglects to resolve his grievance. Barry is paying perpetual interest on the government’s debt that he’s still being forced to carry, as if he’s as rich as the treasury itself and able to shoulder sovereign expenses. Perhaps someone can tell me why the Treasury Board is treating public servants like the government’s personal bank and lender. This sincerely has to stop before they end up killing someone. It’s not just a Phoenix pay problem. It’s a culture and systemic problem involving everything to do with employee benefits, reimbursements, and salaries.

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In my humble estimation, the government is responsible for those interest charges and default penalities, as well as ruining Barry’s driving record and long term financial reputation. The amount he’s grieving (that keeps getting delayed) isn’t half of what it should be. But Barry respects you so much and he’s so grateful to be at GLFC that he’s also afraid to upset the apple cart in Sault Ste. Marie by fighting for what he’s truly owed. He doesn’t want to fight and has little of that spark left in him after all he’s been through. He doesn’t want GLFC to become a toxic workplace, even though the payroll dysfunction isn’t his fault. You might think that Barry is a problem right now, but you have no idea how much he’s taking on the chin to avoid that negative label.

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In the background, natural life kept ticking along despite anything we were working to overcome already. Gravity, time, and physics could care less if we humans are stuck on a few speedbumps. And so it came to pass that our roof began leaking. Fate was determined to make it an emergency by leaking specifically on electrical wires, so we couldn’t delay the repair with buckets until the NRCan grievance was resolved. Under normal circumstances Barry should have been able to qualify for a sweet rate, but due to the implosion of his credit rating, he ended up paying slightly more than 30 percent interest (per month, not per annum).

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You hear about “predatory lenders” in the news, but let me tell you it can take your breath away if you’re forced to gain the experience firsthand. Thirty percent interest is an injury that’s hard to qualify, for all its implications. We banded together and lived clever, to cut all expenses where possible. For a few months we didn’t see Barry because we couldn’t afford the travel. He couldn’t come when I had major surgery either. That one put me out of commission for six full months to recover, and it’s hard to qualify the effect of doing it mostly without your support person and only text messages in lieu of them.

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If that wasn’t enough to keep any good man down, then wait till you hear what happened with his transportation once we were able to budget a trip home. Barry is on the path of Lemony Snickets, because as you know he subsequently rolled his truck in a freak snow accident on the highway. It was a write-off and not his fault, but it certainly didn’t help after a conviction for no insurance.

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This time Barry robbed Paul to pay Mary and when the settlement for his truck arrived he used it to pay off the 30 percent loan for the roof, so he could substitute that debt with a car loan that his mother co-signed at 12 percent instead. It was a crafty way to reduce the household monthly payments, but he wouldn’t have needed a loan for either necessity had the government resolved his grievance and repayed him. He would have qualified for prime interest rates had his salary not been damaged for continuous years, from multiple angles as well.

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On the financial front, Barry was served another dose of humility when he had to beg the union for help to cover the $5,000 insurance fine. Despite the complete dressing down from the onslaught of emasculating consequences, he soldiered on and kept doing whatever needed to be done to get our family through this in one piece.

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When the insurance conviction finally registered in the system, Barry was in for another whopping suprise. His rate increased to $450 per month for a basic 4-cylinder compact, that also cost $400 per month to repay in his mother’s name. Barry couldn’t take my car because it’s a Mustang convertible. He can’t afford insurance to drive a sports car, whereas I only pay $100 with a perfect driving record. That’s also what Barry used to pay, but his coverage quadrupled as a direct result of the Phoenix pay issue. It’s been penalty, on top of penalty, on top of penalty, to an extent that he may now be suffocating.

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Pouring salt in an open wound, Barry is unable to claim an income tax return because NRCan produced a sensationally inaccurate T-4 slip. He can’t get it corrected during the pandemic and it may be some time before anyone attends to the administrative backlog. That could take another year or more and in the meantime he’s deprived of collecting even the nickels and dimes that are owed to him. This may yet deprive him of benefits that are distributed through the Canada Revenue Agency because they’re auditing him for the irregularity as well, in a dash of irony that isn’t lost on him.

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I honestly wonder if you can say that you wouldn’t have hit your breaking point. Don’t forget our wedding has been delayed for two years due to these very reasons, and my health isn’t improving with age. I’m now 75 percent blind and I can’t read or write emails without assistance for the time being. My eyesight deteriorated over the past year and I really need Barry to take me to Toronto for the surgery. That procedure can’t be done locally, unfortunately.

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I’m a bit of a Humpty Dumpty but I know Barry loves/loved me and he’s not a hateful enough person to leave me blind, starving, without transportation, and virtually imprisoned in a remote area – unless there was something desperately wrong. We are genuinely concerned for his welfare and this recent disappearance isn’t logically explainable. In case you’re wondering my son is worried too, enough to assist me with typing this letter on his humble COVID birthday. We didn’t want to spend his birthday making a missing persons report and it saddens me that you haven’t responded in two weeks since I asked for your help. We like to laugh and make the best of most situations, but please concur that you now understand my comment about cruel and unusual punishment. I know it’s not deliberate but it’s still impeccably treacherous, as a result of bureaucratic mayhem within National Resources Canada and staff morale that is apparently nonexistent.

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If I haven’t touched your heart yet, then there’s the matter of Barry’s 11-year-old son. He lives with his mom in Edmonton and comes to stay for two weeks in the summer. Barry can’t afford to see his son now and he won’t be able to until something gives. My limited credit was also maxed to help us coast through these financially choppy waters and there’s nothing left to cover 2020 or visits in the future. The payroll issues affected me too, because I had to pick up the slack whenever Barry couldn’t afford phone bills or groceries. Blind people can’t get credit increases to cover living expenses based on their partner’s unresolved Phoenix grievance and it’s just not possible for me to subsidize the Government of Canada any longer.

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We have never gone on vacation. We don’t eat gourmet food. We rarely dine out and have never been to the movies. Barry hasn’t played a round of golf since he relocated to Ontario. We don’t wear designer clothes either. We are just a family that loves each other, trying to make it under these unforeseen harsh conditions. Barry loves his son dearly and it’s killing him not to visit.

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With this background I will now re-explain the circumstances by which Barry became a missing person since Monday, June 29, 2020. I’ve done a little more sleuthing since we last spoke and the new details are more cause for concern that I hope you will begin to take seriously.

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We had a lovely time over the Christmas holiday and I thought everything was relatively great. I didn’t yet know about the T-4 issue, the $450 increase to insurance, or the $400 per month interest on Barry’s line of credit that defaulted to collections. A meeting was pending to resolve his claim for pay issues and my fiancé was jovial, happy to be home with us. One of the presents he gave us was a life insurance policy from the workplace union. It was a bit odd for a Christmas present, but he wanted us to know that we’d always be cared for and it didn’t faze me to be suspicious of it. I thought it was Barry’s analytical way of showing his love.

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But something must have happened at the very end of December because Barry’s mood changed drastically. I don’t know what it could have been and only have possibilities from subsequent information that he eventually shared with me. He became inexplicably miserable over the next few days and by January 4, 2020, Barry lost his temper and began screaming in my face over his disappointment in a TV movie that I adored. It was a true story about poor kids from the ghetto who overcame their struggles to graduate and lead productive lives (title: Freedom Writers).

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I couldn’t fathom what made him angry. We weren’t fighting and I was excited to share one of my favourite films with him. Barry is all about social justice and this should have been a feel-good flick. Instead he was screaming so hard that he was spitting in my face. This isn’t Barry’s regular demeanour and he stormed out swiftly, leaving the presents we gave him behind. Our pets were terrified and didn’t know what to make of it either.

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After leaving and heading back to the Soo, Barry deleted his social media account. He turned off his phone so no one could reach him. He blocked text messages and after a few weeks, he shot me a brief missive that instructed me to see a counsellor so I “could bitch about everything wrong with him to someone else so he doesn’t have to listen to it”. Except I wasn’t communicating with Barry to warrant this diatribe, because he severed all the ways to reach him.

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I was worried then and didn’t understand what was happening, but grocery money was still deposited in the bank account I use, as per usual with the pay schedule. I figured that I knew he was in the Soo, I knew he was going to work, and I would give him the space he needed to work up the gumption to tell me whatever was wrong.

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Eventually Barry reactivated his social media account and began interacting with everyone regarding COVID. He put money in the bank for my birthday and renewed the vehicle stickers for each of us. He resumed communication with me but it was all pandemic related, avoiding personal discussion. In late April or early May he asked to come home, if I would accept him. We hadn’t broken up during the period away and my head was spinning with wonder, but I agreed to receive him. He wanted a rule that we wouldn’t speak about his explosion and running away, until the pandemic lifted and he could do it with the assistance of a counsellor. I agreed to that too, so he would come home and be safe.

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Upon arrival everything went well on the surface. Barry resumed his chores and planting the garden, followed by family time every evening. He behaved like nothing serious had happened and he hoped I would continue wearing my engagement ring. When I confirmed that I would and reiterated my love, he began to dribble out bits and pieces regarding the struggles that were causing his erratic behaviour.

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Barry confided that he was homeless in the Soo for the past six months. I learned he got kicked out of the room he was renting across the street from work. I learned he needed to return because the landlady said his trailer had be removed from her property, that he couldn’t abandon it there any longer. The neighbours were complaining and Barry was upset that she wouldn’t just give him more leeway. They got along well before this and I don’t know what caused a negative change in their relationship, if he was having trouble paying the meagre rent or if this was purely a dispute about the trailer.

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Barry informed me that you wouldn’t let him store his trailer in your personal driveway, but that you helped him find a spot somewhere deep in the bush where hopefully no one would find it. I gather someone at NRCan must have helped him move the trailer, because it’s not free-standing, doesn’t have wheels, and requires a truck to sit atop the bed like a cab. Since Barry’s own truck was written off in an accident, he could no longer transport the mobile shelter by himself. I’m further aware that GLFC denied his request to keep these sleeping quarters on the government’s parking lot property.

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Please let me confirm that I fully understand why NRCan would decline such an awkward request, I appreciate why you would balk at having your staff take up residence in your own driveway as well. But you knew that Barry was technically homeless for all this time, wheras I didn’t. You knew he was sent to be a squatter in some stranger’s back woods without seeking permission. You knew that every day he did that he was at risk of being discovered and seeing his trailer confiscated by the landowner, with the possibility of criminal charges for trespassing.

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Although men often have difficulty expressing their emotions, or doing so constructively, you had to know this vagrancy situation was causing Barry insurmountable anxiety. You must have acknowledged his unstable psychological state and fretted about what to do, because Barry finally confessed that you also kicked him out of the GLFC lab and told him he couldn’t live at work. I gather he was sleeping there and his office appeared like he had moved in.

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I am not your enemy, Taylor. My goal is not to criticize you, or to place Barry’s career in jeopardy. You’ve been his lifeline to get through the many payroll issues and by no means are Edmonton, Brookfield, or Phoenix your fault. I see that you’ve done everything you can to support Barry gently through this and your friendship means the world to him. I respect your friendship too. The reason I bring this up is because I’m asking you to acknowledge that you knew Barry was in crisis before I reached out to you, and that you know my concerns are entirely justified now.

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I’m aware that you’re a hunter/angler and maybe you downplayed how squatting in the bush would affect Barry because it’s something you do regularly. But my fiancé isn’t a salt-of-the-earth type of man and he’s never tried to live in the wild during the winter season. Barry is a driven academic from the ivory tower, with an overactive mind that benefits NRCan whenever complex analyses and solutions are required. He was reduced to tears when he told me that he woke up every day with ice in his beard and that he lived on nothing but rice for those six months, whenever he couldn’t be home with me.

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To be clear that I’m not attacking you personally, please consider how I felt when I learned the truth of his daily reality in the Soo. All that time he went without so that me and my son would have groceries and a warm bed. He was embarrassed to admit his financial shortcomings and felt like a “loser”, afraid that he didn’t deserve my love, or anyone’s love for that matter. While I’m not a doctor, I can assure you that I never put that thought in his head and it’s indicative of a serious depression.

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I learned a lot in May and June when Barry came home during the pandemic. I’m almost positive that he was expecting me to get angry, but as I remained calm he confessed more and more. Some of these things I will still keep private, but you need to know that he also shutout his immediate family (son, mom, brother, and sister). He kept his phone turned off so no one could reach him. His email box is full and his work voicemail remains full, so no one can even leave messages regarding his whereabouts. Barry isn’t just hiding from me. He’s hiding from everyone in the world, except for possibly you.

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There is one more work related situation that deserves explanation, to illustrate the pressure he’s under and the widespread consequences of these payroll issues. I couldn’t know for sure, but I think this was the straw that broke the camel’s back due to the timing and way it unfolded.

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I never did know what happened to Barry’s belongings from Edmonton. He never spoke about them after the dispute with Will and I assumed he was bringing them home once he went through everything and we created space in the recroom. Life just happens and some of the details fall by the wayside, but they were front and centre for Barry in a way that might have contributed to his undoing.

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I apologize that I forget the woman’s name, but I’m told that Barry ended up storing his things at a different coworker’s barn. Apparently she’s been on leave since the loss of her husband and may not return to NRCan due to immense grief and planning the rest of her life as a widow. (Sorry if I’m repeating some part of this, but there’s a key detail I definitely haven’t mentioned and it is paramount to supporting his mental health.)

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According to Barry, he was using this woman’s horse barn and she needed it back by this spring (2020) for the animals. He was expected to begin going through his things by last autumn (2019) and finish moving them out (to my house) before this summer. I gather he broke the agreement and never attended at any point, nor would he respond to her calls and emails throughout that period. He told me about this two days before the unprovoked meltdown that resulted in his missing person status on June 29, 2020.

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Little could anyone appreciate that he no longer had a truck to move his things, that he was homeless in the Soo, or that he had no money to devise a solution. All we knew is that Barry was unreachable (me, his son, mother, coworkers, creditors, etc). On Father’s Day I asked him to turn his phone on so his boy could reach him and maybe that’s when Barry received the message from this coworker, that she donated his things to charity because he didn’t respond and abandoned them.

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Barry admitted that he knew it was his fault for ignoring her messages. He said it hurt, but he was trying to put on a brave face and accept this as a clean slate with one less worry to resolve. But he was still resentful that she threw everything out and didn’t do more to help him, by moving his things to the field and putting a tarp over them. I didn’t say anything as he explained this, but I will comment now that he was left so desperate, he couldn’t see anything wrong with his expectation.

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Barry further confessed he made a mistake that might have escalated that situation. I’m told he telephoned the coworker and left a voice message before he finished reading her texts, that adamantly warned him not to make contact. She wanted to be left alone to grieve with her horses and I remain unaware if she took any action to halt his attempt at communication.

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I knew there was nothing he could do and personal belongings are considered legally abandoned after 30 days, but I didn’t say that to Barry. He was fighting back the tears and I sought to understand his pain so I could support him in an emotionally meaningful way. I asked if his loss included all the pictures of his son and items like his PhD dissertation. Unfortunately he shutdown and didn’t want to talk about it. Instead. he walked away to do some chores and find his zen place.

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It was two days later that Barry imploded for a trivial reason and ran away from everyone. When I was taking a shower, I found that someone used all my facial soap and I asked if it was my son or Barry. The only words I said were, “Who used my soap all gone?” and this caused Barry to fly off the handle.

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The two days between these events appeared to be happy, under the circumstances. The garden was blooming brilliantly, we spent good time together, we laughed at stand-up comedy, and the family played music together (both my son and Barry are musicians). But the moment I asked who used my soap, Barry flew into an absolute rage.

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He got in my face, screaming and spitting that it wasn’t him. I asked him to please stop yelling and to back up out of my personal space. That enraged him more and he began lunging at me with his chest puffed out, demanding that I give my engagement ring back to him. I was honestly afraid because he’d never been violent like this before. When he ran away in January there was uncharacteristic screaming, but he was never physically intimidating to me before this moment. He did this in front of my son as well, who was also astonished and standing ready in case he needed to jump in the middle to pull Barry away from me.

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I put the ring in his hand to make this stop and to prevent an escalation to fists flying. I thought we would reconvene the next day after he had a chance to calm down, but when I woke on June 29, 2020, Barry was gone. My ring was gone and so was my car, as well as some of my son’s rare music collection. Barry’s car (that he leases in his mother’s name) was also missing and the backdoor to my house was left open (we have a small family of cats that could have run away).

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I texted Barry in a panic to find out where he was. As he didn’t respond, I warned that it wasn’t okay for him to drive my Mustang because he cancelled his own insurance to drive at all. (This happened while he was home during May/June, after he began to confess his financial problems to me. He decided that he couldn’t afford his own insurance anymore and he intended to ride a bicycle until he was made whole from the Phoenix grievance.)

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In those messages I indicated that it wasn’t okay for him to take my ring either. I had no intention of giving it up and the law clearly validates the woman as the owner. Men don’t get to take their gifts back if they decide to end a relationship, no matter how loudly they exit in anger. I also made it clear that I still love him and I’m worried about his welfare. I advised that if he promised to get a mental health referral from the walk-in clinic that he could come back home and we’d work on this together. Parts of me were sad, stunned, angry, and scared to death at what might happen when Barry isn’t thinking clearly.

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He responded by blocking me as I mentioned his mental health, so my son tried sending texts to check on his welfare too. My son also needed to know if he was removed from the insurance policy and if he could legally drive anymore. We had no clue where Barry’s head was at and we had a family policy together through my broker (each of us had one vehicle). It’s just that I’m the only one who could insure the Mustang because I have a perfect record. Plus I have paperwork that Barry gifted me that car at the beginning of our committed relationship (for Valentine’s Day 2016). We only kept the ownerships the same to avoid the cost of transfer taxes.

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When you and I spoke, I know you were fixated on the fact that Barry’s name is still technically listed on the Mustang ownership, but again and with much respect, this will not save him from getting in trouble in three different scenarios. First, I have proof the car was a gift to me and it’s always been in my possession. Second, Barry cancelled his insurance to drive any vehicle whatsoever and the Mustang is covered under my name only, specifically at my address in Wasaga Beach. Third, although he didn’t actually break up with me, a family court would punish him for absconding with my assets as a common-law couple, should he decide to sever our relationship.

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As a bonus fourth consequence, Barry could be convicted of insurance fraud if he intends to drive the Mustang under my name and address. I love Barry and I want him to be well. I want our relationship to work, in spite of the government’s destruction of our lives. But I also have legal obligations and if the car is removed from my care and control, I’m obligated to report this change to the insurance broker.

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You and Barry may not understand the law, but I do and have no intention of being convicted for fraud. If he borrowed my car, that’s one thing that can be resolved by returning it. But if he plans to break up and keep it, I’m sure as heck not going to let him abuse my name on legal records and wind up in jail beside him. Barry can’t afford to drive a sports car and it’s possible no company would carry him for a high risk vehicle, when he was already convicted for driving without insurance, followed by a rollover write-off.

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Expecting me to do that harkens back to the 1950’s and I have no intention of giving up the equality rights women fought so hard to gain. If Barry was of sound mind right now he would emphatically agree, because he used to be quite vocal about equality rights as an ally to women before Phoenix destroyed everything in his world. I’m disappointed you think he can take my belongings if we weren’t fully married, as well as believing I should be liable for his driving transgressions because we’re a family. He can’t have his cake and eat it too, nor does he need misguided advice that would make any court in Canada irate to hear.

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As I’ve stated many times, my intention is to help Barry – not hurt him. I told you directly that he’s a missing person in emotional distress and he must first be located before I can decide to be angry. He must first be located to determine if he wanted to exit this relationship, or if he’s running away from his life altogether. People don’t usually end engagements over soap running out; but sometimes they become suicidal when they’re homeless, lose contact with their children, lose all their belongings, and can’t feed themselves.

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So far I’m giving Barry the benefit of the doubt that he needs our help and I wish you would too. Not every woman is crazy or little more than casual sex and I’d be grateful if you could show me some respect. No life partner should be met with silence when they’re calling to check on their mate in a life and death situation. You asked if Barry threatened to harm himself and I responded in the negative, but I cautioned his behaviour is so erratic that I couldn’t rule it out. Now you’re in possession of all the factors that are causing me to be uneasy, with emphasis on the surprise life insurance policy he gave to us at Christmas. Do you really think he planned to call off the wedding and take my things on the heels of a gesture like that?

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Now I need to explain the consequences of the position you’ve left me in, by refusing to respond for two weeks. All I needed to know was if you’re able to get in touch with Barry, not what he thinks, what he feels, or what his plans are – just that he’s alive and you know where he is so I don’t have to file a missing persons report with the police.

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No one has seen or heard from Barry since Monday, June 29, 2020. He hasn’t posted on social media since that day either. On that day he emptied the bank account, took my car, took his car, and took some of our valuables. On that day and before he departed, he did a bunch of chores like dishes, putting out the garbage, and watering half an acre’s worth of gardens. The place was tidy when I woke up and found him gone with the back door left open.

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Since that day, two paydays have passed and no money was transfered to the bank account we use to cover our bills and groceries. This has never happened before in nearly five years together. He also promised never to do that to me and my son, regardless of whatever might happen. I know promises don’t count for much, but specifically breaking one of that nature denotes an erratic action. The bank account will also incur penalties for non-sufficient-funds (NSF) in the very near future, because Barry didn’t deposit anything to cover the monthly fees. In that regard, he is also a missing person in the eyes of the bank, exhibiting uncharacteristic behaviour.

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Moreover, Barry has failed to pay the cellphone bill in all this time as well. It matters because the bill was in arrears and he had an agreement to repay it. Since the day Barry disappeared he’s missed three scheduled payments and the company began texting my phone to warn us the account is in default. We have a family plan and all our phones are at risk of being disconnected. (Barry and I split our bills and he was responsible for this one.)

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This creates a few problems and top of the list is that you won’t be able to reach him soon, if he is okay to respond. I have no money and can’t cover the bill because none went in the shared account and we can’t even buy food. (Two weeks is a long time when you can’t buy food, just so you know.)

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Should the phones become disconnected, police can’t use the GPS function to locate Barry as a missing person. We truly have no idea what’s happened to him and the possibilies are endless. Maybe he’s living large at the casino, or leading a dual life with another family. But it seems more likely he could be in the bush without a signal, depressed beyond belief, or crushed under his trailer with no one around to notice. It really could be anything and two to four weeks would be a long time alone to have a serious accident with no one to help. To the best of my understanding the trailer is not insured and it’s sitting on makeshift jacks, so who’s to say one of them couldn’t give out and trap Barry underneath? What if he was robbed and beaten in the night, in the middle of absolutely nowhere? What if he contracted COVID-19 and became too sick while isolating to seek medical care?

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I don’t see how living that way could even be considered safe by NRCan. One of your senior scientists is of no-fixed-address and no one who cares can reach him. I get that he’s been granted plenty of leeway to help him make due, but the real issue is the compound damage done by Phoenix and NRCan’s 2-year delay in making Barry whole. None of this would have happened if not for the consecutive and continuous payroll issues.

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Now the damage is so deep that Barry can’t afford to drive or to see his precious son. He can’t afford for his new family to eat, or to speak with any of his loved ones on the telephone. He won’t live to see his credit rating repaired and that means he can’t really finance anything for possibly the rest of his life. He consulted with someone about claiming bankruptcy and that wouldn’t clear from his credit profile until years after he retired from NRCan.

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Since you haven’t responded to let me know if you’re able to confirm signs of life, it will buy Barry a whole bucket of new trouble that I stressed I was trying to avoid. If I have to report him as missing to the police, I will also have to provide all the information for the Mustang because that’s what I believe he must be driving. If that happens, the police will be able to determine that he’s not insured to use it. If Barry acquires a second conviction for driving without insurance, he will never drive again in his lifetime.

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That could spell the end of our long distance relationship, maybe his job, or both. You really, really, really, shouldn’t force me to involve the police if you know Barry’s whereabouts. I’ve proposed a safer way to find him by contacting you and I would think NRCan should be amenable to helping, instead of humiliating Barry by getting police dispatched to his workplace. If I report him as missing, GLFC is the first place they’ll check for him anyway. So why can’t you respond to me and skip harming him any deeper? This situation calls for deescalation and not pushing him right over the edge.

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Another consequence is the fact that I’d have to share Barry’s story with the public. If my fiancé is missing, I’ll need everyone’s help to find him. Except I’m a journalist with a significant following on social media. Many government ministers follow me, as well as senior bureaucrats, senators, party officials of all stripes, union leaders, the prime minister’s advisors, and colleagues in mainstream media. You have to believe that it won’t go unnoticed if I tell everyone he’s missing.

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I absolutely, unreservedly, wholly, and completely swear, that I am not threatening you or anyone at NRCan. I’m attempting to do reputation management on the department’s behalf by not humiliating all of us and becoming the top national news story. I can’t help who I am and the effect of my professional network. I swear that I’m not bragging or name-dropping, because right now it’s become a liability to finding my missing loved one. I’m perfectly afraid that speaking up about Barry could cause him harm through further embarrassment. I could have never imagined being confronted with such a catch-22, or that I’d be torn over how to search for a missing person and the impact of publicity.

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I’ve asked you to do a wellness check because the stress he’s under is from work and he most likely went to the Soo. When the meeting was cancelled to negotiate his claim for damages and the office swiftly closed due to COVID, it left Barry staring at a bottomless abyss with no relief in sight. This bureaucratic mess is neutering him and it’s not cool to do to your fellow man. I assure you that I know what I’m talking about, because Barry’s crisis is predicated on feeling worthy enough to deserve a family. He feels like he let everyone down including me, his son, and his mother, enough to hide from everyone.

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I know you didn’t do this, Taylor, and it’s caused by a series of unfortunate systemic events. Likewise, I need for you to see Barry with compassion instead of judgment, and me with goodwill as opposed to malice. The pressures he’s facing are extraordinary and they’re beyond his control. The response he’s having to the weight of it is common, as replicated by the spike in crisis calls due to COVID-19, let alone the institutional madness that’s been inflicted on his income. In no way do I wish to diminish Barry’s excellence at his job by exposing this personal wobble. He’s done nothing to merit discipline and it’s a sign of strength to seek support whenever it might be needed. Please continue to stand by him and trust in his abilities, but also help him expedite a fair resolution to this predicament.

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You can think of me however you like, just please respond to indicate whether you’ve been able to locate Barry or not. We got by with help from a friend for the past few weeks, but now there really is no food and my son and I can’t qualify at the foodbank because Barry’s salary far exceeds the limit. I’m a disabled person and I require medicine that I’m about to go without. I don’t want to land in the hospital because the government needed twenty people to approve some type of response. I also don’t wish to be permanently blind and prevented from traveling to obtain the care I need. NRCan families deserve better than this and you know it. Barry deserves to have an equilibrium restored as well.

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While I’m not inclined to believe that Barry would ever harm us on purpose, there remains the possibility of a flipside if his emotional state deteriorated badly enough to constitute a stress induced psychosis. If you know that he’s alright and you’re simply refusing to tell me, this debacle could start to resemble domestic violence with NRCan’s involvement and complicity. In the most heartfelt way, I’m begging you not to let that happen.

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The butterfly effect of Phoenix pay issues is grossly underestimated and forcing me to go public with my story in the effort to locate Barry would whip the country into a frenzy, especially when I would need to ask for donations to help feed, transport, and medicate my family in the interim. Government opposition parties would have a heydey with the public service and I’ve spent my entire adult life advocating for civil servants. It could also pose a risk to the current class action, by giving consideration to expanding the claim for damages incurred by family members. Again, this isn’t a threat and it’s not what I’m seeking to do. I’ve only worked in the media long enough to have a good grasp of how our body politic operates. Once the issue leaves my lips it would take on a life of its own, over which you and I would no longer have control.

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Thank you for your time to read this and any actions you might take to assist. I will have my son check my email but it will likely be infrequent, so please consider calling me back to communicate over the telephone. I can’t express how difficult it is for me to read things anymore. Regardless of how it happens, I just need to hear from you to know if police should initiate a search.

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Yours very truly,

Amy MacPherson

@msamymacpherson

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——————

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I received a response from Taylor about 24-hours later. He informed me that Natural Resources Canada doesn’t consider Barry to be a missing person, nor did he believe my fiancé was under any stress. He claimed that NRCan takes mental health seriously, but asked that I not contact him or the government again, as they don’t consider themselves to be part of the problem.

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The president of Barry’s union hasn’t responded whatsoever and it’s now a month later.

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As things stand, the only person who may know Barry’s whereabouts is withholding that location (of no fixed address, somewhere in the nondescript wilderness). The address that NRCan keeps on file is at least two years out of date and does not reflect his state of homelessness, so I remain concerned the government is in a conflict of interest and has a vested interest in preventing that information from coming to light. Barry’s boss is procedurally tasked with defending the government in his grievance process and accepting the payroll issues caused this harm would amount to admitting liability. This is an incredibly serious problem when it comes to someone’s mental health and safety.

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When my fiancé departed, he left with approximately $30,000 worth of my assets and the only address I can send police or court documents is to his office at NRCan. That’s provided Barry is still alive and he meant to abuse me in this way, but his boss never denied my allegations and let all of them stand as expressed in my letter. By failing to object to my description of the situation, NRCan has passively admitted that they know Barry is homeless, they know he was living out of his office prior to COVID, and they know he’s a squatter in rural Sault Ste. Marie currently.

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It is therefore impossible to leave the government out of this because they’re the only point of contact that remains valid. In a nutshell, I was asked to stop searching for Barry because they claim he’s alive, but that knowledge, based on one man’s word, fails to resolve any of the problems. I still have no food for me and my son, no medicine that I require for a physical disability, and I’m being denied access to life altering medical care that will result in permanent blindness. If Barry is of sound mind, then NRCan has determined they support him in stealing my assets and committing severe domestic abuse. They will even go so far as to abet this behaviour by hiding him from the resulting legal issues.

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I personally disagree with Barry’s boss and I believe he’s under extreme duress. It was two days after he lost all of his belongings that he absconded with mine, in an obvious emotional breakdown. It was two days after he lost his belongings that he blocked everyone (not just me) from contacting him. Since I sent that letter, the bank account has become overdrawn due to monthly fees and it will soon be forwarded to a collection agency for non-use. This will harm his credit rating further and I’ve spent the past four years watching him fight tooth and nail to restore his financial reputation. Even the devil on my shoulder can’t believe that Barry would do this on purpose.

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Furthermore, I am deeply troubled the PIPSC union is abandoning its dues-paying members when their purported services are needed most.  The Harper government made life hell for scientists, but their labour representatives are now disinterested if they’re made to starve as homeless people.  There could be no greater disrespect and Ms. Daviau must be held accountable.

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I still haven’t shared all the details that cause me to worry for Barry’s safety. I will continue to guard some of his secrets fiercely, but something that didn’t make it into my letter is noteworthy and relevant to his missing status. When Barry came home in May 2020 he divulged that he expected me to go searching for him when he left in January. He was disappointed that I showed patience instead of panic and since he left the second time, he upped the ante to force me to panic. This time he’s ensured I cannot eat or work in the future if I don’t do something to find him and make this better.

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I’m not saying this is healthy behaviour or something I can condone, but given my life’s experience, I recognize it as a desperate cry for help. For the majority of our relationship I’ve been cherished as Barry’s ‘princess’ and though I caution against pedestals, it would be a wild turn of events if we suddenly went from that to leaving me for dead. Something is incredibly wrong and that’s the only part I know for sure.  He’s aware that I see a cardiologist and that my blood pressure is crashing all the time.  Leaving me without food or the ability to visit a doctor is incredibly dangerous and that’s something he wouldn’t do, even to his worst enemy.  Anyone who knows Barry also knows this to be true.

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I had promised to love him for better or for worse and the latter is arising now, so I’d be an awful person to turn my back after he cared for me in all the years prior. Obviously I can’t cope with the way I’m being treated today, but the love we shared wasn’t fake and I sincerely believe he’s in crisis.  If I give up searching myself and hand this over to police, he will not emerge unscathed and he risks losing the ability to drive again. If that were to happen it would be a death knell for his ability to exercise visitation with his son in another province.  I just don’t think that fighting fire with fire is appropriate for this situation.  I would like to be happy and healthy again, and for Barry to get whatever help he might need.

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The stakes are so high from so many angles that it’s not possible for me to get this exactly right. I can’t find Barry without offending someone, humiliating both of us, or putting his job in the middle of a resolution and my own reputation at risk. This is why I’m turning to the public for assistance and why I see this effort as the lesser of two evils. My eyesight has deteriorated so much that I can’t dial a phone anymore or read from a white screen. Yellow glasses don’t even help now and it’s getting worse by the week. I have precious little time left to resolve anything for either of us. It also puts my stomach in knots to keep sitting on my hands and watching the clock tick.

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If you could help me find my fiancé I would be eternally grateful. Below I will include pictures of him, as well as my car and engagement ring in case he tried to sell them anywhere. Possible locations include Sault Ste. Marie (the Soo), Wasaga Beach, Oakville, Guelph, and/or Edmonton.

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It’s apparent I need financial help of some sort to deal with this calamity in the immediate, but I don’t have Paypal and I don’t want to exploit Barry’s name across the entire internet by starting a GoFundMe campaign. A few friends had sent e-transfers to get us through the past two months and all I can say is I’ll share my email address in Twitter DM’s if anyone wanted to reach out that way (my byline is at the top of this entry and it’s hyperlinked to that account). My son set up my computer with a number of visual aids and they’re incredibly dysfunctional, but at least they work on social media and anyone can find me there. I really don’t like asking for money and it makes me queasy to be this vulnerable. It’s not that I have too much pride, but rather recognition that everyone is struggling during this godforsaken pandemic. I would never want someone else to go without in their effort to assist my family.

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I’m also unable to afford a lawyer at this time, so if any legal eagles stumble across my story I would be grateful for their advice.

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I will leave you now with my fiancé’s details:

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  • Dr. Barry J. Cooke

  • Age 53

  • Height 5’11”

  • Weight 195lbs

  • Salt and pepper hair

  • Blue eyes

  • Usually keeps a beard but shaved for COVID-19

  • Requires glasses to see

  • Often wears concert t-shirts and/or rock music shirts I made for him

  • Regularly carries an acoustic guitar

  • Likely driving a 2011 Ford Mustang convertible, silver with a black ragtop and scuffs on the front passenger bumper, Ontario plate #CEDA 056

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So everyone knows, I did attempt to message Barry and give him fair warning that I planned to make this public if I didn’t hear from him. He’s had reasonable notice and still failed to make contact (another reason to believe he must be in crisis).

