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Wednesday, December 07, 2005


Wednesday, December 7, 2005 Page A20

Ontario Ombudsman André Marin wants the power to investigate complaints against the province's 53 children's aid societies.
Appearing last night before the government's social policy committee, which is examining a bill that would amend the laws governing the societies, Mr. Marin cited the notorious Jeffrey Baldwin case as an example of his office's powerlessness.
"We received a complaint in the last month about this case," he told the committee, "and were asked to investigate.
"We had to turn it down. We have no jurisdiction over the CAS."

The complaint seeking a probe into Jeffrey's death of starvation-induced pneumonia and septic shock, Mr. Marin said, is one of 94 his office received in the first six months of this year.
"Last year, we received 305. . . . Because of limits in our mandate, we cannot address them."
His counterparts in other provinces, he said, have the ability to investigate such complaints.
The little boy died while in the custody of his maternal grandparents, approved by the Catholic Children's Aid Society of Toronto as acceptable caregivers for him and his three siblings.
Only after Jeffrey died, weighing at almost the age of six less than he did when he was