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Please see the pictures and thanks very much for your time to read about our tribulations. In the meantime, we will try our best to keep the faith and light a candle so he can find his way home again.  If nothing else, may my broken heart and humiliation cause you to hug your nearest and dearest.  And please… consider the effects of a double cohort caused by Phoenix and COVID-19 the next time you feel like berating a public servant.  It’s not the high life you might think it is and none of them were qualified for CERB.

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Wet’suwet’en Dispute: Be Careful What You Wish For

March 5, 2020

By @MsAmyMacPherson

 

I will begin this topic by declaring my conflict of interest, that in some ways facilitates my insight into the dispute about Indigenous hereditary chiefs, and in other ways may contribute to an unintentional bias. Due to that peril I submit this as an opinion-editorial, although facts will still be supported with hyperlinks throughout.

 

It’s been uncomfortable to watch the mob of Caucasian journalists attempting to cover this story when they know little-to-nothing about Indigenous affairs and are limited to the Crown’s point of view, whether sympathetic or indifferent. I didn’t want to be another ‘white’ person speaking above Indigenous voices, in an effort to frame their complaints in newspeak that ultimately silences them. Repeatedly I’ve stated that I don’t wish to pick sides and I’ve attempted to caution netizens against defining those sides, because it’s clear they’re unable to appreciate the full dynamics and destructive outcomes if their wishes are granted. But here we are and after much deliberation, I decided it was necessary to speak up before this situation devolves any further.

 

There is more at stake than anyone knows from their respective but insular silos, and that includes the Minister of Indigenous Services Marc Miller, as well as Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Carolyn Bennett. More than anyone, they need to grasp the legal landmines that await them and some of the hidden players who are interfering behind the scenes. This Coastal GasLink project in British Columbia will have severe ramifications for Ontario hydro but like all Indigenous affairs, this matter is also complicated. Please be patient as I explain something that is dear to my heart and has the potential to negatively impact all Canadians as well as First Nations. I’m taking a leap of faith that Miller’s personal experience with Mohawks and the Canadian Forces will enable him to see where I’m coming from and make the vitriolic blowback from all sides worth the risk to put my hand up (original / archive).

 

Full Disclosure

 

As for my disclosure, I was once engaged to a Mohawk hereditary chief’s grandson. It was nearly half my lifetime ago and our relationship began around the time of the Supreme Court of Canada’s Delgamuukw decision, that established Indigenous rights and title for the Wet’suwet’en people (original / archive). For the sake of respect and privacy, I will refer to my ex-partner as “EM”.

 

That relationship lasted for five years and prior to meeting EM, I had grown up in foster care with several Indigenous girls, who outnumbered Caucasian Crown Wards by at least two-to-one. I’m familiar with the most intimate details about their time in protective care and the way those situations are now portrayed by adults, advocates, newspapers, and much of government is utterly abhorrent. Over the past four decades I’ve seen the many ways our democratic system dehumanizes their struggles, to be little more than statistics and ones that only count after they are gone. But during those tender years in foster care together, there was no apparent racism to confront because we were all part of a sisterhood that bonded deeper than skin colour or either of our cultures. We were also too young to recognize the historic and societal racism that caused their family breakdowns.

 

Needless to say, my time with EM would be an incredible learning experience for both of us. Although EM barely escaped foster care in an extension of the Sixties Scoop (arguably it still happens today), he did suffer abuse that plagued his identity and led to numbing with substances on his journey to making peace with the past. I will not break confidence to describe his ordeal and my intent is not to shame anyone, but the polite terms for inter-generational trauma are a compounding factor in suffering from it.

 

As EM and I entered the adult world we both had to learn about racism. It was only then that I discovered the true identity of my country, in contrast to everything I was taught about Canada in school. In the left-leaning city of Hamilton, Ontario and seat of the provincial NDP leader, we were kicked out of restaurants for being a bi-racial couple, along with my toddler son. We were denied the ‘privilege’ of renting movies from certain convenience stores, and followed around in shopping malls that frequently ended with security guards wanting to search us for suspected theft. The majority of stores denied his ‘Indian’ status tax card and in one dispute about its legality, the police were called to have us removed from Sears. Once the police were called because I needed to use a bathroom at a sports complex and I wasn’t welcome to enter due to my ‘dirty Indian’ companion. The police always told us they agreed it wasn’t fair, but they had to enforce private business rules and we should take our complaints to the brick wall known as government.

 

Walking down the street together with a baby wagon in tow, we were regularly confronted with racist slurs from all manner of Canadians. I was the target as often as EM and attacks from foreign exchange students were particularly confounding. Racism was more common than acceptance, so when younger people with linguistic accents put us down it stuck out like a sore thumb. For years I wondered if relations were this volatile because of our close proximity to the Six Nations reserve, but a lifetime of experience that was enriched by the internet proved location had nothing to do with it.

 

EM knew this would happen in Hamilton, though he was unprepared for the racism we’d have to deal with on his reserve as well. His mother was incredibly supportive of us, but the same wasn’t true of nearly anyone else. When EM proposed to me at Six Nations on a visit for Christmas Eve, his family was disgruntled that a hereditary chief’s grandson would consider marrying a white woman. They felt the Mohawk warrior bloodline had to remain pure and they were incensed beyond belief that EM would give his mother’s ring to me. They further warned that I couldn’t live with him on the reserve and if he was making a choice to be with me, EM would have to abandon his Indigenous claim and basically become a Caucasian. On a couple of visits warning shots were fired in our general direction as a more forceful statement of disapproval. Thankfully I grew up with farming heritage so it didn’t scare the wits out of me.

 

Growth spurts can be painful and neither of us was comfortable, but as tragic love stories go, it was us against the world together. I consoled him, he consoled me, and the blindness of our youth caused us to believe that we could educate others about how to coexist. I enjoyed learning the details about his culture and the Two Row Wampum so much, that I encouraged EM to be heard in my Caucasian world by participating in venues such as elections and the long-form census. He gave crucial input for my letters to various authorities that explained the threats and consequences of our system to Indigenous relations. Little did I know how badly I was harming him by projecting my identity onto his, when his was in absolute crisis. Little could I appreciate the legal claims of the Two Row Wampum as an original treaty that purportedly granted sovereignty, over folktales and the way Caucasians approach Indigenous peoples as some sort of mystical entity (original / archive).

 

At the time of the Wet’suwet’en’s Delgamuukw case, the government still referred to “Indian Affairs”, but I knew from EM that “Indians are from India and Christopher Columbus was lost when he discovered the Americas”. It was funny to us then but more than twenty years later, his people are still governed by the Indian Act that hasn’t been updated to reflect our geography. I wasn’t even old enough to grasp that calling all brown people Indians was a racist slur against India in the same breath. Before the widespread use of internet, Gen X and Baby Boomers were confined to growing up myopically with whatever our televisions and governments told us.

 

I also knew from EM long ago about the division between First Nations band councils and their inherent incompatibility with the system of hereditary chiefs. After all, this was EM’s legacy to protect in a bloodline hierarchy that he nearly abandoned to be united with me. In a Caucasian nutshell, I was his Meghan and he was my Harry. (I mean no offence to Indigenous readers and I ask that they accept me as a white person, speaking to a predominantly white audience, in white terms they’ll find relatable. I might make small errors but my intentions and respect are genuine.)

 

EM never stopped complaining about Six Nations and Mohawk elected chiefs from a number of different angles that are paramount to resolving the rail blockades occurring today. I don’t claim to know all their grievances and this is not an exhaustive list, but it’s what I learned from EM that was exacerbated by the landmark Delgamuukw court decision at the beginning of our relationship.

 

Elected chiefs are an affront to most Indigenous tribes, or at least the families of clan leaders who became displaced by the imposition of colonial government over their way of life. Those who wish to remain true to their traditional ways call First Nations elected representatives “Indian agents” in the most derogatory sense. EM viewed band councils as sellouts who became an extension of the oppressive colonial government that’s lied to them for hundreds of years. For this reason it’s extraordinary that Jody Wilson-Raybould offered to mediate the current Wet’suwet’en dispute, because she was part of that illegitimate First Nations structure in the eyes of hereditary supporters who are now protesting across the country (original / archive).

 

I haven’t spoken with EM in more than a decade, but I’m positive that Jody Wilson-Raybould is one of the most inappropriate people to negotiate this situation. She may want to be the second coming of Joseph Brant for colonial history books, but the traditional narrative doesn’t favour Brant in the same way that Caucasians do.

 

Although the former attorney general claims to champion UNDRIP (United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples), Jody Wilson-Raybould abandoned her own effort to implement these measures within the Department of Justice upon exiting that position. It was her most important work that she never bothered to mention and neglected to defend when Michael Wernick made it an issue during the SNC Lavalin affair (original / archive).

 

Given the importance of understanding Mohawk and hereditary history to resolve the blockades, I strongly advise studying a basic background at the very least, to be able to gain one’s bearings. For that purpose I will link three Wikipedia entries that assist with an overview. I accept that Wikipedia is no authority and it’s subject to biased edits, but there is no comparable example of an overview on a single page with references. Readers are further encouraged to visit the copious reference links to original materials and mentally note all the times there is conflicting or absent information, due to the extermination of Indigenous languages and cultural history. Early and continuous efforts to force the assimilation of Indigenous tribes has a longstanding impact that undermines even their ability to legally defend their rights today. What’s clear through Wikipedia is the severity of that destruction and how it’s impeding the current reconciliation effort, but to its credit there is ample explanation of many of the points I will be touching on.

#1. Six Nations of the Grand River (original / archive)

#2. Iroquois/Haudenosaunee Confederacy (original / archive)

#3. Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory (original / archive)

 

The next parts may offend my Indigenous friends and I apologize, but some of the Mohawks the government must negotiate with are direct relatives of EM. Therefore explaining EM’s point of view as cautiously as possible can illuminate some of the sticking points that Canadians don’t understand. All they see are court injunctions, either opposed or supported, and my colleagues in the Canadian media industry who keep pushing the government for an unreasonable and imaginary timeline to gripe about. Everyone wants publicity for their ‘hot take’ and this callous behaviour couldn’t be more damaging to sorting out one of the greatest problems facing our entire country (original / archive).

 

I warned about this during the federal election and despite my article going viral, it was quickly forgotten since the votes were tabulated. Now there’s more context and rail blockades to force everyone to do their homework, because failure to resolve the Wet’suwet’en dispute from a functional perspective will result in a domino effect that ripples across Ontario, Quebec, and the main artery of all Canadian energy, shipping, and transportation points. That means the business community will need to listen carefully too. This issue isn’t a simple matter of accommodating hereditary chiefs. Bullying won’t resolve this and neither will greasing anyone’s palms with a bit of extra cash or favours. The way business consults with Indigenous tribes is at stake and the ability of Canada to conduct business as a contiguous nation.

 

To drive the point home, here is a map of all 630+ Indigenous reserves in Canada. We can’t weave any national infrastructure around them and they can’t establish entirely sovereign services without going through colonial territory as well.

 

Story continues below…

Source: Government of Canada (original / archive)

 

Time with EM taught me there are deeper divisions between First Nations band councils and hereditary leadership beyond the legal legitimacy of either to govern their nations. When one sees the other as a traitor to the people, negative words and actions ensue that have now been compounding for several decades and generations.

 

In EM’s case a different family took the helm of elected band council and this resulted in discrimination against EM and much of his family. The elected first family had running water, a paved driveway, new vehicles, and a newly built house; whereas EM’s family didn’t receive funding for running water, sanitation, or insulation, let alone a new structure. When we visited the home of his hereditary chief grandfather (deceased, RIP) we had to urinate in a bucket and the disparity between homes was visibly apparent while driving through neighbourhood streets. Some families were evidently prosperous and others were treated like second class citizens, depending on their relationships with band council. Eventually as EM’s grandmother grew older, she was forced into a rental accommodation within the City of Brantford. She had to leave the reserve because it became too hard to do maintenance tasks, like emptying the feces bucket far enough away from the garden and children’s play area.

 

It was hard for me to comprehend at the time, but as the years passed there were ample photos on social media of Indigenous families from across the country who are wrestling with similar issues. I always ask permission to share their content when it crosses my path because I don’t want to objectify or exploit their struggles. But every time it touches me deeply and I’ve experienced this degradation as a firsthand witness. I’ve seen what we’ve done to them and how badly they must fight to keep their dignity intact. They don’t run to the news with their stories and photos because it would weaken their position with government. Canadians already treat Indigenous peoples like second class citizens and revealing the reality of a third class can be too demeaning to recover from.

 

If you need a glaring example then consider Attawapiskat and what becomes of those who challenge the third class phenomenon. It invites scrutiny and blame, the opposite of reconciliation. It can result in third-party fiscal management that revokes Indigenous authority over the First Nation in question. During eras of Conservative government there can be extensive campaigns to undermine and emotionally destroy Indigenous leaders. The political right-wing absolves itself of wrongdoing and twists the narrative to accuse Indigenous leaders of stealing or hoarding the tribe’s (non-existent) riches (original / archive).

 

In fact, the previous Harper government went so far as to delegitimize First Nations by pitting off-reserve Indigenous populations against the families that remained. That was the purpose in naming Patrick Brazeau to the senate, to elevate the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples above the Assembly of First Nations. That was also the alleged purpose behind the controversial Wobtegwa Métis Nation (bi-racial), that was accused of diluting the Indigenous population with colonizers and the threat of overlapping land claims with legitimate Mi’kmaq to oust them from the region (original / archive).

 

The Métis themselves will complain of being treated like third class citizens, in comparison to full-blooded tribes. A few years ago I was forced to witness Métis contributors being banned from Idle No More groups, by a small handful of overzealous social media administrators. In the minds of many, the Métis are to First Nations what the Muggles are to Harry Potter’s Hogwarts. The original Métis peoples from the prairies further decry other Métis claims that arise in Eastern Canada as impostors.

 

These divisions represent a paradox that occurs frequently when any oppressed demographics are kept in poverty. They may wind up standing on each other as a means of getting out, when everyone is really fighting for the ability just to feed their own children. The Conservative Harper government thrived on exploiting that human condition and it wasn’t pretty.

 

But for as much as it hurt EM to see band council homes thriving, it’s not due to an excess of First Nation riches like right-wing colonials have tried to convince him. The unvarnished truth is there isn’t enough to go around because Indigenous trust funds, of their own money, are controlled by the government and released in dribbles as if all Indigenous peoples are foster kids in perpetuity. This is an illness that impairs the colonial mindset in all political parties, exacerbated by extensive misinformation that suggests First Nations operate with colonial taxpayer handouts (original / archive).

 

When families on the reserve have to be prioritized there are winners and losers. Naturally the most popular who are closest to the purse strings will benefit before their perceived enemies, and sometimes this dynamic develops between elected band council and hereditary leadership that has oftentimes opposed them. No elected leader of any population will ration a nation’s income equally among its citizens. Even Bernie Sanders wouldn’t propose this type of extreme socialism in a capitalist society, because it would obliterate the incentive to be successful. But this is one of the ways Canadians contribute to dividing tribes like the Wet’suwet’en and Mohawk Nations, by keeping the leash so short that their people aren’t treated equally within the same reservation.

 

In my early twenties everything EM said was gospel because he was my only source of Indigenous political information. I fell into the trap of division that plagues First Nations and remains at the centre of the Wet’suwet’en dispute that has spilled across Canada with an ultimatum to take one side or the other. This same division is used to split the left and it does so with alarming speed and efficacy. The left says, “protest” and the right says, “lock them up”. The left says, “environment” and the right says, “jobs”. All the while each side points at the middle and blames the Liberals for attempting to find balance and coexistence in the present day. The outcome is usually silencing the moderates and completely losing sight of Indigenous equality. So long as they’re kept unequal to one another Canada can keep squabbling and release the government from its duty to make them whole again, which will take more time than money to readjust our relationship with 630+ nations. This situation will be further compounded by the views of new political party leaders, inexperienced or opportunistic members of parliament, and partisan changes in government.

 

That’s hardly the only source of division that confronts our Indigenous neighbours. I also learned from EM about the impact of religion. I can only speak to Mohawk history but it does appear relevant because they’re the ones engaged in rail blockades. For the most part everyone is respectful of Christianity and it’s not a battle that non-believers invite because it can split the Mohawk Nation as a whole and reach straight into their families.

 

Some of EM’s family is religious while some of it is loyal to traditional spirituality, and others do their best to incorporate both belief systems. But it does present another source of division that represents yet another historical injury, that persists with damaging inner relations to this day. This was plainly apparent in a Globe and Mail editorial about the Wet’suwet’en, that was penned by an idyllic and Christian Indigenous professor (original / archive). He was not at all careful about the arrival of religion and its forced implementation through tortuous brainwashing in the residential school system (original / archive). Some of them accepted, some of them rejected, and it will continue to cause a ruckus in some of their families with every passing Easter and Christmas.

 

The Mohawk Nation was caught first in the battle between Canada and the United States before our countries formally existed. Their natural home spanned both sides of the eventual border but famine, smallpox, and consistent wars for land acquisition eventually pushed them back from what became upstate New York. Then battles ensued within the early stages of pre-Canada between the British and French, in what became Ontario and Quebec. If you’re lucky you might have spent one week in elementary school grazing over the 1600 and 1700’s, when none of this information would have impressed upon you. Most Canadians have never been taught the actual history of Indigenous tribes in the formation of our country and immigrants are entirely in the dark about the gratitude owed to them.

 

The Mohawk Nation in particular was a roving warrior tribe and they were split between Quebec and Ontario. Each allied the respective French or British forces and mostly kept a pact not to war with their own people despite the colonizers’ expectations. They concerned themselves with defeating competing tribes to become the dominant merchant in the lucrative fur trade business. But with the French came Catholic Jesuits and with the British came Anglican (Protestant) missionaries. Both played a significant role in colonizing Indigenous peoples and one of only twelve Royal Chapels in the entire world was constructed on their Grand River reserve in Ontario. That Grand River reserve (known as Six Nations) also contained the oldest, continuously operated residential school in Canada.

 

So EM’s ancestors were split by location, split by religion, and split from their families as children, to be violently conditioned against their culture. EM’s mother had to run away with her baby to the City of Hamilton to protect him from being taken – and that was as the hereditary chief’s daughter. She was additionally ridiculed by members of her family for leaving and taking up residence in a white man’s Canada. As far as I can tell, she couldn’t win for losing no matter what she did and I respect her unreservedly for making those difficult choices. I was too young to fully appreciate the ramifications when I knew her and for that I extend my apology.

 

EM’s childhood was then spent between the reserve and the city. He grappled with identity issues upon becoming an adult, but no one knew who or what to blame exactly. She bore the brunt of it and so did his mind, whenever he’d relapse into substance abuse to kill the pain. I did my best to support and encourage him, but eventually the effects of inter-generational trauma can cripple the best intentions of most people and extinguish the trust needed for recovery. I cannot emphasize enough that “inter-generational trauma” is a nice phrase Caucasians use to whitewash the awful details that impact entire families, entire tribes, and entire nations. Although I never caused this harm, I’m still sorry that Canadian voters don’t know how to stop the excruciating oppression of Indigenous peoples.

 

Adding insult to injury, the Ontario-based branch of the Mohawk Nation is split between the Grand River (Six Nations) and the Bay of Quinte (Tyendinaga). This happened because they lost traditional lands throughout the American, British, and French wars and these two parcels were the replacements, granted by colonial masters for assisting in battle at the incredible cost of their homes and formerly large presence in New York. But even rewards were backhanded, in that the new locations had to be settled and they would need to learn subsistence farming in harsh conditions to survive.

 

Joseph Brant And The Haudenosaunee Confederacy

 

Joseph Brant, a celebrated Indigenous leader and Canadian folklore hero, further divided the Mohawks at the Six Nations reserve. I learned a little about Brant again in elementary school, but the greatest lessons were taught to me by EM and the hereditary leadership point of view (according to EM and a selection of Canadian historians).

 

Whereas Canadians generally respect Brant and many landmarks reference his influence in establishing Southern Ontario (the politically coveted 905 region), EM saw this Mohawk giant as a sellout who ultimately betrayed his people. Joseph Brant wasn’t an Indigenous chief, but he did become a ‘war chief’ and paid army captain for the British. He studied at a missionary school (willingly, in comfort, entirely different from the residential schools that befell the Mohawk Nation) and proudly supported the Church of England. Brant also dedicated part of his life’s work to translating Anglican scripture into the Mohawk language.

 

During luxurious trips to Britain he became a Freemason. Brant was also a master of the scorched earth tactic and he burned several villages to the ground, including some that belonged to his Indigenous allies in the Haudenosaunee Confederacy (aka Iroquois Confederacy, Five Nations and/or Six Nations). When Joseph Brant was flexing his muscles he participated in what can be described as the genocide of fellow tribes, whether they were friend or foe. He did it for land when the Mohawks over-hunted beavers in their own territory and he did it for colonial wars. Brant even killed one of his sons and kept slaves to service his mansion, while benefiting from riches bestowed to him by the Crown that elevated him above hereditary chiefs in his own tribe. One of his wives was a prisoner of war who was forced to assimilate with the Iroquois, before she was gifted to Brant to bear children. Tyendinaga is named after him (Brant’s traditional name), where the Mohawk hereditary chiefs are currently engaged in protests.

 

Although I’m trying to form the basis of the Wet’suwet’en dispute, it’s quite important to grasp the history of Joseph Brant and why the Mohawks are intervening in that situation. What’s unfolding now is reminiscent of Brant and the tactics he employed are being somewhat emulated. It’s as if someone took a page from his legacy to breathe new life into an old mission, that could potentially see strategic lands along the Canada-US border acquired by a Republican faction by way of Aboriginal title, hereditary control, and a bit of manipulation. It sounds far fetched, but stay with me.

 

Joseph Brant is the immediate cause of a modern Canadian land claim dispute brought by the Mohawk Nation. The Tyendinaga reserve was granted to Brant, but it was done by the Crown purchasing that land from a different First Nation. There are questions if that tribe gave its free and informed consent. The Six Nations reserve on the Grand River was also granted to Brant, as thanks and payment for his service in the British army. It’s at the latter location that he kept African-American slaves (original / archive).

 

More important is the fact that Brant sold large parcels of the Six Nations reserve to colonial settlers from New York. He tried to recreate his childhood with German, Irish, Scottish, and British friends who were his neighbours in the United States, but lost their own properties during the American Revolution. It’s a sordid affair that deeply altered the treaty and cost the Haudenosaunee people much of their land, including what became the colonized Town of Brantford. Today the Mohawk want their land back or proper payment for it and this claim is complicated by a scandal that confirms they were defrauded for much of this asset by the British, prior to the establishment of Canada. It’s also not their traditional lands since time immemorial, but rather a replacement for them. As a result, modern Canada was left with perhaps the most complex and contentious land claim that remains unresolved (original / archive).

 

EM blamed the Crown for taking away his land, but history puts some onus on Joseph Brant for betraying their interests and scholars debate if the responsibility lies with Canada or Britain to repay the defrauded amount. Indigenous scholars also debate Brant’s legal authority, given that he wasn’t a hereditary chief with the capacity to enter into treaties or land sales within the traditional system at the time. This is particularly troublesome, in light of the same dispute happening today within the Wet’suwet’en Nation and others.

 

EM was also in his early twenties when he shared this oral history with me and I couldn’t know if his viewpoint became more informed over the next two decades. What I do know is that after the Crown tried to stop Joseph Brant from selling Indigenous land to colonial settlers, he tried to play Canadians against the Americans, as well as a plot to play Canadians (British) against the French, in an effort to benefit himself first and foremost. Brant attempted to upend peace treaties between major countries by agitating to reignite wars, and sell his allegiance to any foreign power that would add to his bank account more than pre-Canada had already done. This is after he acquired colonial-type mansions and turned his back on Indigenous peoples, refusing to assist them in tribal wars when they had previously assisted him.

 

People have a way of romanticizing the past, but the details about Joseph Brant’s legacy include treachery and even the murder of non-combatant civilians and children. He embraced colonial settlers and betrayed the Haudenosaunee Confederacy on more than one occasion. He was called “Monster Brant” by some, for his depraved tactics in war such as the scorched earth policy. As with any historical figure there are disputes about certain points and he did good things for the Mohawk Nation, by keeping them alive and prosperous in the course of his lifetime. No one is all good or all bad, but Canadians are woefully unfamiliar with the negative aspects because our school system doesn’t teach them.

 

As I continue to bring these issues to the present day, I strongly advise reading something about Brant’s history to be able to understand what Canada is faced with. I’m including a link to his Wikipedia page, again with caution that it’s not an authority and it’s subject to biased edits. But the reference section contains an abundance of links to original material from historians and war memorials, and skimming through this single page will prepare you better than skipping over it. Some of Joseph Brant’s history is in the process of being repeated because Canadians have neglected to study and resolve it (original / archive).

 

UNDRIP Based On Two Row Wampum

 

Few Canadians know the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) is predicated on the Haudenosaunee Confederacy and Mohawk Nation (original / archive).

 

Before the United Nations existed there was the League of Nations, that Mohawks lobbied for membership and recognition as a sovereign nation. Tyendinaga and Six Nations asserted the Two Row Wampum as the original treaty between the Haudenosaunee, Britain, and subsequently Canada. They argued that governors and the Department of Indian Affairs couldn’t override that agreement, because it was a nation-to-nation contract that recognized the Haudenosaunee as an ally and not as British subjects.

 

From EM I learned the Two Row Wampum to mean something like ‘two boats travelling in the same river, with a vow not to steer each other’s ship’. In many ways it guided the way we approached our relationship, from respecting our different belief systems to splitting household chores as equals and paying common bills. I could get behind that ideology because it made so much sense and it treated me more fairly than any boyfriend that came before him. EM’s struggles with identity and substance abuse caused our union to be on-again-off-again, but he never lost sight of the Two Row Wampum and trying to get his boat in the parallel position. To us it was less of a treaty than a philosophical approach to life.

 

But the Two Row Wampum is a political instrument designed by the Haudenosaunee people and I don’t mean to take away from that. What I’m trying to say is this treaty represents an Indigenous law that the Mohawks have never abandoned. It is so ingrained throughout every generation that regardless of one’s path, they do not lose sight of it. It is the founding principle for their relationship to Canada that would become adopted by the United Nations as a matter of human rights. It’s a beautiful concept, at least until it’s subject to government consideration when the issue of sovereignty arises.

 

Therefore I was not surprised when the Mohawks of Tyendinaga asserted the Two Row Wampum amid the current standoffs at transportation junctions in Ontario and Quebec. I even note that descendants of Joseph Brant are speaking with media to inform Canadians about their Indigenous legal justification. Anyone adhering to the Two Row Wampum can’t accept court injunctions from Canada as having legal force on their lands. Nor can they abide by any colonial police force attempting to set foot on the reservation as a sovereign nation, in their long held opinions and interpretation (1. original / archive, 2. original / archive 3. original / archive).

 

A particular sticking point for the Haudenosaunee Confederacy is the history of UNDRIP and how today mirrors their thwarted application to the League of Nations almost identically. Back in the 1920’s there were political hijinks that tilted the process, along with interference by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to subdue their aspirations (original / archive).

 

The Mohawk people have never given up, nor will they. And not only is UNDRIP based on the Two Row Wampum, but so is the United States Constitution as acknowledged by the US senate (original / archive). The only problem is that both provide for human and political rights, but neither extend full sovereignty to Indigenous nations within state, provincial, and/or international borders. The original Two Row Wampum does.

 

Contrary to wisdom from the global conservative movement that demands complete assimilation of Indigenous peoples, implementing UNDRIP is the only way to avoid these head-to-head confrontations over ultimate sovereignty. Rest assured that work on Indigenous rights at the United Nations has as much to do with maintaining national security as it does with treating anyone with respect.

 

I encourage Indigenous readers to inspect my prior investigation into Jody Wilson-Raybould and the Indigenous Rights Framework (based on UNDRIP). It was opposed by Conservative lawyers within the Department of Justice, in addition to figureheads who come from the old INAC and balked at this reconciliation effort (1. original / archive, 2. original / archive, 3. original / archive).

 

I would suggest to everyone (Indigenous and colonial) that they’re unaware of their own blind spots and approaching this situation without a realistic long term goal and strategy could prove costly. These standoffs are not ad hoc dilemmas and there are no piecemeal magic solutions.

 

Moreover, revival of a push to assert sovereignty through the Mohawk’s Two Row Wampum and the Wet’suwet’en’s Delgamuukw case is being driven by Gen X, now in its prime and assuming positions of leadership. If there is an inability to repair the fractured relationship between Indigenous peoples and colonial governments at this time, the problem will rise again through Gen Y and Gen Z, just as it’s dogged every generation that kept us in this holding pattern since the late 1700’s. Colonials might not know their history, but Indigenous people sure do.

 

Reluctance and foot-dragging might have also been possible to avoid the hard lifting in earlier times, but procrastination can’t work in a digitally connected world that influences and organizes.

 

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Source: Twitter (original / archive)

 

That concludes the relevant background on the Tyendinaga and Six Nations Mohawks. I’m sure there are details missing because the establishment of Canada, the United States, and Indigenous reserves can’t possibly fit in one entry. I regret that portion had to be written from a personal perspective due to my conflict of interest, but I took the time to explain because those Indigenous protesters are human beings who deserve to be treated with respect, regardless of anyone’s sentiments about the Wet’suwet’en crisis. I don’t know if EM is participating in a blockade but it wouldn’t surprise me if he was there, because he did attend Oka. Whether or not EM is present, his family is part of the negotiation process due to positions they hold. They also deserve to be humanized and any person engaging with them needs to be mindful of the serious damage caused by racism and betrayal that ever led us to this flash point.

 

In the end EM and I parted ways, due to massive historical wrongs and consistent clashes between our cultures. Eventually I came to see that love for love’s sake is not enough to heal either of our nations and that no two people can solve the deeply embedded divisions that dominate the entire ecosystem we found ourselves trying to navigate. This requires a concerted team effort on all sides that is committed to lasting peace.

 

As I learned from EM, you don’t have to be the person staring down the barrel of a gun to be harmed by the never-ending dissension. If you heard the slurs they have to put up with on a daily basis, it would change your entire opinion about Canada. I continue to wish him and his family well, regardless of how I may be cast by activists from all corners. For the record, EM was a professionally trained chef but due to racism that pervades all things, he was unable to get an apprenticeship to finish his red seal certification. Dejected and continuously injured by my colonial world, he then turned his focus to becoming a police officer to help Indigenous youths avoid the pitfalls that come with facing a Canada that confronts them with hatred every time they step off the reserve.

 

In the meantime, hereditary chiefs, First Nations, and Canadians will need to decide what UNDRIP and nation-to-nation means in this country. At some point all 630+ nations will need to be invited to the same table because the ‘divide and conquer’ approach is set to backfire spectacularly until we get this right.

 

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Source: Twitter (original / archive)

 

During The Federal Election

 

During the most recent federal election (Oct 2019), the Mohawk Nation came to my attention. I published an investigation about foreign interference from the fake news project led by the Buffalo Chronicle. Surprisingly it revealed connections to political trickster, Warren Kinsella, as well as American Republicans that include Roger Stone. But the most amazing development was that it connected to the hereditary chiefs that oversee Six Nations and Tyendinaga.

 

There were plenty of reports citing the Buffalo Chronicle for fake news attacks on Justin Trudeau. All of mainstream media attempted to warn audiences against believing anything published by that source. But they didn’t dig deep enough to investigate the publisher who has these contentious ties to political operatives. They also didn’t discover the Buffalo Chronicle was posting articles about hereditary chiefs for the same duration as their campaign against Justin Trudeau (pre-writ and throughout the writ, including voting day).

 

What it boils down to is an alt-right plot to exploit the legal void that was created by the Supreme Court of Canada’s Delgamuukw decision, regarding the Wet’suwet’en’s confirmation of Aboriginal title (that neglected to define how the land title could be exercised, or by whom). The characters behind the Buffalo Chronicle published a detailed plan for what amounts to a hostile takeover of Six Nations’ land and resources, by asserting hereditary superiority over elected band council and claim to sovereign nationhood with respect to Aboriginal title.

 

It’s a re-imagined battle from the time of Joseph Brant, involving some descendants of the original rival clans. Except the modern version involves a plan to gain control of the transportation and energy corridor from Southern Ontario to Quebec (encompassing the entire interior Great Lakes region), and US President Donald Trump’s cronies with their fingerprints on this endeavour.

 

Cutting through the implausibility is the fact that a Buffalo Chronicle backer, who is loyal to Trump and best friends with Roger Stone, already gained control of Niagara Falls tourism on the Canadian side by exploiting our legal and political systems. The same people have their eye on manoeuvres to gain control of hydro-electric energy from the Niagara River. The propaganda they published about Six Nations and hereditary chiefs involves hostile manipulation of Indigenous band councils to get a piece of Hydro One as well.

 

My article about the Buffalo Chronicle went viral barely ahead of voting day.

 

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Source: Twitter (original / archive)

 

There are a few updates since that major investigation:

 

The Six Nations free press was firebombed immediately after the federal election and the plan for Indigenous land in Canada is flexing through the current standoffs, as it was similarly proposed by well-connected Republicans. I am not assigning blame or suggesting collusion, but my Indigenous friends will need to determine what’s happening. I hope no one wants to see Indigenous journalists harmed and this was a serious act of violence that could have easily resulted in death (original / archive).

 

The Mohawk warriors who are supporting hereditary chiefs are also being co-opted by a group of anarchists that appear to be based in the United States. Many interest groups are attempting to piggyback the Indigenous sovereignty cause, but this one is particularly organized, it operates anonymously, and it’s funded by untraceable Bitcoin. They’ve begun publishing about the Two Row Wampum as inspired colonials, in their efforts to spark a “revolution” in Canada. Our Indigenous friends will need to be cognizant and clear if the Mohawk Nation condones this association, because Canada and the United States may consider this element to be a threat to national security that has the potential to quash Indigenous aspirations should either country respond from a defence perspective as the right-wing has been urging (1. original / archive, 2. original / archive).

 

It came to my attention that Warren Kinsella was further employed by the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council (hereditary chiefs), adding another layer of curiosity to his relationship with the Buffalo Chronicle, the plot against Six Nations, and the current standoff at Tyendinaga (archive only, original is now password protected). It is therefore important to mention his potential conflict-of-interest, having worked for INAC (Indian Affairs) in a government capacity, as well as First Nations and Mohawk hereditary chiefs (original / archive). Even that detail is reminiscent of Joseph Brant’s legacy and the amount of parallels in this whole saga is truly remarkable.

 

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Source: Daisy Consulting Group (original / archive)

 

Untangling Truth About Wet’suwet’en

 

Regarding the Wet’suwet’en dispute and untangling the vast amounts of misinformation, we should start with how the Coastal GasLink agreement began to unravel.

 

In 2014 the Christy Clark government issued an environmental assessment certificate with approval for the project to proceed. This was after Indigenous consultations occurred, according to standards set by the BC Environmental Assessment Office (EAO). It also took the Supreme Court of Canada decision for the Tsilhqot’in Nation into consideration, that was released before the EA assessment completed. For all intents and purposes, the government believes it performed proper due diligence and it was an early adopter of the carbon tax to mitigate emissions (original PDF).

 

As part of that process, the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs submitted a 122-page rejection, that was in turn rejected by the BC government (original PDF).

 

The hereditary chiefs listed numerous reasons for declining the Coastal GasLink project that include:

 

A demand to resolve the Wet’suwet’en land claim before any environmental assessment could be performed

 

For those who are unfamiliar with the land claim terrain in British Columbia, there are several that overlap each another by different nations. Resolving one means resolving many and sorting out the boundaries of various nations. This can’t happen overnight, but arguably there should be more progress since the 1997 Delgamuukw decision that pertains to Aboriginal title.

 

A demand that the environmental assessment process formally include recognition of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs’ ownership and control of the Aboriginal title

 

This is an inappropriate venue to negotiate title claims and this appears to be an attempt at establishing a backdoor, to circumvent elected band council and tribal citizens from having any stake in the claim.

 

A claim that Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs are the rightful owners of the Aboriginal title because they were the moving parties in the Delgamuukw case

 

Although they were indeed the judicial applicants, I understood the Delgamuukw decision to apply to Indigenous nations and not individual people (evidence will be addressed in a subsequent section). The case was between the Wet’suwet’en and government, not the hereditary chiefs versus their citizens and band council.

 

A demand that hereditary control of Aboriginal title means the Wet’suwet’en chiefs have the right to complete sovereignty and veto of any projects

 

The reason given was a misinterpretation of the Delgamuukw decision, arguing that it established tribal sovereignty above and beyond Canadian law when it did no such thing. This was another attempt to nullify the elected band council as illegitimate in the Wet’suwet’en territory through the environmental assessment process and not a court of law (original / archive).

 

A demand that the BC government must challenge the hereditary chiefs legally to establish any constitutional authority over their land title

 

As far as I understand, Indigenous tribes possess Aboriginal title and unique rights within the constitution, but they still fall under the Crown’s jurisdiction with respect to land expropriation. Careful consideration and concessions must be made should the government need to infringe on those Section 35 rights afforded to Indigenous peoples.

 

A demand that the environmental assessment acknowledge the hereditary chiefs’ place in the governance structure

 

Several arguments are made to delegitimize the Wet’suwet’en band council as having no authority. This is another example, but it doesn’t hold with Indigenous experts that indicate it’s the hereditary chiefs who lack any recognized legal power (the Delgamuukw precedent is dissected in a subsequent section). Given the countless disputes about this very issue, it seems pertinent for the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) to release a statement addressing the Delgamuukw decision to resolve this impasse and misinformation that is wreaking havoc with Indigenous identities and leadership (original / archive).

 

A claim that all waterways passing through the Wet’suwet’en territory belong to the hereditary chiefs

 

This is an unrealistic demand because waterways also pass through colonial land and other Indigenous nations.

 

A claim that each of the 38 clans (Houses) within the Wet’suwet’en territory must receive individual environmental assessments specific to their exact locations in the same geographical area, followed by a claim that Indigenous consultation didn’t occur until that demand is met

 

If this rule was adopted, no environmental assessment process could be completed within decades. The goal seems to be gaining the ability for every family to veto an industrial project and/or for every family to be individually compensated in separate deals with any corporation that passes through the territory. Logistically this could make any development impossible due to individual holdouts and cost 38 times more for any business with Wet’suwet’en peoples. Don’t forget, the same rules would have to apply to the installation of solar farms and windmills.

 

A claim that Coastal GasLink must provide an inventory of every plant and tree used by the Wet’suwet’en people to fulfill a proper environmental assessment

 

There is no principle to back this up in any provincial, federal, or Wet’suwet’en law. Even environmental scientists can’t count every living thing in a region. This is a vexatious demand that can’t be met, likely concocted to deny the project.

 

A demand that Coastal GasLink must rehabilitate all waterways that carry fish consumed by the Wet’suwet’en people, including damage from past naturally occurring landslides and over-fishing by colonial canneries since the 1950’s

 

This is another unrealistic request that has nothing to do with the project, nor would it succeed in a legal challenge.

 

A demand that Coastal GasLink rehabilitate an old mine that belonged to an unrelated company because the Wet’suwet’en people weren’t compensated by the proper channels historically

 

Again, this has nothing to do with the project and TransCanada/TC Energy can’t be held responsible for corporations that operated in the area previously. It’s either an unflattering cash grab, or a reason to deny the project by making it impossible to meet their terms.

 

A demand that Coastal GasLink mitigate widespread climate change, including rock acidification, ocean quality, fish populations, forest fires, historical logging, floods, and earthquakes

 

No government in the world has been able to do all these things and no single corporation could afford them or be held liable.

 

A demand for assessment of the cumulative effects posed by Euro-Canadian settlers over the past 150 years, also for each season

 

The legal terminology for this is ‘frivolous and vexatious’. While I agree these studies need to be done as part of a reconciliation effort, that duty doesn’t belong to Coastal GasLink or as a condition to approve any industrial projects.

 

A demand that the environmental assessment for Coastal GasLink take into consideration the historical wrongs suffered by the Wet’suwet’en people, including disease brought by settlers, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, racism, and residential schools

 

My heart goes out to them and I feel crass trying to write about it. I’m not an insensitive person and I did walk in their shoes to experience the pain firsthand. It’s apparent that healing is needed. It’s just that an environmental process isn’t the place to find it and Coastal GasLink is an inappropriate respondent. That hereditary chiefs would include this in an EA tells me the province should offer several long term counsellors. Surely they’re speaking in grief, among many other emotions that are the result of colonialism.

 

A claim that any access roads are unacceptable in the pristine wilderness, with this view supported by the Tsayu clan within the Wet’suwet’en Nation

 

A few days ago an open letter to the hereditary chiefs was written by the Tsayu clan and published in the Vancouver Sun. It appears they’ve reconsidered their support and they accuse the chiefs of profiting from the Delgamuukw case in relation to logging, as they use the same argument to prevent young people from earning a living now that they’re comfortably retired. The letter continues to accuse dissenting chiefs of breaking Indigenous laws to manipulate the Coastal GasLink outcome. Ultimately it’s a plea to stop the hypocrisy that calls on tribal members for assistance and an honest respect for Wet’suwet’en traditions (original / archive).

 

Finally, Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs reject the Coastal GasLink project because the company didn’t accept their alternate route through the McDonnell Lake area in the environmental consultations

 

This argument has been asserted by left-wing partisans, as well as the mainstream media, and some members of parliament. On February 16, 2020, former Green Party leader Elizabeth May, Green MP Paul Manley, and NDP negotiator Nathan Cullen all hit the circuit hard to misinform the public. Nearly all media outlets neglected to fact check their statements, preferring instead to produce fake news that tarred and feathered TransCanada/TC Energy and the federal Liberal government.

 

The common refrain was that Coastal GasLink ignored and disrespected the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs. They claim the alternate route was declined because it would have cost $800 million more and delayed the project by a year. Some sources insinuated it was due to the proximity of colonial towns as well. Global News carried this propaganda (original / archive). The Globe and Mail carried this propaganda (original / archive). Only CBC News got it partially right, but limited bits of the correct information were buried at the end after the article reinforced the same inappropriate arguments (original / archive).

 

It was never possible for the Coastal GasLink pipeline to take the McDonnell Lake route, regardless of who it inconvenienced or the whopping addition to a final price tag. That space was already committed to the Pacific Northern Gas Looping Pipeline. The company has residential gas service that supplies the surrounding communities and it’s transported in a 12 inch pipe. An upgrade is in the works to twin that line with a second pipeline that is twice the size, with a 24 inch diameter to cover 525 kilometres (original / archive).

 

The Coastal GasLink commercial pipeline is 48 inches in diameter and there is nothing anyone could do to make it safe to run the three lines together. This could even raise liability issues between the two companies that PNG wouldn’t consent to, but on drone the rumours that this had something to do with disrespecting the hereditary chiefs of Wet’suwet’en. Elizabeth May and Nathan Cullen really pulled a fast one, but all this posturing has to stop because it’s preventing the facts from getting to the people who need them most. I’m just so sick and tired of seeing all the ways colonials look at Indigenous people as some kind of weapon to exploit for their causes.

 

Pertaining to accusations that hereditary chiefs broke Wet’suwet’en law, there appears to be some validity. The Tsayu clan went public with allegations and a local website posted supporting documents that outline the nation’s rules. It’s a scathing indictment of four male hereditary chiefs who stand accused of misogyny and illegally stripping three female hereditary chiefs of their titles, as punishment for supporting the Coastal GasLink project. Male chiefs who supported the women were also stripped of their titles in what’s being dubbed a hostile takeover of the Wet’suwet’en Nation (1. original / archive, 2. original / archive, 3. original / archive, 4. original / archive).

 

Technically that means Minister Bennett is negotiating a pipeline agreement and Aboriginal title rights with alleged criminals who stole that authority by holding the Wet’suwet’en people administratively hostage, according to traditional governance law. It’s expedient for the government but rest assured it will divide the community more, because colonials interfered and without legal justification, the Crown chose who holds the power over others in the Wet’suwet’en Nation. This same problem keeps recurring since the point of first contact (original / archive).

 

The further anyone digs, the issue only gets worse. The whole fiasco was initiated by Warner Naziel and his wife, Freda Huson. He laid claim to a hereditary chief title that does not belong to his clan and she was the spokesperson for the Unist’ot’en people of the Dark House clan. Together they set up the first protest camp to prevent Coastal GasLink workers from attending the construction site.

 

It was part of the hostile takeover that broke Wet’suwet’en law, because the Naziel family was already represented by a hereditary chief for their House. No clan is allowed to interfere with another family’s leadership or usurp it from another House. The hereditary title must be passed down within the same bloodline, but Warner Naziel stole the position from Sun House as a member of the Owl House clan. He was a replacement for one of the female chiefs who was illegally stripped of her title for supporting the pipeline project. So not only is the government negotiating with alleged criminals – they’re also supporting this social violence against the rightful female leaders (1. original / archive, 2. original / archive).

 

Warner Naziel and Dark House have tried everything to prevent the pipeline from being built, against the overwhelming majority of Wet’suwet’en people who support it. He’s used hostile administrative force against women and led an encampment to cut down trees as well as set fires (in a wildfire zone), in the effort to defy a court order that already took into consideration the dispute about powers between hereditary and elected leadership. He’s also getting a divorce from his wife and manipulating media to spin his story by misinforming reporters about his hereditary status and alleged dubious actions (1. original / archive, 2. original / archive, 3. original / archive).

 

Dark House recently made headlines for obtaining a 30-day pause in construction due to a recall by the Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) to provide more information. Because media hasn’t done its homework to figure out what’s going on, the headlines were presented as if the Coastal GasLink project did something wrong. An article addressing this by CBC News was predominantly filled with misinformation (original / archive).

 

The truth of the matter is that Dark House refused to participate with Coastal GasLink’s Indigenous consultation and they thought they could delay the process by refusing to respond to invitations and correspondence that were needed to perform a government assessment. But part of the regulatory process required the company to keep track of all its attempts and responses, so Coastal GasLink was able to prove that it fulfilled the duty-to-consult. A formal record was submitted to the EAO and the project received environmental approval because they did everything asked of them by the regulator and no one could force the Dark House clan to participate (1. original PDF, 2. original PDF).

 

It was only during the height of rail blockades that Warner Naziel’s (ex)wife complained to the EAO that Dark House wasn’t consulted, as a means of buying more time to delay the project and exploit violence that was spreading across the country. In the spirit of goodwill and reconciliation, the EAO and Coastal GasLink agreed to try one more time and on February 19, 2020 the environmental process was paused for 30-days to provide time for that communication.

 

A letter was sent to Dark House by the BC government that outlined the many ways Coastal GasLink complied with the environmental assessment. In very kind words it was communicated that several of the complaints lodged by Dark House were properly addressed before the approval was granted. The mitigation efforts were shared in the letter, along with numerous encouragements for Dark House to communicate with GasLink representatives. All the technical aspects were already underway and the only part left was this extension for Dark House to contribute its traditional knowledge and concerns for the healing centre that Coastal GasLink was always prepared to accommodate (original PDF).

 

It’s unclear and discouraging how that letter could be flagrantly misrepresented by the mainstream news. It was framed as hope the project could be stopped in the environmental process and that Coastal GasLink had run afoul with the regulator. Media deliberately concealed the letter from the article and took extreme liberties to portray it as some sort of private document that was obtained by an intrepid reporter. It was always available on the BC government website but that misinterpretation spread across all of social media like a virus intent to dis-inform the public, as well as negotiators and legislators (original / archive).

 

The hack jobs surrounding every facet of the Indigenous protests should become mandatory study material in journalism courses across Canada. It doesn’t matter which side or political persuasion, every last part of these Wet’suwet’en disputes have been severely misrepresented.

 

Still on a mission to set the record straight, Warner Naziel and his uncle filed a lawsuit against the federal government (based on the authority of stolen/fraudulent hereditary credentials). These two rogue chiefs are now being portrayed as the popular opinion in the Wet’suwet’en Nation. They won’t challenge the Coastal GasLink project in a proper legal venue. They won’t challenge the band council in a proper legal venue to test if the elected body can be declared illegitimate. They won’t pursue the Supreme Court for a decision to clarify who controls the Aboriginal title. But they did ante up to sue the feds for failing to meet targets within the non-binding Paris Agreement as a matter of constitutional obligation. It’s another frivolous claim that is guaranteed to fail and the only purpose is stalling the pipeline long enough to make the project too expensive to be viable. They’re also seeking to have energy projects cancelled across Canada retroactively (original / archive).

 

This disingenuous narrative is bolstered by a former BC treaty negotiator. The news is running with the word of Brian Domney, as if it’s gospel and he has any knowledge about sovereignty or constitutional law. The Wet’suwet’en Nation has been negotiating a land claim with British Columbia since 1997 and Domney worked on the file for the last seven years before retirement.

 

In articles that have gone viral with the misinformed left-wing, he claims the government knew it was hereditary chiefs who control the Aboriginal title all along. This is absolutely false and the Supreme Court of Canada decision will be dissected further on. Domney misrepresents that situation and accuses the provincial government of ‘shopping for Indians’, with racist implications that are meant to impugn them. He also reinforces the misconception that band councils lack the authority to sign agreements with industry (original / archive).

 

Opposing these few men who’ve taken the Wet’suwet’en Nation hostage are a greater number of women that include hereditary chiefs who claim the men are abusing their traditional tribal law. It caused them great pain to step forward and air the problems in their community, but things are so far out of control they felt obligated to correct the record (1. original / archive – Wet’suwet’en, 2. original / archive – Wet’suwet’en, 3. original / archive – Haisla, 4. original only – Skin Tyee, 5. original / archive – Witset).

 

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It’s a sorry reflection of Canada when matriarchs ask for help and everyone ignores them because the angry din of a few rogue men is preferable to honest women. The layers of exploitation against these fearless leaders are many, and they culminate with federal and provincial governments negotiating a deal with their oppressors in a desperate bid to keep colonial partisans and politicians happy.

 

This is not what reconciliation looks like and I’m stunned that Minister Bennett would capitulate to the men, after everything she absorbed during the national inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. These matriarchs are just as capable of entering an agreement and nothing should have been negotiated in their illegally forced absence. The NDP and Green Party will also need to examine how they turned their backs on the Wet’suwet’en Nation’s legitimate hereditary chiefs who are women. Perhaps someone can explain to them how this arrangement meshes with UNDRIP.

 

Right-Wing Escalations

 

It’s hard to tell if Conservative parties across Canada are aware of the full implications of their adversarial behaviour in the Wet’suwet’en and Mohawk disputes, or if they can only see in terms of an electoral cycle. In any event, their severely divisive and escalatory agendas should disqualify them from participating in negotiations about or between Indigenous and colonial governments, at least until they can get with the program (original / archive).

 

Although this is a highly partisan statement, it is not motivated by a partisan interest on my part. I’m speaking strictly to the futility of brutal assimilation policies that continue to be promoted by right-wing proponents, frequently resulting in the encouragement of systemic and vigilante violence.

 

Of all the measures needed, warfare is not one of them. Subjecting Indigenous residents to altercations, gun threats, and calls for vehicular manslaughter when they’ve already survived torture in residential school electric chairs is simply beyond the pale – so depraved that the only comparison is dictatorships in the Middle East.

 

Conservative parties used to be in lockstep with the Canadian business community, but their blatant racism toward the Indigenous plight has caused them to become tone deaf to that traditional base. Companies and even states are divesting from our economy due to the rise of technocracy that requires social license to operate. Partisans can bang their fists on the table however hard they please, but it can’t change the fact that larger corporations with the ability to invest also have entire departments dedicated to reputation management that are risk averse to blatant racism and violence.

 

Conservatives of every ilk can also deny this with a litany of excuses, but the proof is in the pudding that kept them out of government in the last federal election. It was theirs to lose and that’s exactly what they did, because CEO’s beyond the oil patch aren’t beholden to political masters at any cost. The pivot to hardcore social conservatism has come at an extreme cost to fiscal conservatism and nowadays there are few companies that would stand beside a Conservative leader to bear the brunt of this partisan-branded hatred. This behaviour can’t be justified to shareholders and that’s the bottom line.

 

It behooves right-wing partisans to take a look at what they’re selling and how that message is packaged, if they ever expect to be stably employed. The lack of a plan for climate change isn’t the only reason they had to campaign without traditional, high-powered endorsements in the last federal election. The following examples will serve as a mirror to demonstrate how they’re perceived by others.

 

Outgoing leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, Andrew Scheer, believes the small group of American-led anarchists is responsible for denying Canadian prosperity. He blames Indigenous nations on the Canadian side for their cause. No matter what colonials do it must be the red man’s fault, including the policies of provinces that generate higher unemployment rates for his fellow white man.

 

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Source: Twitter (original / archive)

 

Conservative Party of Canada leadership candidate, Peter MacKay, endorsed physical confrontation by constituents against Indigenous supporters. As a former justice minister, he encouraged the public to meddle with a court injunction by taking the law into their own hands. After great backlash he deleted the controversial tweet, but proceeded to fundraise in the same vein (1. original / archive, 2. original / archive).

 

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Source: Twitter (original / archive)

 

Peter MacKay’s campaign manager, Alex Nuttall, conflated his religion with opposing Indigenous protests, in addition to shooting guns (original / archive).

 

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Source: Twitter (original / archive)

 

After public intervention, the church was forced to denounce Alex Nuttall’s insinuation (original / archive).

 

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Source: Twitter (original / archive)

 

Conservative Party of Canada leadership candidate, Erin O’Toole, proposes federal legislation to criminalize public protest without a court injunction. He claims to support the right to protest, just not anywhere the public will see it by Indigenous peoples. He would also revoke charitable status for organizations that challenge his rules, as well as appoint RCMP officers to monitor Indigenous peoples specifically (original / archive).

 

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney (of the United Conservative Party) tabled the Critical Infrastructure Defence Act to criminalize the Wet’suwet’en and Mohawk protests in the spirit of O’Toole’s proposal. It remains to be seen if this legislation can withstand a constitutional challenge, for revoking the right to associate, the freedom of expression, and Indigenous rights, while circumventing the need for a court injunction.

 

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Source: Twitter (original / archive)

 

Leader of the People’s Party of Canada, Maxime Bernier, called for the head of the RCMP to be fired if she won’t abandon peaceful negotiations, order officers to use force against Indigenous peoples, and ignore their nation-to-nation claims based on UNDRIP (original / archive).

 

Québec Premier François Legault (of the Coalition Avenir Québec) suggested that Mohawks possess AK-47 machine guns at the Kahnawake blockade. Despite denials from the Mohawk police force (that is recognized by provincial and federal governments), he refused to retract the inflammatory rumour or apologize. Many interpret this as provoking a fabricated military response to Indigenous peoples on their territory (1. original / archive, 2. original / archive).

 

Also in Québec, political strategist Luc Lavoie mused about shooting Indigenous protesters between the eyes with a .45 calibre handgun. The Assembly of First Nations of Québec and Labrador are looking into filing a professional complaint, as this violent speech transpired during a mainstream media broadcast (original / archive).

 

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Source: Le Devoir (original / archive)

 

Due to the violent provocations in Québec, an emergency meeting was held among the Mohawks of Kahnawake. Schools were closed and Indigenous children were transported home on buses that had to conceal the Mohawk logo for their protection from right-wing vigilantes (original / archive).

 

Conservative member of parliament, Pierre Poilievre, characterized the Indigenous protests as a “war on working people” in the House of Commons, as if Indigenous people don’t work and they’re an irritant to the Caucasian population (original / archive).

 

Conservative celebrity investor, W. Brett Wilson, who backs the Buffalo Project, urged a civil war against the Tyendinaga Mohawks with military force (original / archive).

 

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Source: Twitter (original / archive)

 

Near Morris, Manitoba a transport truck was caught on video driving into Indigenous protesters. One person was allegedly hit and the driver was stopped by police, but immediately released to carry on with his or her journey (original / archive).

 

An Alberta man is selling decals that depict a train running over Indigenous protesters. He claims it’s only a joke, but the sticker also displays the “Alberta Strong” stamp that belongs to the alt-right movement (original / archive).

 

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Source: Toronto Star (original / archive)

 

At a bathroom somewhere in Canada, an Indigenous journalist’s family is taught step-by-step how to stop being ‘dirty Indians’ (original / archive). I experienced similar racism on a near daily basis with EM, so nothing has changed in the past twenty years.

 

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Source: Twitter (original / archive)

 

In Ontario, a bomb threat was issued against Casino Rama that resulted in a full evacuation. It’s billed as “Ontario’s only First Nations resort casino” and it’s located on the Chippewa reservation. All of mainstream media misreported the location as the adjacent colonial City of Orillia (original / archive).

 

International news organization Al Jazeera compiled a ‘mean tweets’ video that had Canada’s Indigenous people read a selection of racist tweets they’re forced to endure, to participate in social media amid the Wet’suwet’en dispute. The vast majority are implied death threats (original / archive).

 

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Source: Twitter (original / archive)

 

In Vancouver, British Columbia an Indigenous man was sucker-punched out of the blue at an intersection. The assailant allegedly threatened him over the Coastal GasLink pipeline and fled the scene immediately. In the same city a mom and her son were attacked in their vehicle while dropping the boy off at school. On that occasion a man is alleged to issue a death threat and smash a child’s wagon on their car for several minutes while spewing obscenities. The only apparent motive is the mother and son’s indigeneity (original / archive).

 

Speaking to the Vancouver reports, even a well-intentioned director of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network downplayed physical altercations and death threats as not posing an imminent risk. Despite wanting to help, his attitude is dismissive of all the missing and murdered Indigenous women that other agencies classify as cultural genocide, now compounded by the racist uprising in response to the protests regarding Indigenous rights.

 

A school in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta was recently placed on lockdown due to a group of teenage boys who recorded a video while allegedly drinking and driving as they threatened to harm Indigenous students (original / archive).

 

A second video was discovered of the same alleged boys threatening to “scalp” Indigenous peoples (original / archive). It’s unclear if they understood the term to represent a death threat and desecration to a dead body, but what is apparent is they learned this racism from their families and/or community. According to research at Harvard University, racism can be learned by the tender age of 3-years-old (original / archive). That means the path forward will take at least two generations to rectify this injustice and that’s if everyone is committed to reconciliation from this point forward.

 

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Source: Twitter (original / archive)

 

Meanwhile, if anyone wishes to harbour anti-Indigenous hatred and interfere with court injunctions, Ezra Levant and Rebel Media will provide them with a free attorney when his organization isn’t busy campaigning for the Conservatives (original / archive).

 

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Source: Twitter (original / archive)

 

The last example that demonstrates how right-wing partisans appear to big business arises from Andrew Scheer and the threat of a non-confidence motion to throw Canada into a snap election. It was pointless and immature grandstanding to keep the public on edge, because the Conservative Party of Canada hasn’t chosen a new leader to even put a candidate on the ballot. It’s just more instability with the sole intention of stirring up more hatred toward First Nations, whether they agreed to a pipeline or not. I doubt executives overseeing the Coastal GasLink project appreciate endangering their allies in the Wet’suwet’en territory for little more purpose than indulging blatant racism (original / archive).

 

Left-Wing Escalations

 

Unfortunately left-wing leaders and partisans understand less about Indigenous rights than their political counterparts. As a result, their grandstanding on the backs of Indigenous tribes is trivial and selfish, in a way that ends up being communicated as misinformation to cloud the minds of voters.

 

Take for example the actions of Jagmeet Singh, as leader of the federal NDP. He has not been vocal against the swell of racist attacks, but he utilized them as a means of showboating against the prime minister for his own benefit. There are no calls for police to enforce criminal charges in response to the countless death threats and physical altercations that have become the norm against Indigenous peoples. Instead he produced a TikTok video that makes light of the situation, in what some described as a feeble attempt to become a social media celebrity (original / archive).

 

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Source: Twitter (original / archive)

 

Singh also misled the public about what was transpiring between the Wet’suwet’en and federal government. He claimed the Indigenous nation couldn’t get the ear of the prime minister, while ignoring the fact that the Coastal GasLink project is a purely provincial matter within British Columbia. The dispute only became a federal issue when NDP Premier John Horgan refused to meet with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and NDP mediator, Nathan Cullen, failed to make progress as the province’s representative.

 

Instead of being honest about impending meetings between the chiefs and federal government ministers, Singh sought to hide shortcomings of the NDP that caused this dispute to spill across the country. Instead of being forthright he added to the public’s confusion about matters of jurisdiction and it’s only due to the NDP’s failures that federal government intervention became necessary (original / archive).

 

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Source: Twitter (original / archive)

 

On the same day, NDP Premier John Horgan inflamed the situation by predetermining an outcome for the government meetings with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs that he refused to attend himself. As the federal government dispatched Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Carolyn Bennett to mediate with disenfranchised tribal leaders, Horgan declared through mainstream media that the Coastal GasLink project is proceeding no matter what, undercutting her efforts to ease the tension (original / archive).

 

No honest broker can enter mediation with a fixed outcome that entirely denies one side of the equation and what’s missing from partisan propaganda is the inner contradictions faced by this party that are causing it to behave badly. On one hand, the NDP relies on support from environmentalists who’ve piggybacked their cause onto the Wet’suwet’en people. On the other hand, the NDP is founded on labour unions that have a close relationship with the party. Those unions in turn are funded by worker dues from the oil and gas industry that are funnelled to NDP causes in solidarity with getting them elected. Although there’s a new ban on direct union donations, they still run third-party issue-based campaigns that support the interests of the party.

 

Behind the curtain the NDP is firmly on the side of industry because labour can’t exist without capital. That isn’t a partisan insult – it’s merely the truth of a complicated relationship. There could be no grander dilemma for the party when it forms a provincial government and has to negotiate with Indigenous nations about issues that involve industry, rights, and the environment (1. original / archive, 2. original / archive).

 

These inner conflicts are what explain the awkward responses from Jagmeet Singh, that have now inspired calls for a new party leader by a growing number of dedicated partisans. They’re confused because the NDP can’t reconcile these ideological collisions between their own activists.

 

This Twitter thread speaks volumes about the exodus of disappointed supporters (original / archive).

 

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Source: Twitter (original / archive)

 

In the absence of realistic leadership on the left, university students have conflated Indigenous rights with climate change and joined the protest in support of divestment. The extreme polarization of all issues in Canadian politics has deprived them of an education about Indigenous nations and the complex state of modern treaties, or how the people they think they’re campaigning for predominantly support themselves by facilitating oil, gas, and mining industries (original / archive).

 

I’m not saying the policy to link First Nations with fossil fuels as a primary path to prosperity is a sustainable choice, but so long as younger generations are kept in the dark they won’t brainstorm another way to help these tribes they claim to support.

 

Without realizing it, they’re victimizing Indigenous nations in an opposite but equal way to the Conservatives. The Wet’suwet’en people are torn straight through their families due to pressure tactics employed by the left-wing to abandon hope of middle class jobs if they infringe on climate issues. No one has a solution to ‘keep it in the ground’ that would offset lost income and replace one of Canada’s larger contributors to the economy. Nor do they have a solution to raise the billions of dollars needed to retrofit all homes and buildings with greener alternatives. Nor could they generate a charitable fund large enough to provide everyone with electric vehicles.

 

Canada and the world-at-large are in an incredible predicament. The middle of change is the most uncomfortable state of being, especially when the outcome remains undefined and unable to provide a specific goal to reach. The rampant dishonesty and hatred of opposing sides further clouds everyone’s vision, to the point that left and right persuasions had a conniption fit when the prime minister asked for patience.

 

What the country needs is for parties to work together to ensure a brighter future, but the parties would rather threaten to take down the government to keep Canada in limbo and avoid doing the hard lifting. Worst of all is that both sides exploit the Indigenous cause to use it as a proxy and dumping ground for colonial vitriol. First Nations already have enough problems to sort through the meaning of reconciliation, and rehabilitation from the centuries of abuse that we’ve already overburdened them with. It is therefore disheartening that we hold them up as human shields and tokens of colonial self-righteousness on matters of climate and economy. As much as people might hope, they’re not our saviours and they’re not responsible for presiding over Canadian disputes.

 

Ellis Ross is the MLA for Skeena in British Columbia. He’s the former chief councillor for the Haisla Nation and a respected Indigenous leader. His tribe signed the deal for a Kitmat LNG plant to be built on the reserve and he speaks to the damage caused by colonial proxy wars being fought through his people. Have a listen:

 

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Source: Twitter (original / archive)

 

The left-wing isn’t as innocent as it likes to portray and there have been acts of violence attributed to the wholesome warriors as well. The public is aware of assaults during a protest at the BC legislature, but it’s not cognizant that colonials committed them by appropriating the Wet’suwet’en name (original / archive).

 

Racism on the left takes a more obscure form but if partisans were brave enough to inquire with First Nations, they would learn it’s just as dangerous as the blatant displays by Conservatives. This might have been the most valuable lesson I learned from my time with EM, that appears to be reconfirmed today by the Mohawk leadership in Kanesatake. As the full power of news media descended on the BC legislature it did not amass at the Indigenous reservation west of Montréal, where the grand chief was also locked out of his government building and threatened for his job. This confrontation ensued because he asked for peace and patience (original / archive).

 

Band councils across the country are being silenced by supporters of hereditary chiefs, climate activists, and even anarchists, who far outnumber Indigenous protesters that are already wrestling with the legitimacy of elected chiefs within their own nations. Colonials have split Indigenous tribes so starkly that some of them are turning against the concept of their own democracy.

 

To be clear, it is not my position to decide what’s best for them and this is only a recap of the events that are transpiring. But it’s appropriate to be concerned when colonial placards and anarchist flags blot out Indigenous regalia at protest sites that result in dramatic repercussions for the Mohawk and Wet’suwet’en people (1. original / archive, 2. original / archive).

 

The Wet’suwet’en Nation has also experienced left-wing violence that could have endangered lives, equally threatening as the gun threats by aggressive pro-oil activists. A bridge on the service road in their traditional territory had its support beams severed and bolts loosened, so the structure would collapse if any Coastal GasLink workers, Indigenous local vehicles, or RCMP tried to cross it. I believe it’s fair to say the proxy war is getting out of hand and none of the factions manipulating Indigenous nations on either side of the equation have their best interests at heart (original / archive).

 

Media Still Promotes Racism

 

A few years ago the media was confronted with a racist scandal. In a magazine issue that was supposed to promote Indigenous writers, a non-Indigenous editor contributed an editorial that turned the industry on its head for revealing how deep the racism runs in Canadian journalism. He suggested a ‘cultural appropriation prize’ to encourage more stories about Indigenous peoples by colonials. He didn’t see anything wrong with it and was surprised when the debate exploded (1. original / archive, 2. original / archive).

 

Numerous reporters and editors weighed in on social media, making the controversy worse. Some of them offered to contribute their own money to the prize pool and they doubled-down on the right of colonials to steal Indigenous voices. It was a rowdy session around the proverbial water cooler that the public doesn’t normally witness, yet these entitled attitudes persist in every corner of the industry. Most of the degenerates who revelled in the chance to flaunt their racism in the mainstream press went on to be promoted and continue to dominate the political discourse across Canada (original / archive).

 

It could have been an important learning opportunity, but that concept was lost on a blue blood culture that hijacked the topic and re-framed it as an issue of free speech. Ojibwe journalist and advocate, Jesse Wente, made a prescient comment at the time. He said:

 

“The biggest challenge coming out of this for the Canadian media is going to be how you re-approach the Indigenous community after this.” (original / archive) 

 

It’s now three years later and instead of getting better, the anti-Indigenous racism is more overtly entrenched. This can be seen today in the devil-may-care approach to covering the Wet’suwet’en and Mohawk protests and how little it matters to get the story right when portraying their history and concerns. I don’t think any colonial reporters have bothered to research their stories before submitting for publication. The Twitterverse is even reluctant to check with APTN to verify information with Indigenous sources.

 

As mentioned earlier, the entire cadre of Canadian journalists couldn’t bother to report correctly about a bomb threat involving Casino Rama. They mislabeled the location as Orillia, Ontario, unaware of the Chippewa tribe and Rama reservation with its own Indigenous police force. This includes the social justice champions at Toronto Star, the venerable Canadian Press, and CBC News that had promised to do better after the cultural appropriation issue. None of them ventured to make a connection with the racist uprising surrounding the Wet’suwet’en and Mohawk protests either. The story was entirely whitewashed and focused on restoring colonials’ ability to gamble and have fun (1. original / archive, 2. original / archive).

 

At CTV News, a story aired about a train derailment during the time of Indigenous rail blockades and tense counter-protests. They said an anonymous source claimed it was a deliberate act of sabotage, but CN Rail would not confirm and the rumour couldn’t be substantiated. The story was printed anyway, with no justification for protecting a source that also couldn’t be corroborated. This amounts to a racist insinuation that was meant to scare the public, void of any journalistic integrity. There was also no mention of Canada’s crumbling rail infrastructure that is resulting in regular derailments across the country (original / archive).

 

No one at Postmedia was able to figure out that a cartoon depicting ‘drunk Indians’ was racist before it was published. It took a public uproar to force them to reconsider, after the fact (original / archive).

 

Canadian news media has observed an influx of racist and violent comments on stories related to the Wet’suwet’en dispute. They’ve reached a consensus about how to handle them and comment sections may be closed if lines are crossed. Those lines include specific death threats, talk of shooting up public protests, vehicular manslaughter, and genocide by gas chamber. When this happens on social media, a post can be reported for moderation and possible removal (1. original / archive, 2. original / archive).

 

But notice how no one is reporting these crimes to police, and how police are reluctant to lay charges when they become aware of this material. These are criminal acts of hate speech, uttering death threats, and stalking/harassment that are widely condoned by closing our eyes to them. Instead of being responsible citizens, the industry would rather spin the racist feedback into a clickbait story that will fetch profits. This behaviour represents an incredible psychopathy and it’s in charge of informing the entire public. Is there any wonder why the Indigenous population doesn’t trust colonials?

 

The police will however arrest Indigenous protesters and commit alleged acts of excessive force when cuffing journalists who are trying to cover their protest events (original / archive).

 

Canadian media is additionally guilty of fabricating the news in their efforts to steer public opinion. It’s such a widespread problem that major outlets have their own pollsters to concoct headlines that are nothing more than fake news. The problem is that not all polls are created equal and the ones used by media procure results from ‘online panels’ that are neither legitimate nor scientific, no matter what they say in the methodology. It’s not a case of the old school rejecting modern technology. It’s because of biases, dishonesty, and anonymity that can’t be controlled in a limited digital pool (1. original / archive, 2. original / archive, 3. original / archive, 4. original / archive, 5. original / archive).

 

For example, anyone can sign up and lie about their age, gender, income level, and location. Anyone can create multiple accounts with fake information as well. Hacking scripts can be written to interfere with online polls. It also depends where the person found a link to join the panel. If ads are placed on partisan pages, you can be guaranteed that responses will skew a certain way (1. original / archive, 2. original / archive, 3. original / archive).

 

One of these corrupt polls was done on behalf of Global News and it trended on social media. It reported that 61 percent of Canadians are opposed to blockades related to the Wet’suwet’en cause (original / archive).

 

It was conducted by Ipsos and to make a point, I joined the online panel from an American website that was soliciting participants who hated Justin Trudeau. As far as Ipsos is concerned, I’m a 55-year-old man with a $100,000 salary and I have four kids living at home. (That would really surprise my family and throw Mother’s Day a curve ball.) But I’ve received these ‘random’ invitations that would result in corrupting the Ipsos data and some American guy, who happens to be an accountant for Koch Industries, has offered to pay me $5 every time I do (1. original / archive, 2. original / archive).

 

Disclaimer: I do not intend to interfere with Ipsos polling and this was only done for the sake of investigation, to test how easy it is to skew online polls.

 

Needless to say, we still don’t know how many Canadians support the Wet’suwet’en people but Global News took that propaganda to the bank when its story went viral. This is another form of racism and exploitation against Indigenous peoples.

 

The National Post did the same darn thing with DART & Maru/Blue. They fabricated a headline that also went viral, claiming 69 percent of Canadians think the country is broken under Justin Trudeau’s leadership. It was conducted recently during the rail blockades by polling an online panel (original / archive).

 

Surely this news discouraged the Mohawks in Tyendinaga and made them believe that most of Canada is deeply racist against them. It made the prime minister stop asking for patience and the police engage in arrests, when otherwise they were trying to pursue a peaceful resolution. That’s how powerful fake news can be and even our officials don’t know how to spot it.

 

News also forms the basis of many events in parliament. These polls were used to dupe the public into supporting a Conservative motion against the Indigenous protesters. Then it was repurposed to raise vast sums of money for the party, causing partisans to think that more Canadians were coming around to their way of thinking (original / archive).

 

The other side of the coin isn’t any better. Ricochet is a media organization run by left-wing partisans and it produced fake news that was designed to intimidate Indigenous supporters of the Coastal GasLink pipeline. It gave false hope to environmental activists that the project could be stopped and will no doubt be used to raise money for someone’s cause as well.

 

I’ve already addressed the issue of Dark House, Warner Naziel, and the BC Environmental Assessment Office, so I won’t go into too much detail. But Ricochet falsely framed Coastal GasLink as a delinquent company that didn’t fulfill its duty-to-consult or the EA requirements. They claimed this could delay the project by months! They implied Coastal GasLink treated Dark House and Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs disrespectfully, except it’s not true and the 30-day extension was established to give Dark House a final chance to participate when it had previously boycotted the consultation process. I have to wonder if Ricochet read the EAO letters it reported on, or if they’ve never seen a technical process in writing before to understand what one looks like (1. original / archive, 2. original PDF, 3. original PDF).

 

The reason technical data is still needed for the area surrounding a healing centre is due to the blockade by Warner Naziel and his (ex)wife Freda Huson, popularly known as the Unist’ot’en Camp. Coastal GasLink has been respectful and not attempted to cross that barrier. They’ve kept track of all the times they attempted to receive traditional knowledge from Dark House about its interest in the centre. The accommodations for Dark House will be generated once they respond and suggest what those mitigation efforts should be. The environmental certificate has not been cancelled in the meantime. This is one component in a very large process and construction continues at other sites where blockades are not preventing entry.

 

If Dark House doesn’t participate at this point, Coastal GasLink will be allowed to proceed without their input and the court injunction will be enforced by the RCMP. They only have to show that reasonable attempts were made to satisfy the EAO. It is everyone’s hope that Minister Bennett will be able to negotiate a peaceful resolution so the RCMP doesn’t need to enforce the injunction. I’m not saying this is an ideal process for the holdouts, but it is the reality of the situation and work has already resumed (original / archive).

 

Even when the media is making its best effort to propose a path forward, it hearkens back to a plan from twenty years ago that warned the status quo is not sustainable. CBC News brought attention to the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP) that was spawned from collapse of the Meech Lake Accord. That implosion occurred partly because First Nations elected leaders were excluded from the process (original / archive).

 

That same alienation is repeating now in the negotiations between Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and the government. One elected chief is already expressing frustration that nothing has changed since the Delgamuukw decision that encouraged both Indigenous governance structures to work together. It’s shaping up to be another obstacle that could result in at least one affected First Nation rescinding support for the Coastal GasLink project, as the hereditary chiefs are brought on board and put in charge of a possible land title agreement to the exclusion of band councils and fully democratic ratification (original / archive).

 

Part of the problem with trying to apply the royal commission report to the Wet’suwet’en dispute is that it’s stuck in old thinking, based on a racist concept that obligates First Nations to accept a power sharing agreement with Canada. The idea doesn’t release Indigenous trust funds (of their own money) to their care and control and still envisions Canada as Indigenous money managers with supreme authority. That’s not a nation-to-nation relationship as envisioned by UNDRIP.

 

In a nutshell, the grand vision from twenty years ago recommended what exists today. It called for a new Indigenous affairs ministry that is split between Crown relations and services, but fundamentally serves the same purpose as the old INAC. The only difference with the RCAP is the Crown expected to have First Nations introduce Indigenous taxation so colonials could keep a greater amount of resource revenue that’s derived from Indigenous land as the middleman (original / archive).

 

Suggesting that we reconsider implementing recommendations from the royal commission is offensive to Indigenous nations, the same as it was when it was first written. The report contains no magic wands and would lead to the same impasse that’s being challenged now. It also dictates a need for colonial-style government to be imposed on, or with, hereditary governance, that both the Wet’suwet’en and Mohawk Nations are trying to resolve without much success. Colonial courts continue to be the arbiter between band councils and traditional leadership, as a byproduct of resource contracts and determining who has the authority to enter agreements.

 

If Canadian journalists don’t learn to research before publishing arguments and resolutions, we will ensure Indigenous peoples continue to distrust our agendas. That makes for an awful starting point in any negotiation.

 

Nisga’a Not A Panacea Either

 

Columnists and pundits have mentioned the Nisga’a First Nation as a possible template for Indigenous tribes moving forward. They were the first group to sign a modern treaty in British Columbia with fee simple, municipal-type ownership that adopted taxation and allowed for colonial residents on the Indigenous territory. In many ways it resembles Joseph Brant’s approach that seriously backfired on the Mohawk and Six Nations (original PDF).

 

At the time this treaty was established (in the year 2000), British Columbia was led by the NDP and Canada was led by the Liberal Party. Hereditary chiefs within the Nisga’a Nation were disenfranchised as a result of the agreement because it removed their powers from a legal perspective and gave full control to an elected band council. The treaty recognized hereditary chiefs, but only in their capacity to provide advice on cultural matters. The nation embraced full democracy with elections every five years (1. original / archive, 2. original / archive).

 

Politics often make for strange bedfellows and a legal dispute ensued about the constitutionality of extinguishing traditional governance rights for the hereditary chiefs. It was partially instigated and funded by Ezra Levant, in his younger years at the Canadian Constitution Foundation (original / archive). Today Levant is offering to pay for lawyers on the opposite side of the equation, to stymie hereditary chiefs in the Wet’suwet’en Nation. This disparity can be explained entirely by partisan politics and Levant’s commitment to Conservative Party interests.

 

In 2011 the Nisga’a hereditary chiefs were unsuccessful at the Supreme Court of British Columbia (original / archive). In 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada declined to hear the case and let the provincial decision stand as a precedent (original / archive).

 

That outcome could mean that Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs wouldn’t be able to challenge the elected band council for legal authority over Aboriginal title matters, despite the social peacocking and emphatic claims by the political left-wing and environmental protesters. It also means if Minister Bennett negotiates an agreement with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs in the absence of elected chiefs, the latter may have grounds to legally challenge it. The Wet’suwet’en aren’t operating within the confines of a treaty yet, but it stands to reason there can’t be extreme adversity between the constitutional rights of one First Nation over another.

 

Since band council won at the BC Supreme Court, the Nisga’a elected government has come under fire regarding accusations of nepotism and financial mismanagement. An IT worker photographed documents pertaining to alleged excess spending on consultants and lawyers. The tribal government denies wrongdoing and calls the allegations malicious. It then obtained a gag order, so the details remain unavailable to the community that began protesting for a forensic audit (1. original / archive, 2. original / archive, 3. original / archive).

 

Only twenty years into its treaty, it appears the Nisga’a Nation is still struggling to merge Canadian law with its culture. The whistleblower scandal has in turn led to allegations about the lack of a free press and press freedom issues with Indigenous governments in general (1. original / archive, 2. original / archive).

 

Financial independence through a taxation system has also stumbled. Economic conditions were reportedly worse under the new treaty compared to the Indian Act, and the community had a difficult time with reduced services through the Indigenous government. The president of Nisga’a Nation rejected the study that resulted in these findings, however (original / archive).

 

I don’t proclaim to know which side is correct, nor am I attempting to vilify the Nisga’a government. My point in addressing the Nisga’a community is only to explain the legal precedent they set, how it may affect the Wet’suwet’en and Mohawk situations, and to demonstrate how it’s a dog whistle whenever someone in the Canadian media points to this nation as the blueprint for a solution.

 

Federal Government Missteps

 

Proving that I haven’t written this analysis with any political bias, the federal Liberal government does not escape scrutiny either. Needless missteps have occurred because parliament is prone to knee-jerk reactions and the prime minister is best advised to steep himself in the Indigenous history, over taking direction from wayward or manipulative opposition parties. There is too much at stake to allow partisan hijinks to derail sober thought and if Indigenous nations lose any more confidence in the Crown’s commitment to reconciliation, Canada could be impeded from any national strategies for the foreseeable future.

 

Cabinet ministers must be reeled back in because some of them are casually fanning the flames without recognizing the harm it causes in a situation as delicate as this. Attorney General David Lametti didn’t need to insult Mohawk warriors by calling them ‘stupid’ for throwing debris at trains passing through their protest area. It was said in defence of the Mohawk Nation when the Conservative Party pushed to classify them as terrorists, but there were thousands of other respectful words to use that wouldn’t have added to the tension (original / archive).

 

Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Carolyn Bennett will need to be informed of all the legal precedents that could interfere with her intentions. I’ve outlined cases that I’m aware of previously, but another decision arose from the BC Supreme Court regarding the Haisla Nation (also part of the Coastal GasLink project). It came in the form of a libel lawsuit that involved a dispute about the authority to represent, between elected band council and supporters of the hereditary system.

 

I’m not saying whether it’s right or wrong, just that the Canadian justice system appears to come down firmly on the side of elected band council in most disputes that make it to court. Hereditary supporters will cite this as colonial oppression, but the Canadian government can only operate within the bounds of Canadian law and it won’t help anyone if her draft agreement with the Wet’suwet’en chiefs could be vulnerable to a legal challenge. A setback like that could cause immense delay that would backfire politically and deepen the wedge between Wet’suwet’en peoples that she’s trying to help overcome (original / archive).

 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was correct when he sought patience pertaining to the enforcement of rail blockade injunctions. When he became hyper-sensitive to opposition criticism and caved to pressure in support of police intervention, it was an ill-considered mistake that comes with serious consequences (1. original / archive, 2. original / archive).

 

Here is how that decision appeared to Indigenous peoples, Canadian voters, and international media:

 

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Source: Twitter (original / archive)

 

As an influential Indigenous person explained, he’s not sure if Canada realizes what it did:

 

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Source: Twitter (original / archive)

 

That’s because of the tactical disaster that Canada inherited from the British. Early colonizers placed Indigenous nations all along the Canada – US border as a means of insulating settlers by using Indigenous peoples as a barrier. I know I’ve already used this picture for reference, but now it’s time to study it carefully to let the implications sink in.

 

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Source: Government of Canada (original / archive)

 

The Indigenous protest response was mild compared to what is possible and it still paralyzed the Canadian economy as well as transportation. A new protest closed the border between Ontario and New York. A new protest closed Route 344 and the Mercier Bridge on Montréal’s south shore. A new protest closed the border between Ontario and Michigan. And a new protest closed a busy intersection in the heart of Ottawa (1. original / archive, 2. original / archive, 3. original / archive)

 

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Source: Twitter (original / archive)

 

Minister of Public Safety Bill Blair also didn’t need to add insult to injury when Mohawk police offered support to help de-escalate the standoff in Wet’suwet’en territory. As a colonial police officer himself, Blair sought to bolster the image of the RCMP by rebuffing Indigenous officers who are trained and recognized the same as federal police. The minister said:

 

They’re [a] very good and competent police service and the people in that territory deserve the very best in police service that can be provided. And today that’s by the RCMP (original / archive). 

 

Colonials can be unaware of their demeanour and harsh insensitivity toward Indigenous peoples because that prejudice has been ingrained for the past few hundred years. If the Liberal government wishes to avoid accusations of racism, they will need to overcome those biases and stop being so abrasively careless.

 

Reconciliation isn’t only about treaties and rectifying the past. It involves correcting the present mindfully as well. I appreciate the pressure that everyone is under, but they all promised to lead to gain the confidence of voters and this is what the job entails. I’m not perfect and I may have slipped in the course of drafting this editorial, but the point is I’m trying hard to respectfully communicate these difficult issues.

 

The Rule Of Law – Unspun

 

All the opposition parties keep barking about the rule of law, yet all the people pushing this point have little awareness about the law’s intricate details. The best place to start is with the Two Row Wampum, because it’s one of the original tribal laws that influenced the foundation of Canada. Everyone wishes to forget this, but that pesky little detail is what motivates the Mohawk, as well as the majority of Indigenous nations that claim they have a right to sovereignty.

 

The Haudenosaunee Confederacy may be the only entity that could attempt to pursue a claim of Indigenous sovereignty, because the Supreme Court of Canada already decided that Aboriginal title does not confer this status. Still, it is likely the Two Row Wampum would fail because British documentation of the arrangement was a Crown instrument known as the Haldimand Grant, that is governed by Crown sovereignty and fiduciary duty over the Mohawk lands. (Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer and this does not constitute legal advice, rather it is an educated opinion.)

 

Former Green Party leader, MP Elizabeth May, was once a trusted member of parliament who had an acute handle on legal matters. But that academic and congenial stance has gone out the window, for her chance to infect the Wet’suwet’en Nation with a dose of toxic partisanship. It appears that May has chosen her fight against the energy industry over Indigenous rights, because she hit the television circuit to spread a whack of misinformation (original only – video).

 

May wrongly informed media that the Delgamuukw case recognized Indigenous sovereignty existed on the Wet’suwet’en territory. It absolutely did not. Instead, the landmark Delgamuukw decision said the following:

 

“As a result of the flexibility and uncertainty of the customs and rules, McEachern C.J. rejected the appellants’ claim to jurisdiction or sovereignty over the territories, (original / archive)” 

 

As well as:

 

“Macfarlane J.A. essentially agreed with the trial judge with respect to his analysis of the jurisdiction, or sovereignty issue. He characterized the claim as the right to control and manage the use of lands and resources in the territory, as well as the right to govern the people within the territory… He stated that the Gitksan and Wet’suwet’en peoples do not need a court declaration to permit internal self-regulation, if they consent to be governed. However, the rights of self-government encompassing a power to make general laws governing the land, resources, and people in the territory are legislative powers which cannot be awarded by the courts. Such jurisdiction is inconsistent with the Constitution Act, 1867 and its division of powers. When the Crown imposed English law on all the inhabitants of the colony and when British Columbia entered Confederation, the aboriginal people became subject to Canadian (and provincial) legislative authority. For this reason, the claim to jurisdiction [and Indigenous sovereignty] failed (original / archive).” 

 

As well as:

 

“The aboriginal rights recognized and affirmed by s. 35(1), including aboriginal title, are not absolute. Those rights may be infringed, both by the federal (e.g., Sparrow) and provincial (e.g., Côté) governments. However, s. 35(1) requires that those infringements satisfy the test of justification (original / archive).” 

 

Elizabeth May then falsely claimed that the province and RCMP are breaking the rule of law (by entering the Wet’suwet’en territory for the purpose of Crown enforcement and development). Again an actual reading of the Delgamuukw decision proves her to be absolutely wrong. It says:

 

“In other words, notwithstanding s. 91(24), provincial laws of general application apply proprio vigore to Indians and Indian lands. Thus, this Court has held that provincial labour relations legislation (Four B) and motor vehicle laws (R. v. Francis, [1988] 1 S.C.R. 1025), which purport to apply to all persons in the province, also apply to Indians living on reserves (original / archive).” 

 

As well as:

 

“In the context of the present case, I agree with the Chief Justice that the general economic development of the interior of British Columbia, through agriculture, mining, forestry, and hydroelectric power, as well as the related building of infrastructure and settlement of foreign populations are valid legislative objectives that, in principle, satisfy the first part of the justification analysis (original / archive).” 

 

As well as:

 

“Under the second part of the justification test, these legislative objectives are subject to accommodation of the aboriginal peoples’ interests. This accommodation must always be in accordance with the honour and good faith of the Crown. Moreover, when dealing with a generalized claim over vast tracts of land, accommodation is not a simple matter of asking whether licences have been fairly allocated in one industry, or whether conservation measures have been properly implemented for a specific resource. Rather, the question of accommodation of “aboriginal title” is much broader than this. Certainly, one aspect of accommodation in this context entails notifying and consulting aboriginal peoples with respect to the development of the affected territory. Another aspect of accommodation is fair compensation. More specifically, in a situation of expropriation, one asks whether fair compensation is available to the aboriginal peoples; see Sparrow, supra, at p. 1119. Indeed, the treatment of “aboriginal title” as a compensable right can be traced back to the Royal Proclamation, 1763 (original / archive).” 

 

As well as:

 

“In summary, in developing vast tracts of land, the government is expected to consider the economic well being of all Canadians. But the aboriginal peoples must not be forgotten in this equation. Their legal right to occupy and possess certain lands, as confirmed by s. 35(1) of the Constitution Act, 1982, mandates basic fairness commensurate with the honour and good faith of the Crown (original / archive).” 

 

In the video interview, Elizabeth May also parrots the few rogue hereditary chiefs. She claims it’s acknowledged by law that elected band council oversees the reserve area (only) and hereditary chiefs oversee the larger traditional territory. But the Green Party is wrong again because the Delgamuukw decision said this:

 

“It does not matter, in my opinion, that the present case is concerned with the interest of an Indian Band in a reserve rather than with unrecognized aboriginal title in traditional tribal lands. The Indian interest in the land is the same in both cases (original / archive).” 

 

Additionally clarified by this:

 

A further dimension of aboriginal title is the fact that it is held communally. Aboriginal title cannot be held by individual aboriginal persons; it is a collective right to land held by all members of an aboriginal nation. Decisions with respect to that land are also made by that community. This is another feature of aboriginal title which is sui generis and distinguishes it from normal property interests (original / archive).”

 

The last paragraph seems intent to create problems for Minister Bennett, in that she had no business negotiating with the hereditary chiefs to the exclusion of elected band council. The following section further indicates that any land agreement with the Wet’suwet’en people must include the other First Nations that have an overlapping interest. No quick fix was appropriate for this situation and the resulting agreement, even if ratified by the Wet’suwet’en Nation, can still be challenged by other Indigenous tribes because the Delgamuukw decision said the following:

 

“I conclude with two observations. The first is that many aboriginal nations with territorial claims that overlap with those of the appellants did not intervene in this appeal, and do not appear to have done so at trial. This is unfortunate, because determinations of aboriginal title for the Gitksan and Wet’suwet’en will undoubtedly affect their claims as well. This is particularly so because aboriginal title encompasses an exclusive right to the use and occupation of land, i.e., to the exclusion of both non-aboriginals and members of other aboriginal nations. It may, therefore, be advisable if those aboriginal nations intervened in any new litigation (original / archive).”

 

As well as this:

 

“Finally, this litigation has been both long and expensive, not only in economic but in human terms as well. By ordering a new trial, I do not necessarily encourage the parties to proceed to litigation and to settle their dispute through the courts… Those negotiations should also include other aboriginal nations which have a stake in the territory claimed. Moreover, the Crown is under a moral, if not a legal, duty to enter into and conduct those negotiations in good faith. Ultimately, it is through negotiated settlements, with good faith and give and take on all sides, reinforced by the judgments of this Court, that we will achieve what I stated in Van der Peet, supra, at para. 31, to be a basic purpose of s. 35(1) — “the reconciliation of the pre-existence of aboriginal societies with the sovereignty of the Crown”. Let us face it, we are all here to stay (original / archive).” 

 

In the video interview, Elizabeth May followed up by invoking the Tsilhqot’in decision as a modifier. But that case isn’t what she claimed it to be either. Here is a direct quote that corrects the Green Party position:

 

The Court is not able, in the context of these proceedings, to make a declaration of Tsilhqot’in Aboriginal Title. The Court offers the opinion that Tsilhqot’in Aboriginal title does exist inside and outside the Claim Area.” (original PDF)

 

What’s been decided is that Aboriginal title does exist and it wasn’t relinquished (ceded) to the Crown, but these precedents didn’t go far enough to precisely determine who has legal control of the land title, or who within the Indigenous government has authority between elected and hereditary chiefs. Instead the court indicated that all Indigenous members share an equal interest.

 

A reading of these cases implies malicious misrepresentation by Elizabeth May, so egregious that she could be at risk of complaints to the BC Law Society. As a lawyer she should be ashamed of dis-informing the public and Wet’suwet’en Nation, for the sake of advancing her own cause that opposes their participation in the resource economy. It’s still possible to protest fracking without manipulating anyone and tampering with Indigenous rights to make a point.

 

Several articles in mainstream media are guilty of the same, that I have to wonder if any of them were vetted by libel lawyers before going to print, as used to be standard in the journalism industry. It could be argued that many of them libeled the Supreme Court of Canada, as well as the Chief Justice. As a country we used to be better than this and I am severely disappointed. It shouldn’t be up to me to perform this fact checking service unpaid, but I felt compelled to do this because my Indigenous neighbours and friends are being sold a fake bill of goods and my government has become scatterbrained trying to please everyone in the opposition.

 

Be Careful What You Wish For

 

All in all it seems that Canada isn’t having the correct discussions about Indigenous rights and relations. The facts are being constantly derailed by anyone with an agenda and the fixers that have been dispatched to appease every faction are treating the symptoms instead of the infection. Nothing can be resolved if we can’t be honest with one another. It’s difficult, discomforting, and requires massive amounts of integrity, but it remains the only viable way forward.

 

We have no choice but to respect the law when sorting through the minutiae, but it also does no good to enter anyone’s venue with guns blazing and ultimatums. In addition to the legal facts there are tactical facts as well, that have polka-dotted the entire country forcing us to find a way to live together.

 

The Supreme Court has already ruled on Indigenous sovereignty, but let’s propose for a moment that it was possible. How many reservations could build their own infrastructure and staff their nation with only local tribal members? If Canada was transformed into 630+ sovereign nations, what would the import fees cost for mailing a package from one coast to the other? What would a train ride cost to pass through a few hundred countries to visit a relative? How would each nation afford things like medicine and health insurance? Would all the people living off-reserve accept being forced to come home? And could every one of those 630+ nations defend itself against American conquest?

 

Likewise, how would Canadians afford up to 630 tariffs on every product they purchased that wasn’t locally generated? How expensive would the commute to work become if we had to pay tolls every time we crossed an Indigenous piece of land? What would happen to all the mining, gas, and oil workers when the vast majority of deposits are found on Indigenous territory? Could our senior citizens survive if their pensions imploded because they were heavily invested in natural resources? How would the logging, construction, and real estate industries fare if we had to purchase our wood from Indigenous nations that didn’t like us very much? And what would be the damage to our GDP if we had to pass through Indigenous land to export to the United States? Could our country afford socialized health care anymore, or even the grain for a loaf of bread?

 

Very few people, regardless of race, would be able to turn the lights on or heat their homes if energy transmission lines had to account for Indigenous sovereignty. The same would be true for telephones and internet. Basically we would all get punted to the Dark Ages if we can’t learn to work with each other.

 

Tolerating racism is one of the biggest things that must change. The right-wing complains when injunctions aren’t enforced, yet we have hate speech law that isn’t being enforced either. Maybe if colonials didn’t take so many vicious liberties, the police would be in a better position to attend Indigenous land to peacefully and respectfully communicate.

 

Allowing this to spiral out of control comes at a great cost to everyone. Our country is predicated on immigration and we need foreign experts in many fields to fill important gaps that Canadians can’t cover alone. We are an extremely large country with a small population. But the current snapshot of Canada portrays an angry and violent culture that could cause anyone to rethink the upheaval of relocating here. I’ve seen just as many left-wing activists attack immigrants for asking questions about the Wet’suwet’en dispute, as there are right-wing activists who threaten to run over Indigenous women and children.

 

It defies all logic for those on the left to alienate other racial minorities, as they try to learn about our controversial history and oppression of every Indigenous tribe that was here before us. Any sentient being should want to understand how we can continue to harm the Indigenous fabric that underlies the entire country to the present day. It’s so bad that politicians can become heroes for promising to allow them access to clean drinking water, or curtail a few of their deaths in our wildly prejudicial criminal justice system. The Crown-Indigenous relationship is the most complex Pandora’s box that the majority of colonials born here are still unable to grasp. If the left continues behaving this way, all it will accomplish is ironically reinforcing Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, anti-Black, and anti-Asian racism.

 

Equally disturbing is the right’s inability to take responsibility for its own actions and the negative consequences that come along with them. They could re-record Led Zeppelin’s hit and call it Anybody’s Fault But Mine. The obsession with hating Justin Trudeau because his father was prime minister four decades ago for a whopping four years is super unhealthy. If your main engine is hate and your only plan for the future is threatening to kill Indigenous people along pipeline routes, then expect investors to abandon you like the plague. Planning to get elected based on inflaming Indigenous relations is a guaranteed losing strategy.

 

Voters told this government to work together. They didn’t say to blame the Wet’suwet’en or Mohawk and hold them hostage for climate change, nor did they say to punish them because your province may be landlocked. They’re already on the hook for a dying fossil fuel industry because it’s the only prosperity we would allow them. They’ve now reminded us of their mettle because they were pushed to the limit from every possible direction. Exploiting and dividing their families to fight for colonial causes is reprehensible.

 

Moreover, they shouldn’t be contemplating a draft agreement with any government until everyone, including nations with overlapping land claims, has independent legal counsel to advise them about their interests. The law already favours the Crown in these matters and that lopsidedness could constitute duress. The Assembly of First Nations also shouldn’t abandon the band councils in their greatest time of need. If activists on either side of argument truly wanted to help, they would establish a legal fund and donate to this Indigenous cause so they can be adequately informed about their rights and limitations.

 

I see you, Canada, and it’s your legislated duty to be honourable negotiators.

Political Warfare: The Truth Behind Axing Jody Wilson-Raybould

It appears that everyone got played, from the Canadian media to the Liberal Party and Jody Wilson-Raybould. The SNC Lavalin affair took out some of the biggest players in the Canadian government, including the prime minister’s principal advisor, clerk of the privy council, and the attorney general. It’s a stark reminder the election is on, even before the writ drops.

 

I will now perform the post mortem analysis, armed with new details that were hidden from testimony to the justice committee. The reality is this scandal had less to do with SNC Lavalin than it did with Jody Wilson-Raybould’s indigenous heritage. A campaign was afoot against the former attorney general by various partisan interests to undermine her reputation and hamstring Liberals from making legal progress on the Indigenous Rights Framework promise.

 

The only question is – was Jody Wilson-Raybould a completely unwitting target, or did she willingly participate at any point, against the interests of her party? Hopefully this assessment will provide her with a safer space to explain certain actions than the viciously skewed battle-ring constructed by Canada’s hyper-partisan media.

 

Please note that sources will be linked for your inspection, including archived copies of the same pages (where possible) in case originals are deleted from the internet.

 

This begins with a helpful timeline that puts agendas in greater perspective, followed by sections examining key players, the relevant conflicts between them, and the potential legal consequences for Canadian press freedom.

 

An Illuminating Timeline

 

2014 – Multiple charges are laid against SNC Lavalin executives, related to the Libyan bribery scandal.

 

February 13, 2015 – Sami Bebawi, the former vice president of SNC Lavalin construction, is released on bail for obstruction of justice charges related to the Libyan bribery scandal. Charges were originally filed in 2014, but the accused was delayed in returning to Canada. (original + archive)

 

February 19, 2015 – The RCMP lays corporate charges against SNC Lavalin and two of its subsidiaries, regarding the Libya bribery scandal. (original + archive)

 

February 11, 2016 – SNC Lavalin begins lobbying the prime minister’s office (PMO), Liberal cabinet ministers, and several opposition MP’s including Andrew Scheer (Conservative leader) and Jagmeet Singh (NDP leader) for a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA), after firing its bad apples from the company. (original + archive)

 

***Edit – After publishing, NDP candidates took to social media to deny Jagmeet Singh’s involvement. A link to the lobbying record between NDP officials and SNC Lavalin is now provided, to resolve that partisan attempt at misinformation. (original + archive) Also added is the full lobbying record of SNC Lavalin, identifying every government official from every party they met with, in an effort to secure a DPA. (original – click Monthly Communication Reports for chronological list)

 

July 8, 2016 – The Supreme Court of Canada rules on R v. Jordan, setting a precedent that defendants must be tried within 18 months of being criminally charged, or within 30 months if a preliminary inquiry is pursued. (original + archive)

 

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(source + archive)

 

December 12, 2017 – Justice Richard Wagner is appointed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. He was previously selected by former Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Wagner is the son of a former Quebec Liberal cabinet minister and federal candidate for Conservative leadership. Peers describe his rulings as somewhat Conservative leaning, although he’s upheld Charter rights on significant cases favouring Liberals. (original + archive)

 

May, 2018 – A private member’s bill (C-262) by MP Romeo Saganash (NDP) to harmonize federal laws with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) passes the first reading, with Conservatives voting against it. (original + archive)

 

September, 2018 – The Liberal government implements deferred prosecution agreements (DPA’s) in the omnibus budget bill, bringing Canada up to speed with our trading partners – the United States, United Kingdom, and France – to ensure they don’t have an unfair advantage – also to protect employees and pensioners who were not involved in wrongdoing. (original + archive)

 

September, 2018 – While still Attorney General, Jody Wilson-Raybould battles with the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, Carolyn Bennett, over the implementation of an Indigenous Rights Framework. The Trudeau government promised this action, but Bennett was opposed to moving quickly enough for this to happen before the next election. She also opposed the Department of Justice having control of the legal aspects, despite the attorney general’s expertise. (original + archive)

 

October 10, 2018 – SNC Lavalin stock prices plunge upon the prosecutor’s decision to deny a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA). (original + archive)

 

End of October, 2018 – The Privy Council Office (PCO/Wernick) requests a legal opinion from the Department of Justice regarding the potential impacts if SNC Lavalin is criminally convicted. As attorney general, Jody Wilson-Raybould instructed her deputy minister to withhold that report. (original + archive)

 

This is arguably insubordination, for refusing to provide legal advice to the PMO. The request didn’t constitute pressure to offer a DPA; instead asking what happens when one is denied. The legislation enabling a deferred prosecution agreement had only been live for one month when the prosecutor denied this option to SNC Lavalin. Also denied was advice to seek outside legal guidance on using a DPA, by the attorney general.

 

November 28, 2018 – Jody Wilson-Raybould texts with Gerry Butts (PMO) about the Indigenous Rights Framework, to advise she fulfilled an important part of her mandate letter from the prime minister. She advises she would publish the Attorney General Indigenous Litigation Directive the following day and she’s very happy about it. Wilson-Raybould indicates she negotiated with fellow ministers and notably, Conservative lawyers within the Department of Justice, to gain their approval. She fielded concerns from the PMO on this very day and presumably gained their support, because Butts doesn’t respond for a week and never dissents. (original + Scribd docs)

 

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December 5, 2018 – Jody Wilson-Raybould meets with Gerry Butts (PMO) for dinner at Chateau Laurier. She says the vast majority of conversation was not about SNC Lavalin. (original + archive)

 

December 11, 2018 – Jody Wilson-Raybould texts with Gerry Butts (PMO) again, this time inquiring about changes the prime minister wants to the Attorney General Indigenous Litigation Directive (informal working title), what the outcome was at a cabinet meeting, and if she had approval to distribute these guidelines. She assures Butts that she made all the changes required by “Elder” (Elder Marques, senior policy advisor to the prime minister). They wouldn’t resume texting again until a month later. (original + Scribd docs)

 

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December 19, 2018 – Clerk of the Privy Council Michael Wernick (PCO) meets with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for lunch. Wernick testified that he attempted to contact Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould later in the day at her home, to discuss SNC Lavalin and the consequences of her decision on whether to intervene in the case. (Some phone tag ensued before the two got in touch.) (original + archive)

 

December 19, 2018 – Jody Wilson-Raybould meets with ex Conservative prime minister Kim Campbell at a coffee shop in Vancouver, for advice on political interference in the attorney general’s office and the latter’s experience with the David Milgaard case for comparison. (original + archive)

 

December 19, 2018 – Jody Wilson-Raybould calls Michael Wernick back about the SNC Lavalin matter and records the conversation without informing him. (Bear in mind there is a three hour time difference between Ontario and British Columbia.) (video analysis + full call audio + archive)

 

As with many journalists, lawyers, and pundits, I argue this is a breach of ethics and give reasons in a viral Twitter essay. The thread addresses cabinet confidentiality and solicitor-client privilege as different paths to arrive at the same conclusion. (original + archive)

 

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January 8, 2019 – After a few days of phone tag, Jody Wilson-Raybould learns she’s being moved from the attorney general post and texts with Gerry Butts (PMO) about the appearance of being “pushed out”. (original + Scribd docs)

 

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January 9 & 10, 2019 – Jody Wilson-Raybould is on vacation in Bali. She and Gerry Butts (PMO) have trouble getting in touch with one another, and she acknowledges her fate being in his hands. Butts responds that it’s okay if she wants to tune out and enjoy her vacation for the next couple days. (original + Scribd docs)

 

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January 11, 2019 – While still on vacation, Jody Wilson-Raybould publishes the Attorney General of Canada’s Directive on Civil Litigation Involving Indigenous Peoples on the Department of Justice (DOJ) website. It’s important to read this document in its entirety, because it’s at the heart of the current controversy and what the former attorney general is trying to protect – from Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Carolyn Bennett, Conservative lawyers in the DOJ, and through negotiations with cabinet, the PCO (Wernick), and PMO (Butts/Trudeau/Elder). (original + archive)

 

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January 12, 2019 – Jody Wilson-Raybould returns home from her vacation. (original + Scribd docs)

 

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January 14, 2019 – Dr. Jane Philpott is shuffled from Minister of Indigenous Services to President of the Treasury Board and Minister of Digital Government. Jody Wilson-Raybould is shuffled from the Attorney General’s Office and Minister of Justice, to become the Minister of Veterans Affairs. (original + archive)

 

In response, Wilson-Raybould publishes a poignant letter addressing Indigenous issues that was subsequently deleted from the Liberal website upon ejecting her from the party. (original PDF now missing)

 

However, the Google cache maintained a copy that has now been archived. The following photo is an excerpt. (cache copy + archive)

 

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February 7, 2019 – The Globe and Mail publishes an exposé that claims the PMO politically interfered in the SNC Lavalin prosecution and placed undue pressure on Jody Wilson-Raybould to offer the corporation a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA). Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Principal Secretary Gerry Butts (PMO), and Clerk of the Privy Council Michael Wernick (PCO) all denied the allegation, that was based on an anonymous source. (archive for those without a subscription)

 

One point of contention is the leaker cited confidential information within the Prime Minister’s Office that only staff in the PMO or PCO would be privy to.

 

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February 12, 2019 – Jody Wilson-Raybould resigns as Minister of Veterans Affairs. A number of anonymous sources leaked to media that senior government officials, including the prime minister, tried to negotiate with Wilson-Raybould for weeks leading up to this moment. They say the former attorney general had a number of conditions, such as apologizing and firing Gerry Butts, as well as Michael Wernick – but obviously that mediation was unsuccessful.

 

Five conditions were reported but the leakers would only describe three, with no explanation why they withheld part of the information. This indicates again that only Cabinet, the PCO, and PMO would have been privy to these details, to be able to inform reporters. (original + archive)

 

February 15, 2019 – Charges are dropped against Sami Bebawi, the former vice president of SNC Lavalin construction, due to the Jordan ruling and unreasonable delay. (original + archive)

 

February 18, 2019 – Gerald Butts (aka Gerry) resigns as Principal Advisor to the Prime Minister. His letter is distributed to the public and he cites anonymous allegations against him regarding SNC Lavalin as the reason for his departure. He says those allegations are false and reiterates his good working relationship with Jody Wilson-Raybould throughout. This positive relationship is supported by Wilson-Raybould’s similar recollections and the text messages they shared previously, in contrast to the media’s depiction as adversarial. (original + archive)

 

February 19, 2019 – Charges are dropped against another SNC Lavalin vice president, Stéphane Roy, due to the Jordan ruling and unreasonable delay. (original + archive)

 

February 21, 2019 – Clerk of the Privy Council, Michael Wernick, testifies at the justice committee. (original transcript + archive)

 

February 22, 2019 – Conservative MP Lisa Raitt, Deputy Leader of the Opposition, floats the idea that Jody Wilson-Raybould believed she was removed as the attorney general due to her position on the Indigenous reconciliation file. (original + archive)

 

February 27, 2019 – Jody Wilson-Raybould testifies at the justice committee. She claims to have faced undue pressure to intervene in the SNC Lavalin case and offer a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA). (original transcript + archive)

 

February 27, 2019 – Self-professed Liberal strategist (and lawyer) Warren Kinsella publishes a photo of his wife, Lisa Kinsella, hugging Jody Wilson-Raybould upon conclusion of her testimony. This caused a stir on social media where he also posted and it was deleted shortly after. However, the Google cache retained a copy from the original webpage. (original deleted + cache copy + archive)

 

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February 28, 2019 – Social media and Liberal activist ‘Paddy O’Limerick’ commented about the photo Warren Kinsella posted on Twitter of his wife hugging Jody Wilson-Raybould, in connection with the SNC Lavalin scandal. (archive)

 

Kinsella responded by trying to obtain her personal information in a threatening way and the internet considered this a threat to dox her.

 

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Concerned individuals reported the threat to Twitter, but the social media company declined to intervene because ‘Paddy’s’ personal information had not yet been published. They decided that threats to publicly identify a user’s name and address are within the terms of service. (original + archive)

 

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While Twitter may condone this behaviour and driving women off the internet, I warned the parties that Pat (aka Patty, Paddy) is the wife of a police officer through my personal and professional knowledge. This is why she uses an alias, to protect the safety of her family. (original + archive)

 

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It is unknown if doxxing is considered conduct unbecoming of a lawyer by any law society. I’m not aware of a professional complaint being filed, although additional considerations about Mr. Kinsella are addressed in a subsequent section.

 

March 4, 2019 – Dr. Jane Philpott resigns as Treasury Board President and Minister of Digital Government. She makes this decision in support of Jody Wilson-Raybould and claims she has lost confidence in this government, over the handling of SNC Lavalin. (original + archive)

 

March 6, 2019 – Former Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, Gerald Butts (aka Gerry), testifies at the justice committee. He doesn’t wish to quarrel with Jody Wilson-Raybould about their recollection of events, but denies putting pressure on the ex attorney general regarding SNC Lavalin. Instead he reports in their December 5, 2018 meeting that she was primarily concerned with the Indigenous rights and civil litigation directive. (original transcript + archive)

 

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March 6, 2019Clerk of the Privy Council, Michael Wernick, testifies again and publishes a supplementary statement on the government website. In the last paragraph he warns the justice committee needs to investigate the Attorney General of Canada’s Directive on Civil Litigation Involving Indigenous Peoples that Jody Wilson-Raybould published on January 11, 2019, because ‘it marks a profound change in the legal landscape’. He advises it can be easily rescinded, and characterizes the question of support for Wilson-Raybould’s directive as an election wedge issue. (original + archive)

 

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March 8, 2019 – A federal judge rejects SNC Lavalin’s application for judicial review of the prosecutor’s refusal to negotiate a DPA. The court cited the company’s failure to suggest there had been an abuse of process. (original + archive)

 

March 18, 2019 – Michael Wernick resigns as Clerk of the Privy Council. He cites the non-partisan duties of an impending election and that ‘there is no path to have a relationship of mutual trust and respect with the leaders of the Opposition parties’. (original + archive)

 

March 19, 2019 – The Trudeau Liberal government delivers the federal (election) budget, but it fails to gain much traction against the political sniping surrounding Jody Wilson-Raybould and SNC Lavalin. (original + archive)

 

March 19, 2019 – A photo is sent to Susan Delacourt (Liberal columnist at the Toronto Star and iPolitics) depicting Jody Wilson-Raybould, Dr. Jane Philpott, and Lisa Kinsella engaged in a post-budget chat at Chateau Laurier. Kinsella is Warren’s wife and his partner in the Daisy Group political consulting business. She was with Wilson-Raybould at the conclusion of the latter’s testimony as well. (original + archive)

 

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March 20, 2019 – Retired judge, Brian Giesbrecht, publishes a screed against Jody Wilson-Raybould for her directive to the Department of Justice regarding Indigenous rights and how to approach civil litigation involving Section 35 matters. Giesbrecht claims that Jody Wilson-Raybould instructed federal lawyers not to appeal decisions against the government and a wide range of boogeyman allegations; but that simplistic regurgitation isn’t wholly true, nor is it a reasonable representation of the former attorney general’s guidelines. For context, Giesbrecht is a senior fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy – a known Conservative institution. He also published in Troy Media, that plainly states it is a Conservative operation. (original + archive)

 

Of note, Giesbrecht was formerly criticized for a racist attack on Indigenous peoples in prior mainstream media. (original + archive)

 

And here’s an excerpt from Jody Wilson-Raybould’s directive that refutes his sensationalized characterization. (original + archive)

 

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March 21, 2019 – Dr. Jane Philpott gives an exclusive interview to Macleans and claims, “There’s much more to the story that needs to be told.” She encourages the government to tell Canadians the truth, but withholds what truth she’s talking about. (original + archive)

 

March 24, 2019Owner of the Daisy Group political consulting firm, Warren Kinsella, trades friendly repartée with ex Conservative prime minister Kim Campbell and brags about his nickname as the Prince of Darkness. (archive)

 

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March 25, 2019 – An anonymous source leaks that Jody Wilson-Raybould recommended Justice Glenn Joyal for Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. This information is highly confidential and she is criticized for backing a known Conservative, who took issue with Charter rights being used as a means of political activism to ‘govern from the bench’.

 

This source knew the former attorney general submitted a 60-page report in support of Joyal and the only people who would have known this fine detail are close colleagues in the Department of Justice, the PCO/PMO, or the ‘independent’ advisory board that was headed by former Conservative Prime Minister Kim Campbell. (original + archive)

 

March 25, 2019 – Chief Justice Glenn Joyal of the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench slams the government leaker and Canadian media for engaging in a political smear campaign using his name. Joyal corrects the propaganda and reports that he withdrew his name from Supreme Court deliberations due to his wife’s cancer diagnosis before a decision was made. (archive for those without a subscription)

 

March 26, 2019 – One day later, another anonymous source peddled more detailed information about Jody Wilson-Raybould’s thought process behind nominating Justice Glenn Joyal over Justice Richard Wagner. This leaker had such exclusive access to the highest levels of government that they must have received the former attorney general’s 60-page nomination report. These details indicate a serious breach in parliamentary security. (archive for those without a subscription)

 

March 26, 2019 – Self-proclaimed Liberal strategist (also attorney) Warren Kinsella slams Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as blameworthy for the leak about Justice Joyal and the Supreme Court appointments process. He claims the PMO is responsible for a campaign to smear Jody Wilson-Raybould. (original + archive)

 

April 1, 2019 – A preliminary inquiry concludes and a judge must decide if there is enough evidence to proceed with a trial against the SNC Lavalin corporation, regarding the Libyan bribery scandal. (original + archive)

 

April 1, 2019 – Bill C-262 (by Romeo Saganash, NDP) to harmonize federal laws with Indigenous rights enters the second reading at the senate level. The Assembly of First Nations urges support to pass this legislation (given that Conservatives voted against it). (original + archive)

 

April 2, 2019 – Former Principal Secretary Gerry Butts (PMO) submits his text messages with Jody Wilson-Raybould in response to her testimony at the justice committee, and to supplement his own statement. They largely confirm both parties’ recollections that SNC Lavalin was hardly mentioned. (original + Scribd docs)

 

April 2, 2019 – Jody Wilson-Raybould and Dr. Jane Philpott are ejected from the Liberal Party of Canada. The former shares an impassioned plea about remaining with the party, but the prime minister reports that trust is broken with the government caucus. (original + archive)

 

Wilson-Raybould urges, “… rather than letting authority be the truth, let truth be the authority.”

 

April 3, 2019 – Jody Wilson-Raybould attends the Daughters of the Vote event on Parliament Hill. She cites supporting the young ladies, but also ex Conservative Prime Minister Kim Campbell, whom she believes is an “amazing person”. (original + archive)

 

April 4, 2019 – Bullets are fired at the home of Toronto city councilor, John Filion, and CBC host, Anna Maria Tremonti. The event is so recent that police don’t know if the attacker was motivated by his municipal work, or possibly her coverage of Jody Wilson-Raybould. (original + archive)

 

April 5, 2019 – Conrad Black publishes a screed against Jody Wilson-Raybould in the National Post. He opens by accusing the former attorney general of advancing Indigenous causes at the “expense of the Canadian national interest”. Only after attacking her racial heritage does he continue with the SNC Lavalin matter. (original + archive)

 

For context, Conrad Black was publisher of the National Post and that newspaper was founded by fellows from the Fraser Institute, in an effort to broadcast more Conservative voices into Canadian media. This included Ezra Levant, Jon Kay, and Conservative Member of Parliament John Williamson. (original + archive)

 

Black cited his motivation as a response to the Globe and Mail; a publication the disgraced Lord deemed to be a Liberal platform. But the Globe and Mail has since revealed its own Conservative bias, when editor-in-chief David Walmsly overrode the editorial board’s endorsement of a Liberal government. In a haphazard fashion, it was changed to support one of the worst-performing Conservative leaders in Canadian history and silence the paper’s journalists. (original + archive)

 

Lord Black is a convicted felon who renounced his Canadian citizenship to accept a Conservative appointment in Britain (for younger readers who don’t remember). (original + archive)

 

He is married to Conservative columnist, Barbara Amiel, who is criticized for espousing racism and Islamophobia. (original + archive)

 

April 5, 2019 – Now as an independent member of parliament, Jody Wilson-Raybould provides an interview to Mercedes Stephenson at Global News. The ex attorney general makes a valid point that she was never criticized or disciplined for her job performance prior to resigning from cabinet. Even as the Globe and Mail allegations broke pertaining to SNC Lavalin, the prime minister and principal secretary supported her. It therefore stands to reason that any criticism afterwards may be classified as a smear campaign. (original + archive)

 

Insofar as getting a fair shake from colleagues and media goes, it doesn’t appear that Mercedes Stephenson disclosed her conflict of interest with Jody Wilson-Raybould. In 2010 the journalist participated with Gerry Butts in penning a report for the G20 that praised the effect of climate change opening the Canadian Arctic for business. It was crass and harboured racist attitudes toward the Indigenous peoples and their traditional food sources.  (Scribd doc)

 

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Liberal Women Divided Over Indigenous Affairs

 

If you skipped it before, it would be prudent to read Jody Wilson-Raybould’s Attorney General of Canada’s Directive on Civil Litigation Involving Indigenous Peoples now. (original + archive) It was the most important work she did at the Department of Justice and the most controversial to Conservative opponents, as well as Michael Wernick (PCO) and nail-biters in the PMO.

 

A full reading indicates she did not preclude government appeals against Indigenous claims, as the retired Conservative judge exclaimed. In fact, she walked an incredibly careful path to fulfill her mandate from the prime minister without hamstringing government lawyers from addressing Section 35 matters and civil litigation. Jody Wilson-Raybould did what she was instructed to accomplish. This despite opposition from Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Carolyn Bennett, and misogynist whisper campaigns that she was “difficult”.

 

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Dr. Bennett carries herself like the white saviour of Indigenous peoples and it’s plain to see she resented any lived and legal experience from Jody Wilson-Raybould. Michael Wernick (PCO) went so far as to defend Dr. Bennett’s honour in his justice committee testimony and the policy spat he revealed between the women was widely covered by the media. It’s just unfortunate the narrative was spun to impugn the former attorney general as the party who was being “difficult”. That’s an entirely different ilk of putting pressure on Wilson-Raybould, to see her name destroyed if she didn’t come to another minister’s heel. (original + archive)

 

Moreover, Dr. Bennett came to Michael Wernick’s defence when he was appointed by Trudeau as Clerk of the Privy Council. Previously Wernick was the Deputy Minister of Indian (sic) Affairs under the leadership of former Conservative prime minister, Stephen Harper. These were cruel years to First Nations and he was part of the campaign that implemented spying and disruption tactics against Indigenous advocates. (original + archive)

 

Cindy Blackstock is only one example and she was tormented for filing a human rights claim as executive director of the First Nation Child and Family Caring Society. The Assembly of First Nations supported Blackstock and she eventually won in a ruling that blasted the federal government for discriminating against Indigenous children by underfunding child welfare agencies on reserves.

 

Wernick was tasked with an investigation into the spying allegations and he fudged a report to absolve the Conservative administration of any wrongdoing whatsoever. He was later refuted by the privacy commissioner who independently investigated and confirmed the anti-Indigenous spy campaign was in fact true. (original + archive)

 

It was so true that 189 federal public servants were found to be tracking Blackstock, under the management of Michael Wernick. (original + archive)

 

In Wernick’s testimony to the justice committee, he acknowledged a policy stand-off between Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Carolyn Bennett and Minister of Justice/Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould. But Wernick never describes the policy they disagreed about and the only one it wouldn’t be is SNC Lavalin.

 

Dr. Philpott was the Minister of Indigenous Services and had to work with Dr. Bennett on the most regular basis out of all the cabinet ministers. Their jobs were related to serve the Indigenous population and both these women are physicians. But Dr. Philpott took a principled stand and supported Jody Wilson-Raybould, as an Indigenous attorney general, over Dr. Bennett and every other person in Cabinet.

 

Philpott repeatedly warns there is more to this story and she compels Cabinet to be honest with the Canadian people. She accuses the prime minister and his closest advisors of ‘shutting down the story’, but never reveals what part of the story she feels is being silenced.

 

Likewise, Jody Wilson-Raybould won’t disclose two of her conditions for staying with the party, before her unceremonious ejection occurred. The high-ranking government leakers who peddled that story to multiple news agencies won’t discuss those two conditions either.

 

Despite Gerry Butts tabling his text messages with Jody Wilson-Raybould, her Attorney General of Canada’s Directive on Civil Litigation Involving Indigenous Peoples is the one thing that can’t be mentioned – even though it was part of their recurring discussions and part of the justice committee evidence.

 

But key Conservatives are squawking about it and Micheal Wernick tried to make this directive an election issue. In some circles it’s been suggested that Jody Wilson-Raybould owed a deferred prosecution agreement to SNC Lavalin, to equalize the favoured treatment she’s been accused of giving to First Nations.

 

In a text conversation with the prime minister’s principal advisor, Wilson-Raybould further discusses the approval she needed from Conservative lawyers within the Department of Justice. The DOJ is supposed to be non-partisan, yet two of the highest-ranking officials in the country acknowledged needing that partisan buy-in to be able to proceed with the Indigenous directive. No one is questioning the tyranny of an attorney general needing to pacify the Opposition within the public service.

 

Jody Wilson-Raybould may have committed an ethical breach when she recorded Michael Wernick without informing him. It appears she may have been insubordinate when she instructed her deputy minister to withhold the legal opinion on SNC Lavalin from the Privy Council. This requires discipline.

 

If we were to view this situation through a tort law lens, it could be compared to a drunk driving accident. The drunk driver causes the accident, but the victim with injuries wasn’t wearing a seatbelt. In cases like these the victim is still entitled to damages, but they lose 25 percent of the settlement due to their part in the negligence for failing to wear a seatbelt. In Canadian law our judgment doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing.

 

It’s apparent there were extenuating circumstances for Jody Wilson-Raybould and a multi-faceted political campaign to deeply undermine her. It doesn’t seem even-handed to throw the baby out with the bathwater, and Canada’s relationship with Indigenous peoples along with it. The former attorney general’s Indigenous directive is at stake and this is a decisive moment in Canadian history. Whether Cabinet and mainstream media want to discuss this or not, the repercussions of excluding Wilson-Raybould for writing that directive will reverberate for decades. This also comes after the Conservative experiment with attempting to manipulate Senator Patrick Brazeau.

 

Dr. Philpott and Ms. Wilson-Raybould were willing to sit as back benchers and still contribute the wealth of their experience to representing constituents. Extraordinary investments were made in their professional development and it’s being wasted so a timid government can keep secrets about Indigenous issues as we head into an election. The Conservatives and NDP must not have wanted to be pigeonholed on reconciliation either, because it was their duty to know this and they chose to ignore or remain silent.

 

The truth of the matter with SNC Lavalin is that two executives were exonerated when everyone wasn’t looking. Lengthy court delays intervened to make this a non-issue; and the Jordan ruling may yet prevail to dismiss the case against the corporation. If SNC Lavalin is forced to trial, they could still plead political interference based on the government leakers and partisan media spectacle over the past two months, non-stop. This isn’t a justifiable reason to discourage women in politics, or sever communication with Indigenous partners.

 

On Warren Kinsella’s Inner Battle With Liberals

 

I’m well aware that Mr. Kinsella threatens lawsuits against his detractors liberally. We tangoed once before when his wife was an executive at ORNGE (the Ontario air ambulance) and that company was spectacularly scandalized. This section will begin by taking that elephant out of the room and thanking Kathleen Wynne for SLAPP legislation that was long overdue in Ontario. If Kinsella engages in silencing tactics anyway, perhaps the Ottawa bubble will pitch in for a Kickstarter campaign to fund a proper defence of press freedom. Preaching for Jody Wilson-Raybould to be allowed to speak her truth doesn’t mesh with censoring the analysts who know a thing or two about it.

 

It’s become necessary to address the Kinsellas because they’re ingratiating themselves to Jody Wilson-Raybould and implanting their influence in the SNC Lavalin matter. The former attorney general wouldn’t be familiar with the company she’s been keeping, or their conflict of interest with Indigenous issues that are being muffled by all the players.

 

Warren Kinsella projects himself as a Liberal strategist, and indeed he was integral to the Ontario McGuinty government. (archive) He was also a staffer to Jean Chrétien, who was eventually undone by Paul Martin in a Liberal family coup. McGuinty was turfed as one of the most shady administrations and these rifts within the party have never quite healed. (archive) You can gauge that damage through the behaviour of Sheila Copps, lately on social media.

 

Gerry Butts is the best friend of current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, but he was McGuinty’s principal secretary before assuming the same role with Trudeau. (archive) Both Kinsella and Butts were instrumental to the Liberal administration when the ORNGE bribery/kickback scheme was transpiring.

 

The maiden name of Warren’s wife is Lisa Kirbie. She was one of the most central figures to the ORNGE scandal, as the director of government relations. She handled the paperwork for ORNGE, to-and-from government, that was pivotal to the police investigation. (original + archive)

 

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Uncovering the problems at ORNGE occurred because an issue of public safety arose for patients they were transporting. It ballooned into an alleged $4.7 million boondoggle and Kirbie was fired from the company in the course of the fallout. She was offered a severance package, but sued for more on the basis of damages for sexual harassment allegations that were filed after being terminated. (original + archive)

 

Before leaving the company, Kirbie secretly recorded executives in her effort to substantiate the allegations, that included holding Alfred Apps responsible for the ORNGE scandal as the “mastermind”. Apps was a lawyer for ORNGE and president of the Liberal Party of Canada. He adamantly denied Kirbie’s accusations, but was turfed as party president due to the bad press. (original + archive)

 

Not only did Apps leave his post at the helm of the Liberal Party, but he also resigned from Fasken Martineau. The law firm continued to represent ORNGE and Apps departed to practice with his brother. He says that departure had nothing to do with the ORNGE file. Nor has he ever been charged with an offence. (original + archive)

 

As a sidebar, Fasken Martineau is now representing Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, to defend against libel allegations levied by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau regarding the SNC Lavalin dispute. (original + archive)

 

The investigation into ORNGE by Ontario Provincial Police took six years to conclude, without any criminal charges. (original + archive)

 

This fruitless inquiry cost taxpayers nearly $250,000. (original + archive)

 

Kirbie was dating Kinsella at the time of the ORNGE scandal and they married a short while later. It’s unknown what came of her wrongful dismissal suit, but her secret recordings never resulted in criminal repercussions for the company. Only the key colleagues she worked with were terminated or resigned in kind. Their reputations were also destroyed. (original + archive)

 

Continuing, Warren Kinsella is one of the grandfathers of negative attack ads in Canadian politics and he is proud to defend that strategy. (archive) He is a practising lawyer in Ontario, subject to the Rules of Professional Conduct. (original) He’s the owner/operator of The Daisy Group, a political and public relations consulting firm. (archive) He’s also a Sun Media columnist, who once skirted a libel suit brought by a diplomat based on a technicality. (original + archive)

 

Kinsella defended Ezra Levant’s Sun News Network when the channel was closed, as a matter of press freedom that ignored the bigotry and racism it promoted. It was a sister to the Sun newspaper where Kinsella publishes and he frequently appeared on their political television programs. (archive)

 

Sun Media was owned by Québecor until 2015. (archive) And former Conservative Prime Minister Brian Mulroney remains Chairman of the Board at Québecor. (original + archive) Pierre Karl Péladeau is the CEO of Québecor and past CEO of Sun Media, as well as being the former Leader of the Parti Québécois. He’s best known for his political stance as a Québec separatist and ran for the PQ in a riding that is a stone’s throw from Justin Trudeau’s Liberal constituency. (archive) These are, or have been, the employers of Warren Kinsella.

 

On the political front, and despite Kinsella’s professed Liberal identity, he worked the John Tory municipal campaign and counts Nick Kouvalis as a best friend. (archive) John Tory is the former leader of Ontario Progressive Conservatives and in that time he ran against Dalton McGuinty for premier. (archive) Nick Kouvalis ran Kellie Leitch’s campaign for leadership of the federal Conservatives, that was widely denounced for racism, Islamophobia, and the pursuit of a snitch line. (archive) He also has a criminal record for drunk driving and an incident related to a different Conservative campaign. (archive) The beef between Canadian media and Kouvalis is that he embraced and defended the spread of fake news, as a source that gleefully libelled Justin Trudeau. (archive)

 

On April 1, 2019 Kinsella and Kouvalis collaborated again, for the purpose of a Sun News article that was a takedown of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Kinsella promoted Kouvalis as a trustworthy authority, and among their comments was a nod to #Gropegate (wherein Trudeau was accused of inappropriately touching a reporter). They further noted that PMJT can only win the impending election if he picks up more votes in Québec. Coincidentally, that’s where SNC Lavalin is located. (archive)

 

But in that article Kinsella forgot to disclose that he was the source of #Gropegate. He forgot to disclose that he advised one of Kent Hehr’s accusers, while also writing extensively about that #MeToo scandal that resulted in Hehr’s removal from the federal Liberal Cabinet. (archive)

 

Although Warren Kinsella vows he is a Liberal strategist, he has a history of batting for more than one team and sniping out more high profile Liberals than the Opposition could dream of. He was ejected from the Olivia Chow mayoral campaign and the feeling was apparently mutual. (archive) He’s attempting to assist the Conservative’s Andrew Scheer in the current election against Trudeau. (archive) In the Hill Times he’s attempting to assist the NDP’s Jagmeet Singh. (archive) All the while Kinsella claims to be close enough to the PMO to know that former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney is the (Conservative) leader that Trudeau speaks with most frequently. (archive)

 

He even harbours ill feelings toward former Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin and former Liberal Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne. For the record, it was Martin who recruited Jody Wilson-Raybould on behalf of Justin Trudeau. (archive)

 

Kinsella has an interesting take on what constitutes a conflict of interest, but none could be more concerning than his precarious situation and attitude toward Indigenous matters.

 

In celebrating the Daisy Group’s 10-year anniversary, Kinsella boasted about some of his clients. They include: all levels of the Liberal Party, bar associations, law firms, the Department of Justice (where Jody Wilson-Raybould used to work), Indian (sic) Affairs (where Michael Wernick used to work), and a couple of First Nations. (archive)

 

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Warren Kinsella fathered a child from the Carcross Tagish First Nation. He’s deleted most entries that cited his daughter, but kept one published that notes the reserve’s recent support for Jody Wilson-Raybould. (archive)

 

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Other entries on Kinsella’s personal website that reference his Indigenous daughter are deleted from 2012, during Stephen Harper’s tenure. The following titles are no longer available:

July 2012 – Carcross Tagish First Nation: This Time It’s Personal

Aug 2012 – In Carcross Tagish Territory Tonight

Sept 2012 – CTFN: This Is My Daughter’s First Nation

More recently he deleted an entry about his wife’s involvement with Jody Wilson-Raybould, surrounding her justice committee testimony. Now missing from the site is this title:

February 2019 – A Certain Lisa Kinsella Hugs Jody Wilson-Raybould After Her Historic Testimony

 

It should be noted that Lisa Kinsella joined the Daisy Group as a managing partner after leaving ORNGE. She’s originally from British Columbia, where Jody Wilson-Raybould calls home.

 

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So Warren Kinsella and the Daisy Group have professionally represented First Nations, including the one where his daughter resides. (archive) But he also claims to have been an advisor to former prime ministers Chrétien, Martin, and Harper on Indigenous issues and doesn’t see it as a conflict of interest. Representing the government’s Indian (sic) Affairs didn’t ring any warning bells either. (archive)

 

To read the tone of Kinsella’s sentiments toward Indigenous peoples is confusing at best. He sympathizes with their suffering, yet also claims that Indigenous leaders bear much responsibility for the ongoing crises. He wields accusations that have been decried as racist, such as blaming elders for misappropriating their government reparations. For example, Kinsella took a hard line against Attawapiskat and Chief Theresa Spence. (archive)

 

Even staff at the Daisy Group is insensitive toward Indigenous children. The following is from a tiff with Andrew Tumilty in 2017: (archive 1 + archive 2)

 

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He further describes his position at the Daisy Group as a government and public relations consultant who is “living in spin” and an “apprentice of the dark arts”. (archive)

 

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On the serious side however, the Carcross Tagish First Nation is where the Klondike Gold Rush began. It was also one of the first Indigenous reserves converted to a fee simple municipality, as the Harper Conservatives formed government. The negotiations transpired under Paul Martin’s Liberals and came into effect in 2006. The agreement extinguished Indigenous rights in many regards and opened their land for mining, akin to SNC Lavalin interests. It also brought them into the Canadian taxation schedule. (original government link + downloadable PDF, 583 pages)

 

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Warren Kinsella failed to see the irony when his daughter’s First Nation, the one that he represented, gave him a carving of a shark turning into a man. (archive)

 

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Within six years of signing onto the fee simple municipality structure, the Carcross Tagish First Nation was fighting to change the agreement. A number of clauses in the settlement with government prevent that from happening, however. (original + archive)

 

The client list at Daisy Group is full of potential conflicts, between groups and governments, First Nations and governments, as well as various businesses and governments. Unfortunately Warren Kinsella’s policy to deal with these conflicts is not as prominently featured. (archive)

 

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What Kinsella did to silence his detractors is possibly just as alarming. He sued Twitter because the social media giant didn’t remove a post that was critical of his adventures. Instead of going after the commentator for libel and proving the allegation, he forced Twitter to settle with him or face the prospect of setting a legal precedent that would undoubtedly affect its investors. Twitter settled with Kinsella for $200,000. (original + archive)

 

And then, somehow, Twitter became a Daisy Group client. (archive)

 

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Only Jody Wilson-Raybould knows if the Kinsellas disclosed these details to her. Only she can tell us if she was aware that the attorney general’s Indigenous directive conflicts with the fee simple approach. Regardless of her knowledge though, SNC Lavalin has an interest in the way this plays out.

 

Potential Legal Consequences For Canada & Canadian Journalism

 

A number of leaks have now occurred from the highest levels of the Canadian government. Whether it’s about the policy on deferred prosecution agreements, deliberations for a Supreme Court judge, the Khadr settlement (archive), or Jody Wilson-Raybould’s conditions to Cabinet, only the PMO, PCO, or Department of Justice could be responsible for them. A campaign to remove the attorney general couldn’t be more clear and two of the people who aren’t behind this are Wilson-Raybould and Trudeau.

 

But as a country we are nonetheless facing a severe security breach. It must be investigated to resolve the integrity of the federal government and the sanctity of operations – especially with an election approaching. That would mean trying to obtain records from journalists that are supposed to be protected, to determine the identity of leakers.

 

Recently Vice News was responsible for setting a precedent that already stripped away journalists’ ability to protect sources, unless they are anonymous. As expected, the Canadian media resorted to using only anonymous sources after that decision. But now we have a national security risk that can only be mitigated by chipping away at what was left of press freedom and the new Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada may become responsible for managing that outcome. (original + archive)

 

It is with great regret that I bring this to everyone’s attention. The reason I’ve done this is to spark a genuine, adult conversation about the consequential issues that are going on behind the superficial headlines. So long as we continue to believe the problem is over a DPA with SNC Lavalin, we will continue to fail at addressing these substantive threats to the Canadian – Indigenous relationship.

 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his lifelong friend, Gerald Butts, enjoy seeking sage advice in historical and contemporary literature. On that note this dispatch will close with a few words of that nature.

 

The willingness to change one’s mind in the light of new evidence is the sign of rationality, not weakness.” Stuart Sutherland

 

(Full disclosure: When I took time off from journalism, I was the director of a federal Liberal riding association – the one that had to contend with Conservative Kellie Leitch. I have never participated in politics while reporting on them and my ethical values on managing conflicts of interest are set in stone. I guest lecture on matters of ethics and the partisan effect on press freedom, and I’ve been an advisor to the Inter American Press Association. I even managed to score myself a spot on Stephen Harper’s so-called ‘Enemy List’. I believe journalists have a fundamental right to vote and be knowledgeable about the issues, but that we cannot wear two hats at the same time and exploit our personal experiences for professional gain.)

 

@MsAmyMacPherson

PM Trudeau’s ‘Cousin’ Exposes #MeToo Scandal Involving Liberalist Data

Dear Justin,

I tried writing to you first, as the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister of Canada, but you ignored it. So I’m trying again now, as your cousin-in-law instead. I’m hopeful that addressing you personally will help us overcome the communication barrier that’s been erected to insulate you from some deeply troubling developments. I regret that professional attempts to resolve this were unsuccessful and I had to resort to a family intervention to get your attention. This is about a brewing child sex scandal and the kids are still in danger, ‘under a Trudeau roof‘. We need to speak about this frankly and immediately, before any more damage can be done.

I appreciate you wouldn’t recognize me in a crowd, because my part of the family happens to change about every four years. They’re a raucous bunch of enormously huge egos who can’t seem to get along for the good of anyone. Every four years like clockwork, there’s a slew of vicious divorces. You would think that after 150 years they could learn to communicate instead of tearing each other down. If nobody else warned about what you were joining, then I’m sorry to be the messenger.

But as things stand you are the patriarch of this family and I must bring these concerns directly to you. I grew up as a Crown Ward and I’m choosing to approach you in that capacity, as a sidebar from both our jobs that are politically interfering. This is a graphic and extremely difficult issue that requires we drop our defences, if anything is to be resolved. With you as the prime minister and me as a journalist, it’s created a standoff that imperils more complainants.

It’s not an internet myth and several criminal charges are laid, into the double-digits. Some of them were even against your flatmate, but that’s the part you did know. What I need to discuss is the growing number of child sex victims since he pleaded guilty, and the family looked away to cleanse its Liberal soul. Because everyone closed their eyes in an effort to shield you from that scandal, the abuses continued and kids are presently being harmed by additional members of our family. The thing about predation is that it’s an illness and it can’t be controlled by ignoring it. All that secrecy did was let the disease flourish within our own family.

You and I come from disparate places and the most valuable purpose I can serve is to share my insight, plus hard evidence. This seedy cadre of inlaws will be your demise if you don’t listen up and take corrective action now. Children are being exploited either in your name or on your watch, and you’re the only one who can stop this. The Trudeau stamp is on these crimes, through and through. It’s just that you’re blinded to how.

I know you believe that your part of the family is more civilized than mine and that sexual abuse can’t infect the silver spoon; but in this example the privileged members of our clan are preying on the most vulnerable, precisely because they have no resources to defend themselves. The abuse of power in your image is so great that it’s upsetting. Watching them use your money and power to scare, brutalize, and/or silence the kids is nearly paralyzing. This relates to stalking women in our family too.

This is going to be a long letter because I was cursed with the ability to tie things together. My vantage point is unique as a family member who remained constant through all the divorces, and as a witness to a particular set of criminal allegations that now involve you directly. Your branch of the family has gone to great lengths to silence these children, but I can’t let them succeed like they did with your roommate in Vancouver. If I let them silence me, more women and children will be violated.

Ultimately we’re going to discuss a serial problem with sexual predation in the Liberal Party of Canada and its provincial counterparts. We will also explore the ‘Look Away Disease’ that has infected all legislatures and parliament, that continues to fuel new allegations in nearly every news cycle. I will attempt to bridge the cases of Jared Nolan, Luke Strimbold, Christopher Ingvaldson, and Tina Fontaine, through my experience and holistic viewpoint. Although they appear to be disconnected examples, I can explain why they’re not and how they were all enabled by our family. That includes all political parties, law enforcement, and media, in their various roles in the family compact, and the way you have abused Canadians’ data to make them vulnerable to criminal exploitation.

I apologize for the lengthy preamble and please accept it as an indication of my trepidation. Exposing heinous crimes takes a tremendous amount of courage, especially when the establishment becomes complicit. I’m trying to inform you in a way that doesn’t weaponize our women and children, and turn this into little more than political ammunition against you. These issues are so much greater than partisan hit-points. They transcend race and class relations, as the foundation for all systemic #MeToo dysfunction.

I know Tina Fontaine isn’t considered part of the #MeToo catastrophe, but hopefully she will be when I’m finished connecting the dots. In fact, your entire relationship with First Nations should be viewed through the Look Away lens. I don’t mean to steal their voices and my information doesn’t replace their own stories, but hopefully my experience can penetrate the walls around your brain-trust. Hopefully it will give you a new avenue to analyze your behaviour and to become accountable for it. Hopefully I will enable my government family to do better, replacing the false promises on prenuptial bumper stickers that inevitably lead to collapse in the fourth year of this abuse and election cycle.

Addressing an issue that is all-encompassing requires perseverance. Please be patient as I weave these details to reveal the larger picture that’s been missing from the #MeToo and data privacy discussions.

 

Regarding Jared Nolan

 

I mention Jared Nolan first, because the political obstruction surrounding his case is current and ongoing. He is/was an LPC riding executive who was charged with multiple counts of child luring and child pornography in Ontario. He’s the reason I began writing you letters and why the party threatened to silence me as a witness. Here is documentation of that event:

 

(continued below…)

 

 

The investigation has gone sideways because of the evidence I reported and its liability implications to the Liberal Party of Canada. I’m a peripheral witness in that matter and after intervention by the LPC, the police obstructed my report and refused to receive the evidence.

My documentation relates to tampering with evidence in the Nolan case, to conceal his relationship with the Liberal apparatus. During the time of these heinous allegations made by children, he was also working directly with partisan youths in the riding. Another riding executive is the principal of a high school and Nolan may have had access to those children through the Liberal Party of Canada as well. He definitely had access to thousands of youths, with the ability to stalk them in real-time through the party’s Liberalist database.

The PMO and party brass were aware of this danger but continued to permit Nolan’s access to the database, even as he was under house arrest. You refused to notify the youth volunteers and parents in our riding, so they could speak with their children to ensure they weren’t sexually abused. The Liberal Party of Canada continues to withhold this information and it’s created a public safety emergency. No one will investigate if these child complainants were in contact with the party to fulfill their volunteer requirements, or if Nolan downloaded a copy of the Liberalist database with all women and children’s sensitive information. They will not ensure it hasn’t been distributed to a criminal child pornography network.

The LPC’s threats and interference have created so much harm that the Ontario Provincial Police are blocking all forms of communication to receive evidence in the Nolan case. They denied phone calls and a physical meeting. They ‘lost’ my original 2-hour statement. They ‘lost’ the original officer who took my report. When that wasn’t enough to deter me from reporting, the lead investigator aggressively intimidated me and directly obstructed the evidence.

Instead of describing all the details and re-issuing the evidence, please visit the following hyperlinks.

According to analytics, more than 125,000 people have seen my Twitter essay that describes these events. The 82-post entry further addresses the media’s complicity and political negligence by all parties. It provides access to a synopsis of allegations, as well as the actual evidence. Please begin here:

 

(continued below…)

 

 

Although a number of government officials were alerted from provincial and federal levels, they did not respond. No one from the Liberal Party of Canada responded. The only response I did receive is the Ontario Provincial Police blocking my communication from this last avenue. I now cannot report in person, by phone, or online.

 

(continued below…)

 

 

I’m concerned this presents a rare example of a section 7 Charter breach, that is directly endangering children. My security of person has been revoked by the police and both levels of government. All children in the affected community have also lost their security of person, when each of you refuses to receive a report that affects them and the public safety. Police services are being entirely denied in the Nolan matter.

As stated in the allegation synopsis, I became aware of another girl who may be in danger from the Nolan situation. But due to political interference and a conflict-of-interest between the LPC and police detachment, a report was declined and her safety was never investigated.

All evidence concerning these allegations can be obtained through the Twitter essay or statement synopsis links. It’s important you read that preliminary context before jumping into the documents, text messages, and phone records.

The Liberal Party of Canada was further captured on video, obstructing the riding and parents from knowing about these criminal charges against our vice president. The LPC official can be heard saying he was ‘directed by the party’ to prevent anyone from discussing Nolan and that he would ‘fall on his sword’ to enforce this censorship, even if it was against the rules and a detriment to public safety. Moreover, the party obstructed Vulnerable Sector background checks from being implemented, to prevent alleged predators from gaining access to the party’s powerful software that can surveil women and children. Instead they took an aggressive stance against me, to silence the witness.

 

(continued below…)

 

 

Additional information was withheld from my evidentiary statement, because I believed I needed to protect the legal sensitivity of these issues. I believed my Twitter essay, or allegation synopsis, or the evidence itself, would lead to police and/or government and/or party contact, where I could disclose financial evidence confidentially.

Because everyone in the family compact obstructed this communication, I can only forewarn that more trouble may be coming and you need to demand records from the Simcoe-Grey Federal Liberal Riding Association (SGFLRA). While Nolan has been under house arrest and forbidden from the internet, it appears he may have gotten involved with selling forged Canadian passports online.

Nolan’s history with counterfeit documents allegedly begins in 2010, when complaints were lodged against him and his SuperiorFakeDegrees.com operation (see page 1 and note his full legal name is Jared Connor Nolan).

When Nolan became involved with hospital work he may have departed from the forgery business, for a time (see page 2 and notice no entries about Nolan).

But in 2017 when Nolan was under house arrest for child luring and child porn, the complaints against him resumed. One woman went so far as to publish an address and partial bank account number (see page 3 and note these fake passports and financial crimes are an international issue, involving the US and UK).

The most recent complaints indicate Nolan’s bail conditions may have been breached and his alleged criminal associates may extend beyond Canada. The riding association possesses more evidence to support this concern that arrived from the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), but the party is obstructing police from receiving it.

CIBC contacted the riding association to warn its account would be closed, if they didn’t remove Jared Nolan’s name from signing privileges immediately. He maintained these powers over party finances for much of his time under house arrest, further proving his executive access was never revoked by the LPC. Whether the party wished to remain associated with Nolan, it didn’t matter to the bank. They wouldn’t disclose their allegations, but they made it exceptionally clear they were prohibiting Nolan’s business through their establishment and anyone connected with him would see their accounts closed as well.

We now have a situation where a riding executive accused of child luring and child pornography may be connected to counterfeit passports and possibly human trafficking. But the police won’t pursue this evidence due to political interference and threats from Nolan’s colleague in the Liberal Party of Canada.

The only thing your part of the family wants to know is if I’m going to commence civil action; but it wasn’t me who was molested in this scenario and I can’t bankroll a Charter complaint against the police, the party, and two governments. The rest of your kin are just refusing to do their jobs and that includes the Attorneys General for Ontario and Canada. If you don’t intervene with an independent commission to investigate these conflicts now, you’ll end up being the one who wears it in the next divorce/election cycle.

At this point and frankly, you’re lucky I’m a staple inlaw who gets how all the moving parts work. You really need to stop ‘kicking me in the teeth’ for speaking up, because children are still in danger and it’s the Trudeau name presiding over it.

So you can stop imagining me as a militant femi-nazi, with some kind of flamethrower hidden in my lady parts, please listen to a 2-hour interview I recorded with a Canadian political podcast. The mainstream media might have blacked this out, but everyone else is still talking about Jared Nolan. I swear I’m not a mean or aggressive person and I’m not even loud. Just listen, before you form an opinion.

 

Regarding Luke Strimbold

 

As I tried to tell you and Katie, as well as the RCMP, the Luke Strimbold case from British Columbia is related to the Jared Nolan case in Ontario.

The Liberalist database is a national problem. I discuss it at length in the audio clip above, and it’s imperative the RCMP accepts this information. It’s also become imperative for the privacy commissioner to investigate and for you to take executive action.

This partisan software may be one of the most powerful surveillance operations in the country, even though it was intended for less intrusive political use. It works on mobile, updates in real-time, and contains especially sensitive personal data about women and children. It contains their contact information, work and school information, schedule of events, income, family relations, as well as everyone’s hopes and fears and character labels the party might have added, in their own opinion.

I accept this information was sought to be more effective with voters and more sensitive toward volunteers, but when you package that data together, it also creates a veritable victim profile. It would be the most effective way for a predator to track targets and one of the ironic applications within the Liberalist is called Quick Mark.

Can you please consider now how that translates to the criminally ill. As another Liberal riding executive, Luke Strimbold may have gained access to the same database as Jared Nolan. I’m told the software is shared between provincial and federal parties in Ontario. The RCMP will need to inquire if the same is true in BC, because technically speaking, that database can be used to identify gay teens in the click of a button. (A party tutorial for selecting ‘marks’ is included in the previous audio clip.)

 

Regarding Anna Gainey And The Liberalist

 

Surely you already knew that Anna Gainey was in a conflict-of-interest. Without campaigning for herself at the convention, she was elected as party president. Her husband, Tom Pitfield, is your childhood friend, and your families vacation together.

So you also knew that Tom manages the Liberalist database, and Anna promised to recuse herself from any issues between his business and the party. You knew there was a conflict-of-interest between the Liberalist operation and his think-tank, Canada2020. You knew there were incestuous overtones because several Liberal executives pulled double-duty for Anna and Tom. You even knew this involved a conflict between the Young Liberals of Canada and Tom’s data mining operation.

Then I informed you that Anna didn’t recuse herself from the dispute about police obstruction, the Liberalist, and the case of Jared Nolan. I warned the party her actions were leaving the LPC exposed to potential lawsuits, but you let that slide for your nearest and dearest. What can I say? I don’t even get a Christmas card and she gets to vacation with the Aga Khan. It just hurts that you’d do this to the rest of the family while you were all getting suntans:

 

(continued below…)

 

 

In related legal quagmires, you might not have realized the Liberalist is hosted in the United States and therefore it’s subject to the US Patriot Act. Technically speaking, President Trump can access this database to deny Canadians entry. The labels you append to constituent profiles (ie: environmental activist, marijuana activist, Idle No More activist, Black Lives Matter activist, union activist, LGBTQ2S, veteran, hostile, likely Conservative, likely NDP, likely Liberal, Indigenous, Islamic, Jewish, Christian, immigrant) can be obtained by just about anyone, including the US government. All you need to do is spend some time with the Liberalist manual (at bottom), or listen to my audio interview to get the picture. Only recently could we add concerns about Russian election interference.

Complicating this situation is the fact that the Liberalist is non-consensual. No one signs a waiver or receives terms of service when their information is uploaded to the database by party volunteers (like Jared Nolan or Luke Strimbold). Citizens have no idea what data you’re collecting when the party visits door-to-door or holds events. There is no ability for constituents or youth volunteers to challenge, correct, or suppress the data, because they don’t know this database exists. They don’t know their online petitions and surveys are compiled by the LPC to build a political-psyche profile. They also don’t know the party will give their profile to anyone who wants it, including criminals.

This is where we really fell out with one another. Given there is a real threat to children’s safety, I asked Anna to implement Vulnerable Sector background checks for those who access the data (see last document), but she denied it. That’s what led to the video I posted, where the party abused its power to block a motion for criminal clearance to operate the Liberalist database and mentor youth volunteers.

There is nothing in the world that could justify that obstruction. It was a no-brainer, to protect kids in a riding where the vice president is accused of making child pornography. You can love Tom and Anna all you please, but it doesn’t mean you have to condone what they did. The party actually intervened to preserve criminal access to women and children. There must be discipline. If you look away, I won’t forgive you.

Then there’s the matter of Elections Canada and its questionable relationship to the Liberalist database. While they’re keen to get with the times and join the digital revolution, they also have a murky privacy policy that’s decided on a case-by-case basis. That means there are no hard rules for privacy and what a party can do with everyone’s legal voter identification, voting history, and home address. No one is monitoring what happens with our information once it’s distributed, and Elections Canada hasn’t done a privacy risk assessment.

Essentially Elections Canada has allowed political parties to append psych profiles and real-time tracking to their legal voter registration files for every adult in the country. That data is then hardwired to robocalls that can be conducted by any volunteer with access to the Liberalist, even if they’re under house arrest for child pornography. That’s definitely a worst-case scenario, but these people are criminally charged and they’ve had access to these powerful tools.

This is a bitter pill to swallow and no one will take responsibility, or stop it from happening. The LPC created Liberalist and the Conservatives created CIMS, but no one established regulations to guide how the data could be manipulated. All anyone needs to do is join a local riding association to get their hands on it and they can do whatever they please.

Moreover, you will likely be in the same hot water as Cambridge Analytica. It was disheartening to see Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale spinning the information, as if Liberals have nothing to do with data mining or electoral privacy breaches. It was disingenuous in the utmost and he darn well knew it, as a user of the Liberalist software. He even knew the party’s data was breached to those charged with making child pornography, as a recipient of my evidentiary statement that was submitted last year.

You and Tom and Anna have sunk so low with this non-consensual surveillance of Canadians and Canadian children, that your behaviour is no different from Donald Trump anymore. I can only surmise that you’ve obstructed the criminal investigation into Jared Nolan because it would have uncovered these greater issues. The writing was always on the wall and the government’s attorney general may have brought disrepute to the justice system by quietly protecting this.

 

Regarding Christopher Ingvaldson

 

Chris is your ex-roommate from Vancouver that no one is allowed to talk about. His story is compelling to this pattern of sexual predators, but it’s also how you might have been infected with the Look Away Disease. I’m sorry we have to go there, but it’s necessary to wake you up and I say this from the bottom of my heart.

So your bestie from the west coast was a fellow teacher at private school. You shared what sounds like a rockin’ apartment and you were reported to be quite the ladies’ man. Althea Raj from the Huffington Post wrote a free e-book to promote your bid for leadership and she detailed these high times in BC. It seems you lived together, worked together, and partied together, with the accused.

But it appears Althea wasn’t aware of your roommate’s conviction for child pornography. When she was fawning about the popularity of your apartment, did she know that Chris pleaded guilty to exploiting children at your home and shared workplace? The details of his case were upsetting and included a breach of trust. It’s no wonder you didn’t want to talk about it, but you must. At least accept that you and I are experiencing the same feelings. You about Christopher Ingvaldson, and me about Jared Nolan.

In the world of Canadian politics someone always knows something and it likely didn’t help that Chris was pursuing a federal Liberal nomination. Had he not been caught by international law enforcement he might have gained access to the Liberalist database, just like Jared Nolan and Luke Strimbold.

They say one is an example, two is an anomaly, and three is a pattern.

In any event, your relationship with a pedophile put you on the defensive. According to blood-brother, Gerry Butts, your roommate was the impetus for Vic Toews’ famous C-51 assertion, that ‘you’re either with us or the child pornographers’. Your brother then used this media opportunity to threaten the other parties into silence about the indiscretion. This is a major symptom of the Look Away Disease, not to mention ethically disturbing from a journalism perspective. It’s even reminiscent of the silencing campaign that’s been unleashed to erase our memories of Jared Nolan.

These details are important because they actually relate to you and me and the loss of faith in Canadian media. What you probably didn’t know is that Althea played dirty to steal your story from me.

If you recall from my Twitter essay, I mentioned that I interviewed you in Midland, Ontario. What I didn’t bother to say is that our meeting went terribly. You weren’t allowing access to any reporters at the time and I used my connections with Rana Bokhari‘s brother and Maryanne Kampouris to talk you into letting your guard down. It was going to be the scoop of the year and I was so excited. They convinced you that I was trustworthy and determined to help the public get acquainted.

But Ezra Levant’s Sun News Network also attended the event. They were viciously harassing you and I had to be doubly vetted to ensure I wasn’t part of a set-up. When that was confirmed we retired to a protected area in the basement and I had you alone to pick your brain for a full hour. I asked question after question about various policies, and you responded with no comment every time. You were nervous and became agitated, insisting I was only supposed to speak with you about the local news.

There was little I could do to salvage the interview and the entire hour with you amounted to ‘no comment’. I felt terrible that Ezra’s hooligans really knocked you off your game and I believe one of them was accused of physically assaulting you. It’s not that you didn’t have my empathy and I tried making small talk to put you at ease before leaving. I had a first edition of your dad’s book, Two Innocents In Red China, and I had you autograph because I knew China would figure strongly in your political future.

But that didn’t quell your fears from an incredibly manic day and your kin were worried that I would represent you poorly. I believe it was Katie Telford who got in touch with the Huff Post, because that’s where I was slated to publish. I was sad that day that Ezra killed my opportunity, then pissed-right-off that Althea stabbed me in the back with it.

Ms. Raj informed your people that I wasn’t authorized to interview you on behalf of the Huffington Post – only she was. Althea was on staff and I was only a contributor. She had no authority over what I was allowed to publish though. I was accused of misrepresenting myself and I never did. It’s just that you were spooked and Althea let her envy become destructive.

So that’s how the Huffington Post became your publicist during the leadership campaign and how you got someone covering your story that didn’t know the first thing about you, to be cautious around Christopher Ingvaldson. Althea abused my trust and connections to get her foot through your door and the outcome was the difference between public relations and journalism. By the way, I wasn’t going to publish anything because it would have made me look bad for failing to get your answers. I chalked it up to a personal experience and bearing witness to the collapse of media ethics, all around.

 

Regarding Benjamin Levin

 

The example of Mr. Levin will serve as a bridge between us. You come from an affluent gated community, and I was raised by impoverished institutional confinement. We were both disconnected from the commonality that binds the middle together and had to find ways to relate for the purpose of acceptance.

Our shared cousin-in-law, Benjamin Levin, operated on both sides of the track. He was considered one of the world’s most esteemed educators and his longstanding career in the public service proved he could lead a double life through numerous government departments. He was the deputy minister of education for the Manitoba (NDP) and Ontario (Liberal) administrations.

He also preyed on the vulnerable, as a sadistic director of child sexual abuse and purveyor of child pornography. He sought to cause violent, incestuous harm to young girls and wipe the slate clean with his unimpeachable reputation.

His story is significant in a few ways, in that he wasn’t a partisan executive or political candidate, where anyone can apply and the backgrounds are random. He was integral to the establishment from inner ranks and he exploited the Look Away Disease within the aristocracy for decades. He ate from a silver spoon and was still driven to feed his hunger with the weakest women and children among us. Mr. Levin solidly proves that criminal illness isn’t confined by socio-economic class. This does happen in your circles and it often persists for longer, because the affluent introduced the Look Away Disease and they’re the most susceptible to it.

Another indicator of this phenomenon is the judge in Ben’s case. As a female justice from the same class, she actually wished the perpetrator good luck upon delivering the sentence. She also believed the daughters who denied being abused, even though their father bragged about raping them.

To me it says the justice system doesn’t understand sexual abuse and incest. Wishing the criminal ‘good luck’ is like hoping the affliction can be cured, without being honest about the problem and what compels the person to be a predator. The internet is often blamed for child pornography as an excuse for the silver spoons to understand. But people aren’t turned into predators because of what they saw online. It’s the other way around, as any victim of the crime could tell you. This material appears on the internet because the Look Away Disease permits it to flourish and it’s consumed by individuals are who were already ill.

Likewise, incest is a learned behaviour that nobody will admit. These victims (and victims-turned-predators) are the least likely to come forward because they’re desperately confused about loving the person who harmed them. It involves stealing someone’s innocence and the mentee will be confused about coming of age, how that happens, and what their role is supposed to be.

You’ve heard a lot of adult rape victims question what they might have done to cause the attack. We know that self-blame and victim-shaming are common responses to this domination and we work hard to correct those behaviours. Well, the dynamic between kids and parents makes that question difficult to resolve in the mind of a dependent child.

In part, this is why we must refer to the accused as criminally ill, because illness of the mind is the only way to describe that type of predation. It’s about more than power and control, that we understand to be the motivation for adult sex crimes and domestic violence. Preying on children, whether related or not, is complicated by romantic overtones that undulate between loving and discipline. This is why it’s so disgusting and why society looks away.

But when everyone averts their eyes it leaves the victim isolated with nowhere to turn for help. When they see society respond this way, they will question even harder if this is the way life really works. They’ll know the abuse is demoralizing, but the community’s consensus to ignore it will make them wonder if they’re defective. Through our actions and the Look Away Disease, we’re actually messaging to the children that they’re the ones not fitting in.

On the flip side, predators from the other side of the tracks are met with moral outrage, or no response at all. The family compact is loathe to waste its resources on the scourge beyond its gates. If you aren’t the establishment, or paying the establishment’s bills, whatever happens to your children was outside that social construct. It’s only when so-called low-lifes’ threaten kids from the aristocracy that everyone gets out the pitchforks and torches.

That too will harm the victims because it excessively vilifies the perpetrator. It’s excessively hard to say those words and yet I know them to be true, as well. It’s because the exploited child will have to absorb your anger and rejection. They’re the ones who remain in the community even after their predator goes to jail. They have to wear their predator’s illness as you will continue to look away from them, as if they are damaged goods.

I’m not a psychologist so I don’t know if the term already exists, but addressing child predators as criminally ill is the safest way we can support the victims. It allows them to see the predator as something different from their own identity. It helps them make peace with the confusion, knowing an illness is responsible for the violence perpetrated against them and that they couldn’t have done anything to deserve it. It says the community will not shun them because we know it’s not their fault. And in the case of family incest, it says they’re not broken for loving a parent who hurt them.

The ‘criminal’ part of criminal illness is equally important, because that tells child victims the abuse is wrong and they deserve to be protected from it. It’s one of few ways to empower children to come forward, because they don’t yet have the words to describe what they’re going through.

But at the end of the day all roads lead to the same place. Whether you seek to ignore or discipline with justice, you want this to happen quickly so everyone can go back to looking away. That brutalized little girl or boy will be left to navigate the rest of their life in isolation. It doesn’t matter if they came from a ghetto, a mansion, or a private school. They’ll wonder why you harboured their predator in silence. They’ll wonder why, if the crime was bad, that you only sentenced the attacker akin to a petty theft artist. They’ll wonder why destruction of their entire life was worth so little, and they won’t know where to look to begin the rebuilding process as a newly-minted social orphan.

Benjamin Levin is remarkable for occupying both hemispheres at the same time. He spanned through two political parties, two provinces, the global stage, and opposite socio-economic classes. As part of the Wynne transition team, it’s also possible he might have gained access to the Liberalist database.

 

Regarding Donald Phillip Jarvis

 

Here we go with the quid pro quo and why I have any right to speak about these matters. In my evidentiary statement about Jared Nolan, I indicated one day you might hear my own story. It’s not that I want to do this, but it’s the only thing I’ve got left to offer these kids some leadership. I’m confident in my identity and their immediate safety is worth it.

You’re probably feeling like I’ve beat the shit out of you in getting to this point, so I recognize that it is important to qualify where I’m coming from. I will bear my soul so you know my advocacy is not a ploy or a personal attack. You should also understand why I can’t Look Away from the Nolan case; because I am a witness, I’m made from this fabric, and potential victims are still in danger.

 

***Trigger warning***

 

My #MeToo story begins as young as I can remember.

My mom was adopted by an affluent family through the Children’s Aid Society. It was 1956 and the records stated that she was the product of an extra-marital affair with a prominent businessman. But before she hit adolescence, it became apparent that she suffered from extreme mental illness.

I was physically abused by my mom, born to her at the age of 18. I was whipped in the face with metal chains, hung by my ankles outside a third-storey window, kicked with boots, abandoned for stretches, and nearly every day a scalding teacup or teapot was smashed over my head. At 5-years-old she would make me stand on a chair to do the dishes and forcefully hold my arms in the pure hot water to toughen up my whiny-bitch-ass. I had to stay up all night to ensure she didn’t burn the apartment down in a drugged stupor, because she had a habit of burning all the blankets, pillows, and furniture. Every night of my young life, I was convinced it might be the last one.

Sometimes my mom would bring men home and sometimes she’d take off with them for days. One of the young men in our building would check in when she abandoned me, and I paid for his dinner-making services by letting him masturbate and ejaculate on me. I didn’t even know what sex was yet, or why he had different parts than me.

Life continued this way for some time. My grandparents loved me and I can tell you now, they struggled with the guilt of raising her into what she had become. When they learned I was being left alone they tried to make sure I had quarters for a payphone, to use in an emergency. They bought us much of what we needed, but they had no idea about what to do with my mom’s escalating mental illness. They would take me for extended visits as long as they were allowed, but my mom was also brutally intelligent. She knew how to manipulate the legal system and if she decided to keep me prisoner, I wouldn’t be visiting anyone. If she was in a violent mania, she would also resort to breaking everything in my grandparent’s house and threatening them with weapons. On the good days, she’d be willing to check herself into the hospital for a ‘nervous breakdown’.

Much of the time I wasn’t allowed to attend school. I missed half the grade in most elementary years. She would lock me in with barricades so I couldn’t run away and demanded it was my job to take care of her. I loved her and I still do (RIP), but I was petrified on a daily basis and her illness was so severe that it warranted institutionalization. She was a beautiful woman though, who screwed her way out of a lot of difficult predicaments. A few of those bedfellows were cops.

For a time she worked hard at getting better and she went to college for social work. I was also a smart child and in the bizarre 1980’s, she would take me to classes with her. Deep inside my mom was a beautiful heart that wanted desperately to learn how to fix herself. Hours after beating me she would often break down crying and apologize profusely. It wasn’t a show. I knew she hated herself for being ill.

I found it odd that I wasn’t allowed to attend my school, but I was allowed to attend college to help with hers. I would help my mom take notes when she’d relapse and I have no idea what she told the professor to make it kosher. In her dystopian way of making up for the abuse, she would tell me I was too smart to attend public school.

In these young years I became acquainted with the Look Away Disease. Her professor looked away, her classmates looked away, and so did every phys-ed teacher I ever had. I couldn’t participate in gym for most of elementary school because I was covered in bruises up my front and backside. My mom explained my absences from school and inability to participate, were due to debilitating headaches (I never had) as a child. The education system believed that I missed half years and couldn’t kick a soccer ball because I was sick. They were comfortable enough to look away, because I still sailed through as an A+ student.

So I discovered the disease in my classroom first and then I began to see it everywhere. We’d be stopped at an intersection for a red light and she’d beat me in the face because I complained about having to light her cigarettes. The jackasses in the vehicles beside us would actually look away. All the men she dated would look away. The cops would eventually stop sleeping with her when they discovered she was a nightmare and they would look away by actually going away. Everywhere we lived, our neighbours would look away. I went to 15 different schools by the time I was 15-years-old and entire school boards would look away. I began to hate all the people who would look away. Sometimes I would grieve their ignorance, but mostly I was angry with the cowardice.

My mom often dated strangers from newspaper ads and by the time I was 10-years-old, she met Donald Phillip Jarvis. He was twenty years older and we moved into his place in Hamilton. I’ve lived in nearly every city and mid-sized town in the Niagara Region growing up and this was another transplant.

Eighty-eight Tunbridge Crescent. I will never forget that place and it makes me sick to say it. But if I thought my life was frightening before, I was about to get a re-education. Unspeakable horrors happened there. I’ll do my best to recap this without too many details. I swear I’ve never seen a horror movie that came close to resembling my own life yet.

Donald (he went by Don but I can’t bring myself to call him that), was as criminally ill as it gets. He had a fake minister’s degree from the Universal Life Church in California and he was intent on brainwashing my mother. He got her pregnant right away and took away her psych meds. He wouldn’t let me see my grandparents and forbade any outside contact. He kept repeating like torture that he was her biological father and my mom was now pregnant with an incest baby. Her mental health went into the worst tailspin imaginable. (Just to be clear, this wasn’t true and he was psychologically abusing my mom with her worst fear because she was adopted.)

In the meantime he was grooming me to service his sexual needs when my mom was too out-of-her-mind to do it. He would take me to dingy motel taverns and feed me pickled herring with red wine. It was part of his disgusting mentorship to help me grow up and be a woman. By the way, the waitresses always looked away.

Donald also got me familiarized with the ginormous video camera (circa 1985 complete with tripod). At first I didn’t understand why it was always pointed at the bed and I wish I never had to learn that answer. Some nights the house was in chaos with blood flying from domestic knife fights, and some nights it was quiet when I appeased him.

Donald liked to masturbate on me and at least I was familiar with that, from the other guy at the apartment. But what he wanted most was fellatio and he would jam my head down on his penis until I was choking and the tears poured from my eyes. I would get in trouble for being useless if I didn’t do it right and sometimes food was withheld for days as punishment. I could never do that part right because the smell of his ejaculate always made me severely nauseous. Sometimes that meant choking me harder and sometimes he would let me off with a hand-job, but all of this was done on camera. Once he introduced something worse but I don’t want to talk about it.

There were a handful of occasions that we visited his friend, Terry. I didn’t like it there either. Terry was part of the child pornography scheme and once I had to pleasure him too. I was still 10-years-old at this point and I hadn’t begun menstruating.

Back at home my mom was melting down and I was trying to save her life. She tried to kill herself once a week at the very least. Christmas was the absolute worst though. It is permanently imprinted on my memory.

It was in the kitchen where my mom grabbed a butcher knife and raised it over her head, with the other arm extended and the intent to chop it off. I was right in front of her crying and pleading not to do it. My knees were shaking. My whole body was shaking. And I was hesitating with trying to grab the knife because she might cut off my arm in the scuffle.

I let her down and I chose myself over my mom for the very first time that day. It felt like slow-mo and replays in my mind with a frame-by-frame type of n-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o effect. The knife came down and went straight through her wrist. It sliced to the bone and her hand was dangling from her body. The blood splattered everywhere, even on me, and she dropped to the ground where it began pooling.

It’s the most violent act I’ve ever had to witness and I pray you never do. The moment I could recover my senses I ran for the telephone to call 911. I’m getting a lump in my throat just writing this and things were about to get worse. My mom was four months pregnant.

Donald ripped the phone out of the wall and ran for the one upstairs so I couldn’t use it either. He said the hospital would take the baby away if I called for help and I would never see my mom again if I turned her in. I didn’t want to be stuck with him alone for the rest of my miserable existence.

He made me help him carry Mom upstairs and lay her on the bed where we normally filmed the pornography. I was told to grab the sewing kit and various things like towels. He did exactly what you’re thinking and I had to soothe her through the makeshift surgery. That fucker, pardon my language, sewed my mom up with a needle and thread. The carpet was ruined from all the blood she lost and I didn’t know if she’d make it through the night. I nursed her as best I could and kept swabbing the wound.

Thankfully she made it and I stayed by her side through the rest of the entire pregnancy. I felt so guilty like this was my fault, because I didn’t grab the knife away. It was always my job to save her life and I did it a hundred times before. Why did I have to decide this time that I didn’t want to get hurt too?

Through the next months Donald regularly drugged my mom. Keeping her asleep until she had the baby was his way of keeping her alive. We spent a lot of time together and he worked extra hard in an effort to brainwash me too. He wanted me to believe that he was my biological grandfather and mom’s adoptive parents stole her away. In retrospect, I would have to say that I sunk into a depression.

We had a copy of the movie Splash and I re-watched it every day. I didn’t feel pretty like the mermaid, but I could sure relate to being held captive like an animal. I would hide with my movie and I would hide sometimes in the basement. But Donald was truly mean and he recorded abusing me over top of that flick. I found he did that to all the movies I watched, so when I put them in the VCR it was me staring back instead.

You should probably take a break here to preserve your emotions because the nightmare isn’t done yet. Grab a cup of tea and take a few breaths. At least that’s what I do.

My brother was born at the end of May and my mom basically had to run away from the hospital with him. They were trying to keep her for psych evaluation and she broke out in a hysterical fit. We hid for a while at Terry’s house and sometime in that period, my mom and Donald attended my grandparents to hold them up at gunpoint. They paid $25,000 to buy our safety. This was also the first time I heard about a gun.

This was the first time Grandma and Grandpa got the nerve to call the police as well. A restraining order was placed against my mom and Donald, but it didn’t matter because they departed out west with the money. They left me at Donald’s house with my baby brother and I was barely 11-years-old. I didn’t know they were abandoning us when it happened. They just never returned from an errand.

After a few days of no one coming home and not knowing what to do with this baby, I called my grandparents because I decided it was an emergency. I had no more formula and there was no food for me. They came and got us right away.

It must have been a year since I’d seen them and they just endured a home invasion. Grandma had my mother located through the Alberta police and offered to pay for a trip back. My mom refused to return and said she didn’t want us anymore, so we floated through the summer tentatively.

When September arrived everyone hoped she would be better and my grandparents demanded that I attend school. They told Mom if she didn’t come back we would have to go into foster care. They were too old to be able to raise children and I had to take the baby to school for the first couple weeks of class. It was a tiny town where Grandpa built the schoolhouse and the principal didn’t want to call Children’s Aid on a prominent family in the community. I was warned they would have no choice if I continued to bring my brother to class. The teachers tried to show me how to care for him and do delicate things like wipe his ears. I always felt stupid when they needed to correct me because it was my job to keep him alive.

Please take note that in that example there was complicity in looking away. We all did it together, totally motivated by fear and shame.

The threat of Children’s Aid was enough to get Mom home, but she also returned with Donald. They arrived at my grandparents and Mom smashed every dish in the cupboards. She was going to smash the Royal Doultons if they didn’t hand us over and Donald said he had the gun with him. A taxi was waiting to take the four of us (Donald, Mom, me and my brother) and my grandparents called the police as we were whisked away.

I didn’t know where we were going and I was scared as hell. I had to keep the baby from crying so no one would get more agitated and eventually we arrived at the Husky Truck Stop between St. Catharines and Niagara Falls. We lived in one of the decrepit rooms with cockroaches and prostitutes for the next few months. It was possibly the worst part of my existence.

My mom and Donald were more mentally unstable than ever before. And I was now menstruating, so the type of abuse expanded. My mom would be passed out from drugs on the bed beside me, with him on top piercing through me with ice-cold frenzied eyes. The baby was screaming in a carrier on the floor. I’d lock myself in the bathroom for as long as I could, but there wasn’t even running water in the tub to clean myself up afterward. These rooms weren’t meant for renting and Donald earned our keep by helping in the greasy spoon restaurant.

We didn’t have much food and mostly survived on cans of tuna. You could never make me eat it again. There was one day a prostitute taught me how to look for better leftovers in the restaurant garbage and I was so grateful to her. It was the first bit of kindness I’d received in a while and she managed to lift my spirits. I’m sincerely not disparaging working women when I speak about them. They are my sisters-in-law and they tried to save my life when no one else would. They were the first people I met who didn’t look away.

I would have to return to that hellhole of a room again and it had plenty more experiences. I will only describe two more of these events to assist with your awakening. The first is my introduction to the gun. I finally saw it and it was a silver handgun that was viciously jammed in me sexually. You do not know a fear like that and nobody ever should.

My mom was also beating me off and on, because she was so out-of-it that she thought I was trying to steal her husband. It’s like an animal that will eat its young. Some mental illnesses can be so depraved that they steal the soul of the person you love. They gave her many different diagnoses, but all anyone tried to do was put her to sleep. All the while a teething, hungry baby was wailing in the foreground. I think I might have been grieving for all of us.

To explain the amount of fear being wielded, I never hit my mom back. All I could do was cower and I was so on-edge that I’d flinch whenever someone raised their hand. I wasn’t as bad as Reek from Game of Thrones, but it wasn’t far off. It took a number of years for me to recover from that reflex.

My last story at the Husky Truck Stop is the one that would set another series of events in motion. I had to go to the hospital for an injury to my vagina. It required medical attention and couldn’t be ignored. I was examined, treated, medicated, and released, but I believe a doctor from L’Hotel Dieu Hospital must have called the Children’s Aid. I thank them, if they did.

A social worker showed up at the truck stop and asked to check on our welfare. My mom and Donald blocked the door and wouldn’t let her in. She settled for being able to peek at us through the door, as I stood holding the baby several feet away. It ended with an order that they had to find permanent housing for us within a short time, or CAS would apprehend.

I got a thorough beating for that because it was my fault the Children’s Aid came. But they went to a welfare office and got some money for rent. We then moved to a farmhouse on Hwy. 55 in Virgil. And things didn’t get any better there.

Donald met up with his friend Terry from Hamilton, to get a new video camera. The only peace I had to myself was the 5am news with the fellas from Buffalo and Rochester (RIP Irv Weinstein). That’s when I became a newshound, because it saved my sanity to examine problems larger than my own, protected by a sliver on the clock when no one could put their hands on me.

When I say that I wasn’t allowed out, what I mean is every knife in the house was jammed around the door frame for extra barricades. That way if either of them fell asleep, it would take me too long to rip them all out and cause me to make a bunch of noise. Kind of like a boobie trap that should impress upon you visually, to ensure I wouldn’t run away.

The violence got so bad at this place that Donald beat my mother up and she called for police assistance. He kidnapped me and ran out the door, to be AWOL if an officer came. He was dragging me while running through the farm fields and eventually we stopped at someone’s house. It didn’t look like they were home and they had a thick row of hedges under their bay window. Donald took me into those bushes and made me give him a hand-job, because he was titillated by the violence and drama. It always felt terrible being abused, but this time made me feel especially weird. Lately it seemed like he was escalating.

And sure enough he was, because after we went home, he handcuffed my mom to a pole in the basement. He threatened her with the gun. And I had to play the role of his wife while my mom was incapacitated. That included tending to my baby brother, who was really cranky from drug withdrawal because sometimes they dosed his bottles to make him sleep. They rotted all his new teeth.

Videos were made in Virgil too. I have to live the rest of my life not knowing if that material is still out there. I didn’t want to replace my mother’s job because my role was bad enough. I would sneak to the basement to feed her and bring cigarettes. But she hated my guts when she was held captive because she blamed me for not setting her free. (I fear for kids who are exploited today. I’m almost lucky that I only have to worry about VHS tapes, when now there is the world wide web.)

One day in captivity, my mom requested a pen and paper. I always had to wait for Donald to fall asleep to bring her anything. I’m pretty sure he would have left her there to die. So I did my loyal duty and retrieved the supplies, as my mom scratched a rambling SOS about torture, a gun, and being held prisoner. She ordered me to run down the highway to the school and give it to the principal.

I didn’t know if I could do that, even though I knew it needed to be done. If Donald caught me, I would be locked up just like her and there would be no one able to feed the baby. Donald never touched the baby. He would have been happy to throw him in the river. I swear to god that kid wouldn’t be alive if I didn’t sell my soul to the devil.

Whatever my experiences might have been before, it was this day that I came to know courage. I couldn’t let Mom down, not again, like I did the time she nearly cut her hand off. They say bravery isn’t the absence of fear, but rather the triumph over it, and off I went down the shoulder of the highway, unable to breathe with my feet still moving anyway.

That run down the highway was another slow-mo scene, like I was trying to get away through quicksand. I was scared his hand would grab me from behind and I kept looking over my shoulder on the journey. It was a few miles that normally required a bus and a lot of opportunity for Donald to catch me.

When I got to the school that I hardly attended, I ran straight into the office and nearly threw Mom’s letter at the secretary. I pleaded with them to please help. They got a paper bag to calm me down from hyperventilating and I sat in a chair waiting, as everyone stared at me like an alien.

I know my mom’s letter requested police assistance but I never saw an officer once. Instead the school called the Children’s Aid Society and a social worker arrived swiftly to apprehend me. I babbled on and on about my mom and baby brother. They couldn’t take just me away and my brother could die if no one checked on him.

I was still just 11-years-old and I don’t know what happened to everyone else. I only know that I was placed in foster care and my brother wasn’t removed from the home. My mom was ordered to ensure Donald didn’t attend the property and once she proved that was done (I assume by restraining order), I would be allowed to return. To the best of my understanding, Donald was never criminally charged for forcibly confining my mother, or the gun. This would have been 1986, when police minimized domestic violence even more than they do today.

 

Regarding Foster Care

 

The Donald narrative continues throughout my story in foster care. I spent 3 months in the emergency placement and I was returned to my mother’s care. In that time with foster parents no one ever asked if I was abused. I hid in my bedroom for the entire stay. I basically didn’t talk for those three months and nobody tried to engage me. I was confused why the agency would return me, without knowing my mom beat the bloody hell out of me. In this way the child welfare system also looked away.

I was supposed to be going home to a house with no Donald, but sure enough that monster was there and my mom lied to the authorities. It’s not that I hold my mom responsible and without a doubt he was still threatening us. But the point I’m making is the police looked away and we had to do a midnight move to harbour the person who was torturing us.

Off we went to a townhouse in St. Catharines in the middle of the night. I stayed with them for a couple months, but my mom’s mental health was still deteriorating and Donald didn’t change his ways either. I couldn’t take it anymore and I felt like I would die if I stayed there.

One day my mom was beating me with shoes, a lamp, and anything else she could find. She cut up any nice clothes my grandparents gave me and made me watch because I didn’t deserve gifts. It was when she wouldn’t stop beating me in the head that I was afraid she would knock me unconscious. In a split second that felt like an hour, I contemplated leaving my little brother. The guilt was paralyzing because I honestly believed that if I abandoned him he could die.

But the metal base of the lamp was bashing me so hard that I knew if I didn’t live, I couldn’t save him either. In my second act of bravery that felt more like treason, I bolted for the patio doors to run away. I went straight to a neighbour’s house and asked them to call the Children’s Aid. Although my first stint in foster care didn’t do anything to resolve the situation, at least I got to know what it was like to be unharmed for a while. That’s what I always thought life should be like and I ran toward it with the intention of pulling my baby brother to safety too.

That was one of the hardest things I ever did because for all intents and purposes, I was my brother’s figurative parent. I would go through years of psychological counseling in my teens to deal with the guilt of abandoning him. I believed if I talked to social workers to explain the abuse, they would have to apprehend him as well. But due to complications between social education, misogyny, prejudice, access to justice, and conflicting enforcement, that isn’t how everything went down.

A social worker came to retrieve me from the neighbour and I was placed in another foster home. My mom refused to relinquish my clothes and personal belongings, so I arrived with only the shirt on my back and no shoes. I was legally categorized as signing myself into care and the agency grabbed me a $5 pair of Keds. The senior citizen foster lady loaned me some of her clothes for the time being. If I wanted my brother apprehended, I would have to file a complaint to open an investigation that was independent of my circumstances.

So my mom was investigated but my brother wasn’t removed. He didn’t have bruises when they attended and the agency vowed that she broke up with Donald. Mom then denied me any visits with my brother while I was in foster care, in retribution. I was devastated and had to learn that CAS required physical evidence to apprehend a baby. My report and our family’s clashes with the law would not be enough to stand up in court. They needed bruises.

Despite looking away from my brother, it became clear that I would need to become a Crown Ward and my stay in foster care wouldn’t be temporary. I’m skipping a lot of details for the sake of brevity, but many events happened in this time frame. Eventually I was allowed to visit at home, but one of those times my mom kept me prisoner. There was another episode with knives, a cracked skull, and police intervention. Another time I was locked on a balcony in the winter and I had to scream for help. My mom also had a habit of threatening the foster parents with violence. She refused to attend court-ordered counseling too.

The procedure began for you to adopt me into the government family. I was assessed by doctors and psychologists and moved around various foster homes, because there was a bed shortage epidemic and they only had emergency placements. That problem persists still today, for kids to find a forever home. I could write a whole book about what it’s like to live as a stranger in somebody else’s home. Some of the homes don’t even like kids and they do it for free domestic labour. Some of them don’t let you eat dinner at the same table with their family. I’ve heard there are good homes and I’m happy for the kids who find them, but I wasn’t one of the lucky ones. Not many people will accept teenagers for permanent placements.

This precarious situation with foster homes led to a stint with couch-surfing. At 13-years-old I spent a bit of time on the streets and I spent the odd night in a stairwell. This would be the next stage of losing my innocence, if I had any left by now.

You see, couch-surfing isn’t just a set of words that appear in reports about poverty. It has unspoken street rules and a rate of billing, especially for females. On the street, the female body is a currency. And if the couch belongs to a male, you have to pay with sex to be allowed to stay. If the food is provided by a male, the cost is sex to partake. Nothing in life is free, even in the ghetto. They just have alternate forms of free trade.

In the meantime I received my psychological assessment from CAS. The interesting thing about being a foster kid, is it launches you into immediate adulthood. Your autonomy is granted and that’s a great thing, but it also has no protective filters for children. You become the owner of all your data. You become the primary entity for consent. You become the ultimate director of your own plan of care. You get a lawyer to consult with alone, and devise your own legal strategy. Basically you become responsible for yourself, while living at a stranger’s house and earning your keep. You also get to analyze legal and psych reports without any real guidance.

I never told the psychologist about the sexual abuse. I didn’t have those words yet and everyone kept insisting that Donald was out of the picture. They only sought information about my mom for the court case to revoke her custody. Interestingly, my psych evaluation still had strong sexual overtones and I had to absorb the blow from this truth hammer all alone.

The assessment was done when I was still 12-years-old, soon after I went into care. By the time we were going to court to finalize my Crown Wardship, I was 13-years-old and all the paperwork was given to me as a party to the application. It said my EQ (emotional intelligence) was equivalent to a 30-year-old. In the dysfunctional family unit, I’m the ‘fixer’. I was my mother’s emotional crutch and we had an inappropriate relationship with no boundaries. I was at risk of self harm. It also said that in my teens I would have multiple sex partners. I was staring at papers that predicted I’d be a slut, shortly before I was due to talk with the judge. I guess it hurt so much because I wondered if they made me sick and I didn’t know how to fix it. Part of being autonomous means learning the system and how to help yourself, even if you’re a kid.

On the day of the hearing, I would know bravery a third time. My mom took me to the bathroom alone, right before we were called, to threaten that she’d kill herself if I went through with it. She said my brother would be alone and crawling over her rotting body if I did this to both of them. It was a significant threat, because the last time I visited her house she also tried to kill herself and I had to fight to get the pills and razor blades from her hands. I also had to keep my brother from swallowing what she spilled.

We entered the courtroom and my social worker sat with me. My knees were shaking like Mexican jumping beans and the thoughts were racing through my mind. I was accused of being a future slut. I was accused of being a future murderer (cause of Mom’s death). I was accused of abandoning my brother, who I loved more than anyone.

The lawyers spoke and it was my turn to stand up. The judge asked if this is what I want, and I said yes.

I couldn’t look at my mom after I did this. We both cried and I was petrified she might jump off the roof of the building. Not in an internet joking kind of way, but for real. The courthouse has Plexiglas barriers because many distraught parents have tried it before. The last time I chose my safety over hers, my mom cut off her hand. She was never able to use it again, even after proper surgeries. I just knew in that moment that I needed to leave to save my own life and maybe I was beginning to develop cynicism.

I was absolutely determined to keep my brother safe, even though the law is callous and no one was listening. At that point in our societal development it was considered impossible to prove emotional abuse in court and its detrimental effect on toddlers. Until I could prove my mom was beating him like she did to me, there were no grounds to move on. I also couldn’t prove she was drugging him sometimes, because a child’s word isn’t good enough to subpoena blood tests.

I stayed in touch with my mom for the sake of my brother. I endured her killing my pets, wishing I was dead, hitting me on visits, stealing what little I had, ruining all my special days, and getting me kicked out of foster homes for threatening to maim my keepers. I kept persevering until I could get the necessary evidence.

As that part of my life was developing I was moved into a group home. It was the only place with an open bed and they bent the rules to put me there. I was 13-years-old and you’re supposed to be at least 15-years-old, to live in a facility that was meant to prepare girls for independent living upon exiting care. I roomed with Indigenous girls, recovering teen prostitutes, the odd drug addict, and a few more like me, but older.

There was one day the house was locked because my home visit was cut short and the foster parents were away when I needed to return early. I waited on the doorstep for hours with no luck, until I saw a few of the other girls passing by. They said we couldn’t get in until later that night and they offered to take me with them.

We landed at a motel party with a room full of men in their twenties. The girls knew them and this is where they were getting a drug hookup. They wanted to stay and party, and they tried to get me to do cocaine. I was afraid and declined, but I relented to drinking beer so I wasn’t such a stick-in-the-mud. I had never consumed alcohol before and everyone thought it was funny to get a 13-year-old drunk for the first time.

The girls were making out with some of the guys and everyone chanted when the others took my clothes off. I was placed in the jacuzzi with Darryl and even though I was afraid, I said I didn’t want to do this. He berated me and called me a ‘little bitch’. Then he grabbed me by the back of the head and jammed my face down on his penis. Water from the jacuzzi was going up my nose and I started choking because I couldn’t breathe. He didn’t care though. He just kept pushing.

Then there was a pounding on the door and our foster mom arrived with the police. They busted in and she grabbed me out of the hottub. She dressed me in the bathroom and I was immediately taken to do a rape kit. That examination was demoralizing and they wouldn’t believe that I didn’t have sexual intercourse. They even checked my anus to see if anything happened. I didn’t have a support person with me and I went through that alone.

I had to testify in court and Darryl was convicted for sexual assault on a minor. I would be kicked out of the foster home if I didn’t press charges and it was thoroughly embarrassing for a 13-year-old to describe sexual violation to a courtroom of strangers, with the accused staring right at me. The other girls were mad at me for being underage, like that was the problem. But Darryl was their friend and I was some little girl who wasn’t supposed to be there.

My double identity would also come to haunt me in this rough-and-tumble group home. Part of me was from the deranged ghetto just like them, but part of me came from an affluent adoptive family too.

I was placed in a program for gifted students that didn’t interact with the general population. I mentored under a member of parliament during an election campaign, and I interned with a lawyer through a different government program to advance my studies. I was going to school to be a lawyer, and I was luckier than some of the kids to have any family to visit.

Sometimes I was invited to Toronto for special occasions. My Great Aunt was the merchandise buyer for Hudson’s Bay. Her husband was a senior executive at Levi’s Canada. Another uncle had a huge stake in Petro Canada. Another was part owner of the Royal York Hotel and Clifton Hill. A different aunt lived on a luxury yacht in the Toronto harbour. My grandma was one of those ‘old stock Canadians’ with ‘old money’ that’s always surrounded you.

I’ve had to receive lessons in etiquette before attending a Christmas party on Bridle Path. I had no idea what that meant when I was young, but mom’s adoptive family was fascinated with my intelligence and they liked to show me off like a humanitarian token. When I was in their favour they would gift me expensive jewelry and as soon as I got back to foster care, it’d be stolen. The nice clothes were stolen. The rings were stolen. The fancy wool blankets were stolen. The strand of pearls to make me presentable was stolen. The porcelain dolls were stolen.

The disparity in my identity was nearly surreal and made it difficult to go from one extreme to the other. Once my treasures from the out-of-touch philanthropic community were stolen at knife point by another foster kid. That Indigenous girl hated my white-privilege guts, and really, who could blame her? Her parents locked her in a closet and tried to burn the house down. No matter my suffering, I still had more than she did.

With much love to another struggling sister-in-law, the knife point issue was too intense and I asked to be moved to another home. I didn’t become a Crown Ward and leave my brother to repeat the same lifestyle in protective care. I was already scarred by rape and butchering. But I was informed there was nothing available and I would have to move out on my own. The problem is you need to be sixteen and I had a handful of months to go.

It’s important that I explain I don’t hate the Children’s Aid. I could write another book regarding the conflicts in legislation, political agendas, and lack of government understanding, that have contributed to make child welfare dysfunctional. I had the best social worker on earth and this agency saved my life. I had access to amazing educational opportunities and this is the place that helped me find my voice. But I only got to see my worker for one hour every month (12 hours per year), and the only reason good enough to place a child in care is if it’s absolutely required to save a life. When you place a bunch of abused kids together, it creates an institutional effect that is hardly different from prison. And goodness knows the foster parents aren’t trained to deal with it.

So, I went to live with my boyfriend’s sister at the age of fifteen. It was a stop-gap approved by CAS until I was old enough for independent living. There’s a reason my story is dragging on and I need you to trust there’s a relevant point to it.

At 16-years-old I moved into my first apartment, on $350 per month. The Children’s Aid paid even less than welfare for kids who didn’t live in foster homes. It wasn’t enough to buy any groceries after the rent was covered, and although I had my own place, it still resembled couch-surfing. I was made dependent on the community to support me and this is a huge but deliberate flaw in the government’s austerity funding model.

I slept with one fellow who was ten years older than me, to get protection from the local junkies. I could only afford to live in the cheapest part of Port Colborne, in the tavern district where the rowdiness happens. They would hide in my basement hallway to shoot up and the one guy was eventually charged with murder. A young, abused girl gives off the scent of prey and it was my lifelong mission to find safety. At this point in my development, I became fairly disassociated from my body as just the vessel that had to carry me in it.

I had to sleep with another guy for dinners. Another with a car who could drive me to appointments out of town. Another was in trade for telephone service. Another to find a place in this new social hierarchy. In a nutshell, I was making the psych evaluation true and I hated myself for not being able to prove them wrong. But it was either that or starve, and there was nowhere to go for help. I went on a waiting list for subsidized housing but I was looking at a 2-year backlog. I asked CAS for a counselor to help me transition, and that was a yearlong waiting list as well.

In the meantime my mom went into another tailspin and I began smoking to cope with my existence. At 16-years-old I was drinking in the bars. There was no one to watch over me. But I still had to watch over my little brother and that’s when I got the physical evidence. She started beating him like she did to me and the kid had a bruised face from being kicked with cowboy boots. She face-stomped him… and CAS finally apprehended.

My brother was placed at an institution to assist with all his learning disabilities and trauma. The drugs he ingested in utero and as a baby had a significant impact on his development. They put him on a lot of medication (no comment). I on the other hand had earned a scholarship and I was determined to build a better life for us with it.

At 17-years-old and still with CAS, I cohabitated with a steady boyfriend to pool our resources. He was a few years older and an NRA type. He was a licensed gun collector and we had many of them in our apartment. A rocket launcher, 50 caliber Desert Eagle, 44 Smith and Wesson, 357 Magnum, Luger 9mm, a few more handguns, and nearly every size of rifle going. This wasn’t exactly okay by the rules, but CAS had a policy of don’t-ask-don’t-tell, for kids to survive the lack of funding and foster homes. And I, as a silly young girl, thought this made me safer than living with junkies in my hallway and trading sex for dinner.

On February 3, 1993, I was accidentally shot with the 357 Magnum. The bullet went through my left shoulder at point-blank range and I happen to be a southpaw. The gun was being passed from one person to another and it had a hair-trigger. No one was charged, but I was in the intensive care unit.

When I got out of the hospital the people who were present as I got shot took me out drinking to celebrate my recovery. On February 26, 1993, I didn’t make it home. I was in a car accident due to a drunk driver (who also didn’t have insurance) and I had to be airlifted to a trauma hospital on life support. They lost me a few times. I wasn’t supposed to make it and they were planning for my funeral.

But I fought my way back from a coma a month later, with six blood transfusions, completely shattered arms, a broken neck, skull fractures, hematomas, neurological damage from the waist up, and my back destroyed. One of Mom’s former husbands got me a lawyer (she married 7 times) because CAS didn’t represent my legal interests and the accident left me permanently disabled. I had to spend my eighteenth year learning how to use my arms again and giving depositions. I became an adult by dying temporarily twice in the same month, under the care of protective services. There wasn’t even a foster home to care for me as an invalid and nurses came to my apartment each day to help me recover alone.

It took five years of physical therapy to get functional enough to return to school. I lost my scholarship and couldn’t handle the workload for law anymore, so I was re-adjusted to journalism. I interned with the Mayor of Welland as a public relations specialist and I became a foster parent to my brother, because he kept running away from everywhere. I became a mom, and ceased contact with my own mother to protect my baby. One way or another, I had to break the cycle.

This fall from grace was too much for my mom’s adoptive family and to summarize a complex chapter, we’ll say they un-adopted us. It was a super-deluxe case of the Look Away Disease and after my grandparents passed away, we didn’t have anyone. Ultimately we were raised by a village.

I’ve chosen to tell you my story because it’s the human face of child pornography, that usually gets tucked into a sanitized soundbite for fragile ears. You see it as an unfortunate event that passes after a newscast, but the repercussions are society-wide and last a lifetime for more than the victim. It’s not merely a line in an article like the Jared Nolan story and you need to take that situation seriously.

I speak because the children aren’t allowed to, and you never hear about the damage from their perspective. All you can do is imagine what it must be like and no one spends time daydreaming about the effects of child pornography. While publication bans are necessary to protect exploited kids, they have the unintended consequence of advancing the Look Away Disease. When you look away, you perpetuate more abuse and you need to understand the consequence of your actions for these children.

 

Regarding Prosecutorial Discretion

 

The recent Colten Boushie case opened your eyes to an issue with peremptory challenges in jury selection, but I need to draw your attention to another problem that may be even greater, regarding prosecutorial discretion. Both these factors are impacting our access to justice.

At 19-years-old in 1994, I attended the Niagara Regional Police detachment in St. Catharines. There came a day when I was finally brave enough to find my words. They say foster kids have a 50/50 chance of repeating the abuse, or becoming the opposite to break the cycle. They don’t know what causes victims to go one way or the other and I was doing everything possible to turn a new page. I didn’t like wearing the abuse as my identity and I needed to create my own future without any of the predators in it. Plus I was starting to feel responsible to keep other children safe. If Donald Phillip Jarvis was allowed to roam free, I knew he couldn’t control himself.

The Niagara officers were nice enough, as I gave a preliminary report about his sexual abuse. They were prepared to lay charges and have me detail a sworn statement, but the meeting was adjourned so they could consult with the crown attorney because I didn’t know where the perpetrator was located anymore.

When we reconvened I was educated about prosecutorial discretion. They were very sorry but the crown attorney’s office didn’t feel it was in the public interest to pursue this. I was provided with faxes from Alberta media and the justice department, to detail that he was already sentenced.

A couple of years before I came forward, it seems his biological daughters from his other family made similar allegations. Donald operated between Alberta and Ontario claiming victims wherever he went, and by the time he got to me it appears his deviant behaviour had escalated. None of their claims addressed child pornography. But they were depraved examples that warranted a sentencing precedent.

Donald received 16 years in prison for what he did to them. It was the longest sentence ever given to a child predator at the time. This is why the crown attorney denied my case, because he didn’t believe the government could justify spending thousands of dollars to transport the accused between provinces to stand trial again. They believed any sentencing for crimes against me would be less than the time he already had and therefore there was no purpose. The police consoled me by saying that I would get my justice through karma, because Donald would likely get beaten by inmates, or die in prison as a senior citizen.

A few years later I became acquainted with the internet and that’s where I learned he was number fifty-five in a book about Canada’s sickest criminals. When I began writing this letter to you, I didn’t anticipate it would lead to another Look Away allegation.

It used to be that you could find information about Donald Phillip Jarvis’ history as a child predator, but Googling his name today proves the internet has been cleansed to erase the public’s memory of his violence. I went to search for this link to support my explanation, but no text appears with his name anymore and this is all that’s left mentioning the book.

Thankfully I’m a reporter and I archive everything I read, so I still have a copy of his information before it was ‘politely’ suppressed from the internet. Please see what Google didn’t want the world to know, because it could make people uncomfortable that predators actually exist. This is what that same search result used to look like before the Look Away Disease intervened.

What’s really brutal is the biological daughters ensured there would be no publication ban, in their effort to protect other girls and women. Someone in the patriarchy felt they knew better and I’m about to show you why they couldn’t be more mistaken. (Please note that all his victims are adamant about making their stories public because we feel he’s such a danger to others. That in itself is rare, to give you some perspective about the severity of his abuse.)

Also missing from searches is the record of Donald’s appeal. Three Alberta judges felt he was a menace and didn’t deserve representation. They ruled it was an abuse of government funds to let him keep denying his guilt. This decision used to appear when searching Donald’s name but it doesn’t anymore.

I’m curious and concerned this suppression occurred during the Notley NDP government. This can be confirmed by my date of archiving, compared to the fact that it’s missing from searches now. If anyone becomes Donald’s neighbour or he offers to babysit, they can’t discover his threat to children.

This may have even occurred due to a political scandal, because it turns out that everyone was wrong since the day I reported to police. Donald Phillip Jarvis was released from prison after completing his sentence. The Alberta government had him shipped to British Columbia to reintegrate through a halfway program in a different province. Residents in BC were then terrorized, because he couldn’t be rehabilitated and no one warned them about the danger they were living with. A community association questioned the government, why was BC accepting criminals from Alberta?

I also learned that Donald had more convictions than we ever knew. Before he set a precedent for sentencing pedophiles, he was convicted for a violent rape in Ontario and served 5 years. Immediately upon release from the 16-year stint in Alberta, he re-offended while on parole. Despite this, he wasn’t thrown back in jail and it doesn’t make any sense.

We were never made aware of his Ontario crimes when my mom was held at gunpoint, and he was never labeled a ‘dangerous offender’ for those three convictions altogether. He was never labeled a dangerous offender because the crown attorney didn’t see the need to press charges on my behalf, in the government’s prosecutorial discretion. Basically your part of the family is playing Moneyball to decide if you’ll protect my kin. It’s like we’re a wager at your poker table based on political odds, far less than human beings.

This is exactly the type of problem you’re causing by harbouring Jared Nolan and threatening everyone to shut up about your roommate, Christopher Ingvaldson. This is why I can’t give up and let you turn your back on us. It’s why I need you to discover humanity in your own experience with criminal illness. It has nothing to do with partisanship, fame, or vengeance. This is a public safety nightmare that you must amend immediately. Our ‘feminist prime minister’ is presiding over a country where police are refusing to take reports, the Crown is refusing to press charges, the media is erasing proof, and the child pornography industry has its hands on everyone’s sensitive records from the Liberalist. With real-time tracking, no less.

If you think I’m attacking you for political gain, then consider I’m reporting my own industry for being complicit. This is harming my professional reputation and I just became the most disgusting woman in Canada for disclosing what was done to me. No one will ever look at me the same and they’ll probably say hurtful things to defend you. I may not be able to work in the Canadian media anymore, just to get you to listen. How do you think that feels?

 

Regarding Our Data

 

In case you needed any more proof that the Look Away Disease is dangerous, I must finish the example of Donald Phillip Jarvis.

Because the Crown has discretionary powers, provinces have discretionary powers, political parties have discretionary powers, police assumed discretionary powers, and the media exercises discretionary powers, they’ve all created a conflict that is putting children’s lives in danger. Right now and because of everyone’s actions, my little brother’s life is in actual danger. Even I might still be in danger. Certainly the children in Abbotsford, BC are in actual and exigent danger.

When Donald Phillip Jarvis got out of prison, he stalked my little brother. They now live 20 minutes apart and my brother is spending time with him. I have a very young nephew and my brother is married to a young woman. He’s not equipped to understand everything because he’s psychologically younger than his age, due to the drug damage in his childhood. He also doesn’t have support and doesn’t want to believe that he’s the offspring of a violent pedophile.

We always tried to protect him from that realization and love for my brother had to be greater than my fear of Donald Phillip Jarvis. This is why it’s important to adopt the term, criminally ill, now that you have some context. My brother is still grappling with that shame and it’s making him vulnerable to abuse, even though he shouldn’t have to carry this weight and he’s ill-prepared to know how. Since Google erased most info about his father, Donald was able to brainwash him that none of it was true. It’s like we have to live this nightmare all over again, but now he’s targeting my brother in place of our mom.

My brother defended him as innocent and returned with evidence to support that claim. After a visit with Donald he sent me a copy of some paperwork from CAS that his father possessed, thinking it was proof of his good name (my brother only has basic reading skills that make him functionally illiterate).

It turns out that while Donald was incarcerated, the Hamilton Children’s Aid Society supplied him with our records. He was getting regular updates about us in prison, during the period that I was my brother’s foster parent. He wasn’t entitled to this information and had no legal claim as a parent. There is no reason in the world that he should have received information about me.

Even when an inmate does have parental rights, the Children’s Aid has a policy to address these cases. No information about children in care can be provided to an inmate, unless a committee is struck to evaluate the claim, the person is physically interviewed, and the panel can decide that safety is not an issue. This did not happen in my brother’s case. The Children’s Aid sent Donald everything he asked for, without vetting him or the situation.

The Hamilton CAS that controlled my brother’s file isn’t connected to the St. Catharines CAS that had possession of mine. Each Children’s Aid Society is a separate non-profit organization. The only thing that binds them together is the government family. Therefore my brother’s file lacked the information that Donald Phillip Jarvis had an extensively violent history. Hamilton didn’t know that he raped me in St. Catharines and there were no court records to search, because the crown attorney declined to press charges. (Note that riding associations and political parties present the same disjointed risk. A criminal can bounce from one EDA to another, to stay under the radar and continue their exploitation of children.)

 

(continued below…)

 

 

My security of person has been destroyed in the most cruel and unusual way. My brother stopped talking and I can’t confirm his safety since he began visiting with his father. Donald hunted my brother down upon being released from prison and there was no way to protect ourselves when the establishment exercised its discretions. He should have already been designated a dangerous offender if anyone did their jobs, instead of looking away.

With respect, you’re doing the same thing right now in the cases of Jared Nolan and Luke Strimbold. Our records were breached to a pedophile by the Children’s Aid Society, and you’re breaching all the records in the Liberalist to others accused of child pornography. Where these examples differ, is that CAS broke its own policy and the Liberal Party of Canada refuses to implement one. I believe the same is true of the Conservatives and CIMS.

Now I have to decide if I need justice more than peace. So far I can only decide that everyone needs safety and that some things are bigger than partisanship.

I was working on a book titled, The Government Is My Parents, to raise the money I would need to commence legal action regarding Jarvis. But right now I’m willing to trade that in, to tell my story in this way and inspire all-party co-operation for legislation to amend this quicker. Vulnerable Sector background checks must also be mandatory to work with children and children’s data. Partisan databases must be formally regulated to achieve privacy, security, and informed consent. Any arguments against this are morally reprehensible.

And if you think this story is chaotic, please remember it was our government family that engineered it.

 

Regarding Canadian News Media

 

A serious part of the Look Away Disease manifests in the news media.

The case of Jared Nolan identified questionable ethics at CTV News and the Globe and Mail, as mentioned in my Twitter essay. The case of Christopher Ingvaldson exposed the Huffington Post’s willingness to participate in a #MeToo silencing exercise. The Patrick Brown story revealed a muzzled complainant and a dissenting witness. My story presents an issue with Google suppressing records. Even as far back as the Jian Ghomeshi case, the Toronto Star’s reporting was dishonest in a way that harmed the complainants. All the systemic problems of sexual violence can be observed in the behaviour of our media. And that media informs the opinion of our entire population.

I’m not trying to single anyone out exactly, because I know I can dig and find examples in every source. My point is that we must do better and it starts by calling out the culture. Our citizens are being endangered by these agendas and oversights. With respect to male colleagues, they just can’t mansplain sexual assault on behalf of females. The issue is too complex to take liberties or silence what they don’t understand, and girls are getting hurt because of this. If you’ve never been through it, you can’t recognize the consequence of missteps.

I’m not insulting men and I respect them as equals. I’m in a loving relationship and it’s healthy. My trauma was a lifetime ago and I chose to learn from it, to become the woman I am today and advocate for others who haven’t found their voice yet. I don’t even resent women who’ve been spared the experience. Anyone who can’t relate to what I’m saying should rejoice, but please don’t look away and harm more children.

Then there’s the issue of your popularity and the Liberal machine. You’ve sought to romance the media at home and abroad. It’s a significant part of your image and you’ve been greatly successful at wooing them. But that also gives you a greater responsibility to support a free press, even when it hurts. A healthy democracy requires a Fourth Estate to help the government family stay in check. When you use the media to threaten people into silence about child predators, it sets an example that your supporters follow and repeat.

You’re looking so great because your clan hired most of the moderate voices in political journalism, but that left us with greater extremes dominating the airwaves to report about things like sexual violence. We have the option to see nothing at all or burn people at the stake, but little in a realistic, factual middle. The reporters who now craft your public relations were taken out of circulation to debate and inform the public opinion. That’s not a good thing, if you think about it.

If you want a litmus test to check the effect, consider several of your supporters blocked me after I made the report about Jared Nolan. So did the police. They actively and forcefully refused to hear about him. How does that make you feel and is it the effect you intended to have? You need to recognize that everyone is ‘protecting the king’ and you’re the only one who can change their priorities.

 

Regarding The Labour Left

 

You’ve attempted to make inroads with labour unions and this is one of the places you can signal priorities. The left prides itself in being a feminist champion, but it suffers from the Look Away Disease too.

Many of the reporters who are inexperienced at telling sexual violence stories are unionized, but they’re not getting professional training to help them do it responsibly. The same is true for professors of journalism.

The public school teachers who are looking away from serious abuses are unionized, as are the ones who overreact to the slightest provocation. This group is one of the greatest conduits between children and protective services, but they’re not professionally trained regarding what’s appropriate.

Telecom workers are unionized, but they have no protocol to deal with client requests related to records and violence. Children in exigent danger can’t even warrant expedited files.

Police are strongly unionized, but they use that protection as a Look Away shield instead of advancing professional development to better protect women and children. They even rely on that job support to block reporting and requests for service, in a backwards interpretation of privilege that amounts to insubordination.

Social workers are unionized, as the first responders who interact with child victims of violence and sexual violence. But due to decades of cuts and political agendas, these agencies are so underfunded that much of the staff isn’t licensed in social work anymore. Many agencies only require a high school diploma to protect and guide the lives of our most damaged children, because that’s all the government family will let them afford. Inexperienced and unqualified child workers can only harm these complex situations in the long run, as my brother’s example identifies. Good social workers can change a life for the better and you all have a fiduciary duty to provide that to your ‘adopted’ kids. Their unions also haven’t done much to provide workers with support for burnout, due to the extreme stress.

NDP staffers are unionized, but even they don’t know how to approach sexual exploitation in the workplace. They purport to train everyone else without knowing their own way, and looking away whenever it suits them (example, Adam Giambrone).

I know the PMO isn’t part of a union, but your office represents leadership for the entire country and it has no protocol for sexual violence either. I applaud Katie Telford for her commitment to feminism, yet I hope my letter will assist her naive viewpoint. The culture she plans to overcome can’t be changed with a hashtag or a few tweaks. It requires tremendous honesty, like I’m attempting to demonstrate.

I don’t know how many more ways to say that no one is immune to this. They only think they are, because they look away.

 

Regarding The Alt-Right

 

If you don’t take serious action the alt-right narrative will prevail and gain momentum. A biased media feeds that cause and so does tolerance for child pornography. You need to show everyone that you mean business. You also owe it to Canadian women to come through. You chose feminism as your cause and if extreme elements can discredit you, it will set us back even further. Please don’t allow us to be used as pawns. That’s exactly what we were trying to stop and there’s nothing sexy about it.

 

Regarding Tina Fontaine

 

I mention Tina with great compassion and I’m sorry to her family. I heard she was in foster care. I heard she had to stay in a motel because there were no available beds. I gather she was couch-surfing and the accused admitted to having sex with her in that dependent situation. I recognized it as a familiar story, as would countless teenage foster kids.

I think part of the problem is the Look Away Disease and even if the jury was culturally appropriate, it still might arrive at the wrong conclusion. There was great significance to the alleged sexual exchange, in the way I described street currency. It was reportedly his motive for killing her, because Tina was underage. If society could appreciate the extent of her vulnerability in that scenario, we’d be further ahead than tweaking juries.

Tina’s story is a #MeToo experience in the extreme and I regret her suffering wasn’t really seen that way. The poor girl was sexually exploited to death. I don’t know why the establishment believes that couch-surfing foster kids are being charitably cared for. These stories will repeat identically until you stop looking away. All the girls stuck in motels are vulnerable to the same threat and the Children’s Aid should know better. How many of us need to be maimed and killed before we can have this conversation?

 

Regarding Canadian Politics

 

The fight against women has persisted in the backrooms of parliament for decades. Some MP’s are even unwitting about supporting it. If you want to clean up the hill, begin with the conflicts in this lobby. It’s been one of your biggest challenges with part of the Liberal base and it’s been allowed to cross boundaries to avoid aggravating the family. But the Look Away Disease facilitated the repeal of Canadian human rights when this lobby was left unattended. I’m not saying they don’t have the right to free speech, but it must be separated from political exploitation. When outside forces have power over parliament offices, it doesn’t inspire confidence that you will bring change.

 

Regarding Rick Dykstra

 

No one asked what caused the complainant to drop the police investigation. It was the most important question the Look Away Disease prevented everyone from asking. We still don’t know if this woman was threatened into silence.

Rick also used his government office to shill for the lobby I mentioned. You can watch the video (at September 2010 entry) to observe this conflict-of-interest. It was the campaign to kill protection from hate speech and it was eventually successful, in part, by spoofing the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (and no opposition parties ever complained). This project was meant to prevent women from having abortions, even if they were raped. Rick handed this lobby the right to scare vulnerable girls into submission through violent speech attacks.

Ezra Levant was part of this, in another marriage between politics and media. There were signs that Rick may have disrespected women, if everyone didn’t look away.

 

Regarding Doug Ford

 

Letting the Look Away Disease persist is support of the Doug Ford campaign. He wishes to repeal sex education, so boys don’t know about consent and girls don’t know their rights. It’s a plank from the same lobby that had control of Rick Dykstra’s office and I can tell you from experience, that I didn’t know what to do when a room full of men was taking my clothes off, because nobody ever told me. I was just a frightened kid who would have benefited from that knowledge. Sexually abused girls must especially learn about consent, because they’ve been raised to believe they get no say in being violated.

If you put all these things together between the various parties, we’ll have girls forced onto the street, no respect for consent, real-time tracking of their activities, personal information distributed to criminals, police refusing to take reports, and girls forced into having the baby, even if they were raped. Is that really a world you want to live in?

It’s noteworthy that Doug doesn’t acknowledge his own sister on his Wikipedia page. Kathy Ford has a harrowing history with domestic violence that nearly saw her killed. I’m familiar with the other stabbing victim in her story and locals report she wasn’t able to get police support until it was too late.

Please let us not repeat the same mistakes. It takes a cohort of social collapses for things like this to happen and no party is immune to it, so long as we all look away.

 

Regarding Kathleen Wynne

 

Kathleen is the matriarch of our smaller Ontario clan. She has high disapproval ratings for all the corruption that’s plagued the House of Wynne. She’s a good example to demonstrate that you own what your family does, even if it wasn’t by your hand.

Of interest, she’s the only politician who made a genuine connection with the public regarding sexual violence. This clip should have been highlighted, but everyone chose to look away:

 

(continued below…)

 

 

She’s your biggest provincial ally and you lean on her for support. But she also shares the Liberalist database and it’s causing her to look away now too. She refuses to acknowledge the consent and Jared Nolan issues, as if you can hit pause on sexual exploitation and pretend it’s not really happening. Are you really going to saddle her with child pornography in the party, when she’s going into an election? Because who needs enemies when you’ve got friends like that. The disparity is already harming her credibility. If #ItsNeverOkay (except if a Liberal does it), how is anyone supposed to trust the party’s volunteers and door knockers?

Her provincial advocate for children and youth declined to investigate because this exploitation involves a political party. Her attorney general declined to respond, the same as your attorney general declined to respond. Aside of the politics, how is any woman or child safe under this obstructive management? We can’t report to police. We can’t report to the party. We can’t report to ministers. And we can’t report to either of you. Would you be willing to explain that to a bunch of foster kids? Did you guys think these feminist hashtag campaigns were only meant to be decorative? Or are you using #ItsNeverOkay to solicit more data and potential victims for the Liberalist?

The only way around this hypocrisy is looking at it head-on and fixing it. Instead you made a summer jobs program that was meant to respect women, and she invented yet-another-hashtag with a bag of cash to go with it. It’s as if you believe that either of these endeavours could replace your fiduciary duty regarding privacy, security, and consent with political databases.

 

Regarding Victims Of Child Pornography

 

I’ve tried to explain many issues in the Look Away Disease context, but they also need to be summarized from a practical perspective, to help you truly understand what the government family has done. The combined actions of our leadership are what become the public consensus and this lack of comprehension is the engine that drives abuse. You believe you are separate from the problem and that you’re trying to manage a group of deplorables, but ultimately it was Main Street that did this to us and you all need to look in the mirror.

As a young victim of child pornography, the Crown decided not to press charges because they didn’t believe it made economic sense.

As a child of the state, provincial guardians gave protected records to my perpetrator that would allow him to continue stalking me for the rest of my life.

As an adult witness to unrelated child pornography allegations, the police refused to take my report and accept the evidence. They went as far as revoking my access to police services in an effort to deflect any reports of this ilk.

There were 30 years between these events and your attitudes still haven’t changed. You’re still victim-blaming and trying to destroy my reputation for coming forward, to cover up your many professional failures and political hypocrisies. You want everyone to believe that I’m psychologically unstable for trying to hold you accountable and there’s something wrong with me for daring to speak up. You treat me as different from you, repeatedly signaling that I don’t fit in with the status quo.

The awesome part is that I did assimilate and integrate with the so-called normal people, but I came to learn that your illness is what perpetuates the abuse. You condone violence against children by looking away, or institutionalizing the child if you were forced against your will to have to deal with it. While institutionalized, you then treat the children like stray animals that should be grateful just to be fed. We’re never permitted to wash the scarlet letter off our bodies, because you want it there to protect the aristocracy from us.

The reason you find me especially offensive is because of what I did with the mark you gave me. I took my scarlet letter and time on the shaming podium to shame you back instead. I even made a career out of owning that podium, to narrate for the vulnerable and hold the government accountable for its actions. You said this made me rogue and insubordinate to the family compact, as if I was too stupid to understand all the wonderful ways you’ve #Helped.

Please don’t get me wrong because I’m ecstatic to be alive and I credit you with at least that much. Children in the Jared Nolan, Luke Strimbold, Christopher Ingvaldson, and Benjamin Levin cases are presumably alive as well. But they might not stay that way due to complications from the Look Away Disease, silencing campaigns, isolation, and the shame you force them to wear.

I can’t name another person who has publicly admitted to being a victim of child pornography. It’s the one place that even angels fear to tread and it’s not like I wanted the infamy of being the first to bring this to your attention. But I knew enough kids in foster care who suffered this exploitation and they’re all dead from suicide or drug overdose. Many even blamed them for being on the drugs, and wished ‘good riddance’ to the marked children instead of lighting a path so they could find their way out.

I don’t know what made me different but I couldn’t remain silent. My whole life I’ve known that you behave this way and I couldn’t allow you to make me complicit. I wasn’t willing to trade my integrity for the sake of your acceptance, and I couldn’t participate in your efforts to harbour child sex predators. If that’s what it takes to be normal, then I don’t want any part of it.

And speaking of normalization, your illness extended to the courts. They actually have a badness rating system for sentencing child pornography. If it was only a handful of pictures exploiting a few children, the sentence can be light. The next stage is children-on-children and that could warrant an extra couple months. The next plateau is adults-on-children and that might fetch a year or more. The worst is violent child pornography, where the victim is also beaten during the sexual violation.

Canadian judges are often trying to give the benefit of the doubt, if it didn’t reach the code red level. You should take a look at Benjamin Levin’s lawyer minimizing the abuse; because the percentage of child pornography files on his computer was less than other types. That lawyer is a darling of the political left and the judge was willing to play along. This poor guy was a victim of his fantasies that men just can’t control. The exploited children were never addressed as human beings with compromised futures, but I am an unwilling kiddie porn star and I can promise that you’ve all missed the point. I even know that your ignorance kills and that’s what is forcing me to speak up. This is not a victim-less crime and your attempts to paint it that way are disgusting.

Despite all my counseling and the confidence I built to direct my own life, you’re re-victimizing me today and causing me to become a poster-child for the most heinous crimes in our society. It will probably take another decade for that grime to fade from my image, and in that time this information will make me a target for society’s vitriol. It is only because I’m strong enough after 40+ years on this planet, that I would dare to stick my neck out for the next generation of child victims.

 

In Closing

 

Leadership doesn’t mean a good public relations campaign. It happens in the darkest hours when you have to make difficult choices. Although Ann Cavoukian is looking away from the Liberalist, you’re on the wrong side of her guidance about data privacy. If you don’t do something to protect the records in your possession from criminal exploitation, you may be exposed to lawsuits. That is a very basic reality and not a threat. I’m only sad that I had to bear my soul to get you to listen. My reputation is now another casualty in the wake of these abuses.

If you want to set things right, please implement Vulnerable Sector background checks for users of the Liberalist database immediately.

Please pursue all-party support for legislation to make Vulnerable Sector background checks mandatory for anyone working with children or children’s data.

Please pursue all-party support for legislation to regulate partisan databases, to make them compliant with privacy, security, and consent.

Please contact the RCMP to advise them if Luke Strimbold had access to the Liberalist, and co-operate with the investigation to protect potential victims.

Please contact the OPP to demand the police investigate my information about the Jared Nolan case, and co-operate with the investigation to protect potential victims.

Please advise the public to speak with their children, if they might have volunteered or participated with a riding association that is mired by child sexual allegations related to any executives.

Please initiate an independent investigation to determine what’s happened with personal data in the Liberalist, and the many ways that access may have been abused. Please encourage the Conservative Party of Canada to do the same regarding CIMS, as well as the NDP and Green Party of Canada in relation to their partisan records.

Please help with the case of Donald Phillip Jarvis. I don’t know where to begin and he’s a dangerous offender who is loose in the Abbotsford, BC community. The prosecutorial discretion to excuse him for crimes against me is unacceptable. What I don’t want is vigilante retribution. I want my government family to recognize my worth as a human being, and for other children to be protected within the law. You can’t make me go through that torture and sacrifice, just to let him stalk my brother anyway.

It’s also necessary that you remove Anna Gainey from the Liberal Party of Canada executive. She abused her power in a conflict-of-interest, to endanger kids in Simcoe-Grey directly. I can accept that people make mistakes when they don’t understand, but she was aware and chose her husband’s business interests over the public safety and sexually exploited children. Any party leadership needs to be a champion of consent. How are you going to teach young men about healthy sexual consent, if you keep a non-consensual database about the girls they’re pursuing?

I will close by sharing the most powerful lesson that was ever taught to me, in the hope it can lead to a cure for the Look Away Disease:

There are only two base emotions that give rise to all others. They are fear and love, at each end of the spectrum.

Anger, frustration, silencing, and violence are fear reactions; whereas compassion, courage, and acceptance are born of love. I had to confront issues in my life that were more challenging than the ones you face right now and I chose to navigate by love. I couldn’t break the cycle if I didn’t, and now it’s your turn.

All the best,

@MsAmyMacPherson

 

Patrick Brown’s Neighbour Spawns New #MeToo Complaint At CTV And Liberals

I make no comment about the guilt or innocence of Patrick Brown. Instead I’m addressing the issue of political bias in Canadian media that his controversy has recently highlighted. Included is a new #MeToo allegation involving the Liberal Party of Canada and CTV News, from the adjacent riding.

Mr. Brown occupies the Simcoe-North landscape and these allegations arise from Simcoe-Grey. Although they’re extremely different in nature, what they do share is a deep concern with the way CTV is impacting various #MeToo complaints in the political arena. Through personal experience as a reporter, I believe this relates to management at CTV News and not necessarily the journalists.

Exactly one year ago, I approached the outlet to amend and expand its story about an alleged child sex predator who’s been criminally charged. They covered the matter of Jared Nolan, abusing his access to patient data at the Alliston hospital to lure children and distribute child pornography. The case is so serious that a special police task force was established to investigate further. I believe Nolan’s charges are still winding through the courts and the last news available noted new child complainants coming forward.

The problem is that I knew Mr. Nolan personally, as a political colleague. I had information that was incredibly relevant to his case, as well as the Liberal Party of Canada. We worked together on the riding’s board of directors when he was criminally charged and I was aware he had access to thousands more children through the party and its Liberalist database. He had the highest level of access to every child volunteer and member of the Young Liberals across the entire country. He also led groups of youth volunteers during the last federal election (details here).

That alone was good enough reason to investigate Nolan’s use of child data within the LPC, to see if any young volunteers were part of the sexual complaints that were being investigated criminally. But more disconcerting were the circumstances between the Alliston hospital (Stevenson Memorial) and the Simcoe-Grey Federal Liberal Riding Association (SGFLRA).

Mr. Nolan had no experience in healthcare before taking a senior position at the hospital, that reported to the board of directors. He wasn’t known to the local riding association before taking an executive position with the SGFLRA either. Nolan began both these positions at the same time, after dropping off the political radar for at least a decade. He was once a senior staffer in Ottawa, with no explanation why he went from a high-profile job in a minister’s office, to complete obscurity and menial employment for a period of ten years.

Nolan only had two connections that anyone could cite. He was close with our LPC candidate, who sat on the hospital board of directions. He was close with the candidate’s campaign director who also sat on the hospital board of directors. Otherwise Nolan had no connection to this region and he was not known to anyone else. He basically appeared from nowhere and became a big-wig overnight, at the side of these two gentlemen. All of a sudden the Liberal riding association and the Alliston hospital were being run by the same three people.

Neither of the other two men were charged and my comments do not impugn them. But the investigation remains ongoing and they both oversaw Nolan’s work at the hospital, in addition to the SGFLRA. The patient data that Nolan is alleged to abuse as a hunting ground for child sex victims was additionally managed by one of these very colleagues, according to their LinkedIn profiles.

My first concern was that police didn’t question anyone in the Liberal riding association. They weren’t aware that connection existed, or that Nolan had access to more sensitive information about a much greater number of children through the party. The Liberalist is an extensive database that can track them in real-time. In some cases it knows if the kids are dating, what their schedules look like, what their home situation is like, and if they have emotional vulnerabilities. Hospital patient data doesn’t contain sensitive details like this and if Nolan is found guilty, his access to the Liberalist poses a tremendous threat (details here).

The hospital set out to conduct an internal investigation, in parallel with the police. But I believe they were also unaware of these professional-political connections, because no one can name the executives on any riding association board, aside from the advertised candidate. I have evidence that indicated the three men never disclosed their political conflict-of-interest to the hospital as well. It complicated matters that the riding exec who oversaw patient data at the hospital departed for a different region of health care facilities upon the charges being laid against Nolan. It’s not clear if that relationship was ever investigated, even from the hospital’s perspective. (I reiterate this person was never accused of wrongdoing, but he was the most knowledgeable witness in the Nolan case that no one was questioning.)

Moreover, unsettling photos and deeper connection between that campaign exec and Nolan began appearing on social media. This is despite the fact that Nolan was banned from using the internet as a condition of his bail and house arrest. It was unclear if these posts constituted an accusation against the Liberal colleague, a threat to the Liberal colleague’s daughter, or if it was a cry for help. Whatever it was, it definitely violated the terms of bail.

In the meantime a forensic warrant was executed and at that very moment, someone tampered with the evidence. All of Jared Nolan’s connections to the Liberal Party of Canada were altered or outright deleted. I have proof of that as well. It caused so much concern that I contacted Anna Gainey as an LPC official, to have the party intervene for the sake of protecting due process. It surely wouldn’t help if another individual was charged for obstructing a forensic warrant and the LPC sincerely needed to protect the children in our riding.

It was astonishing, but there was proof of receiving my letters and the LPC refused to respond. Instead they supported the campaign exec who oversaw patient data, in threatening me with defamation to obstruct my police report. The party actively covered-up its relationship with Jared Nolan and declined to intervene to prohibit this evidence from being destroyed. It declined to let anyone know an election campaign official was criminally charged with heinous sex crimes against children, that are alleged to happen over the course of that campaign. It prevented the parents of children who volunteered with Nolan during that time from knowing, so they could ask if their own kids were okay (details here).

A year ago there was no #MeToo movement to help get this message out. I sought to strike a middle ground between victim rights and Charter rights by asking the party to establish Vulnerable Sector background checks for anyone seeking to work with our riding executive. That would have prevented anyone criminally charged or under investigation from working with sensitive children’s data in the Liberalist and in our community. It’s non-judgmental, from either perspective, and it’s already a norm in the volunteer industry.

But the LPC refused to do this too. They refused to protect youths in the Liberal Party of Canada, as well as youths in our riding where an executive was already charged with multiple complaints of child luring and child pornography. The party’s reaction to cover this up made them behave so badly that they didn’t even remove Jared Nolan as the Simcoe-Grey Federal Liberal Riding Association’s Executive Vice President. While incarcerated awaiting bail and under house arrest, Nolan maintained access to the Liberalist database for another two months, before he willingly stepped down. It was during that time disturbing photos of children connecting him to the other campaign executive began appearing on social media.

I was so concerned, unsure if another child was in danger, that I contacted the police, the news, and the Liberal Party of Canada, again.

In no uncertain terms I warned Anna Gainey and the LPC about its fiduciary duty, legal liability, and to stop intimidating me from reporting what I know to the authorities. I attempted to exercise the party’s constitution for emergency intervention by LPC brass, but that was met with LPC officials shutting down the procedure and revoking the party’s constitution entirely. They did that on camera in front of CTV News and ordered the reporter to stop recording. They threatened to remove CTV for trespassing if they filmed me saying anything about Jared Nolan. I was banned from saying his name or anything about him. This happened at the riding’s Annual General Meeting and no one was allowed to discuss or inform parents that our vice president was arrested for child sex crimes (details here).

After this happened, the CTV reporter was reassigned and not allowed to pursue this story. He wished to proceed and continued working with me to obtain more information, however. Another executive came forward as a witness to help convince the producers. Still, CTV wouldn’t tell the world that their story about a child sex predator was also about a Liberal executive. They blatantly censored Jared Nolan’s position with the riding and that he was working with youths during the election campaign at the time of these allegations. The only news CTV producers would allow to be reported is that Nolan worked at the Alliston hospital.

The next development defies common sense or any shred of human dignity. Because it’s such a bizarre decision, it will oddly strengthen Patrick Brown’s allegations against the broadcaster. I don’t mean to conflate the two issues, the two parties, or the adjacent ridings, but a pattern is emerging at CTV News that is equally harmful to the complainants and the accused(s). In my humble opinion, there’s a lapse in ethical direction and this management style is quite predatory.

I know in my example the CTV reporter didn’t wish to censor Jared Nolan’s status with the Liberals. He was trying to overturn the executive producer’s decision by supplying more evidence. In the case of ex-Conservative leader, Patrick Brown, it appears CTV management censored a third complainant because of her ties to the Liberal party as well. According to CANADALAND, the director of communications at CTV News said,

In fact, we can confirm there was at least one other woman who came forward who made allegations of a sexual nature against Patrick Brown. We did not pursue her story due to her public support of the provincial Liberal party.”

It’s not likely that journalist Glen McGregor killed a third of his own exclusive about Patrick Brown. The management at CTV News needs to explain who keeps censoring Liberal sex allegations, whether it’s from an alleged perpetrator or a victim’s perspective. They say they don’t want to make the #MeToo movement a partisan political brawl, but they have no problem concealing the information when a Liberal is criminally charged, or when a Liberal is making the accusation. In contrast, anything seems like fair game if it’s about a Conservative politician, by another Conservative.

This situation is so unfortunate that I gave CTV News an earful last year. When the reporter in my example pushed to complete the story, he was told to cultivate children from our riding to interview as prospective victims. This is the only way CTV would release the information about Jared Nolan’s status with the Liberals. It didn’t matter that he was already under house arrest for prosecution as a child predator. Management required that a small flock of kids be located to canvass for new allegations, before they would alert the public about the danger that was already thoroughly established. They wished to create their own ‘exclusive’ by blindsiding local children and prodding them for salacious tips.

If you find this hard to believe, then please see all the evidence. I still have the text messages, emails, screencaps, video, and record of phone calls to prove everything I’ve said.

At that point I refused to work with CTV News due to its lacking ethics. I was so stunned by the outrageous plot to interfere with potentially vulnerable children that we didn’t get to argue about the network’s refusal to reference Nolan’s Liberal affiliation whatsoever. I lambasted CTV, this is how the innocent get incarcerated and the guilty go free.

I regret that my account will likely be used to discredit the complainants against Patrick Brown. That is not my agenda and I have no personal knowledge of that situation to comment on either side. But it behooves me to speak up when I know children are still in danger, a cover-up is still in progress, and the behaviour of CTV management is destroying everyone’s access to justice. CTV executives need to learn that they’re not the judge, jury, executioner, or a Crown representative to offer selective pardons. When both sides of the #MeToo movement are complaining there’s a political problem at CTV News, can we not agree there must be some issue? The accused are citing political interference. The victims are citing political interference. And witnesses are citing political interference.

In Simcoe-Grey, the political interference is so great that it crossed over between the news and police. There are conflict-of-interest issues affecting the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and the Simcoe-Grey Federal Liberal Riding Association. The candidate who oversaw Jared Nolan’s work at the hospital, as well as the election campaign, also sat on the OPP’s board of directors. The Liberal candidate publicly stated that he exercises influence over this particular police agency (details here).

Coincidentally, the OPP now refuses to accept evidence of Nolan’s access to children through the Liberal Party of Canada. They’ve charged him with luring children from the hospital and subsequent child pornography, but the lead investigator is refusing to investigate possible victims from the Liberalist and youth volunteering program.

In fact, the police took a 2-hour statement from me prior to LPC brass getting involved. After evidence was deleted and the party censored its business with Nolan, the OPP changed its tune and aggressively refused to take official statements anymore. They refused to provide a report number from the one I already submitted. They became unable to locate the officer who took my initial report. They declined to inform the crown attorney about this new evidence and scoffed at investigating Nolan’s relationship with children in the Liberal Party of Canada. This man is being painted as the most dangerous predator to children anywhere outside the Liberal party, but not within it. They believe Nolan was safe to manage sensitive children’s data within the Liberalist and spend intimate time with young volunteers for the past few years. He was not however safe to work with children’s data at the hospital, or be near young patients during the identical time period in the same neighbourhood (details here).

An open letter to the prime minister, justice minister, chiefs of police, crown attorney, all political parties, and the provincial youth advocate, was further ignored. The provincial advocate was the only entity to respond and he was sorry the agency couldn’t get involved. They didn’t feel they had a mandate to support children if sexual allegations involved a political party.

For an added bonus, the Globe and Mail responded from the Twilight Zone. Not only did they decline to report about Jared Nolan’s criminal charges and his executive position with the Liberals, but they also broke from journalism ethics by deleting a relevant speech from the prime minister that was inflammatory to the situation. The public editor responded to my complaint by saying she couldn’t accept the complaint at all. She accused me of trying to hack her computer because I didn’t type in the Globe and Mail’s preferred font. I couldn’t make this up if I tried and that email exchange is documented in the open letter as well. The Globe and Mail claims it can’t investigate ethical breaches from evidence outside the Globe and Mail publication. Their computers can’t access the internet, apparently (details here).

This experience was particularly devastating because the Globe and Mail reporter and public editor are females. The Liberal party official is female. The provincial advocate’s investigator is female. The Conservative member of parliament for our riding is also female and this group of women actively silenced the #MeToo movement before it had a name in the case of Jared Nolan. They hung female children out to dry for their own political advantage, as CTV News was seeking to exploit them from a male-dominated perspective. The sickness was so overwhelming and there was nowhere left to go, until the controversy with Patrick Brown provided an opportunity to try again. The irony isn’t lost on me and I hope it’s not lost on you. No matter anyone’s guilt or innocence or the veracity of complaints, this is indicative of political interference to retard sexual allegations within the Canadian political arena from everyone’s point of view.

Even the NDP’s white knight, in charge of ethical oversight, wouldn’t lift a finger to protect Liberal children in Simcoe County. It won’t help them to grandstand now, because they declined to care as the Official Opposition holding the government party to account. The Conservatives won’t benefit by crowing about an alleged child predator in the Liberal party either, because Kellie Leitch declined to speak for these kids despite being their MP, when she was too busy running for party leadership. (That too is documented.)

These events caused me to have to see the disgusting underbelly of our politics and media. It’s the reason I backed away from both, because I couldn’t be one of these willfully silent people. I was born with a voice and I’m tired of being gagged when my job is to be the messenger. It’s also impossible to overcome the censorship in Canadian media when it comes to reporting about politics and the government. Everyone has an agenda. It may change from month to month, but rest assured that our news is based on the whims of executive editors and producers, who don’t know the first thing about due process or the safety of women and children.

Another gem I’ve had to digest is that our police won’t act on political sex issues unless the political news decides it can be reported and potential victims consent to being publicly exploited. In this experience regarding Jared Nolan, it seems the LPC determines what CTV can report, then CTV decides if it will cajole the police to investigate.

Maybe if we confront this circle-jerk we can begin to sort it out. Goodness knows the #MeToo movement depends on our collective honesty and anything short of this is political lip service. If we continue at this rate, Gen Y will never vote, download a news app, or fund a police budget. At least the children in Simcoe-Grey and Simcoe-North won’t, because they have no reason to trust any of us. Here, they can’t safely tell their stories on either side of the equation, without someone seeking to exploit or silence them. I remain worried that because all parties are rife with sex allegations that they’ll continue silencing the children in Simcoe-Grey, if it doesn’t benefit their political agendas. The response to this statement will help me decide if the #MeToo movement is real in Canada, or just a tool to weaponize our women and children.

Full disclosure: For the record, I resigned from the Liberal riding association at the onset of these events. I never worked in media at the same time I engaged with local politics, and I’m not employed by any mainstream media currently. My only agenda is protecting these kids (full details here, including the letter of resignation).

Yours truly,

@MsAmyMacPherson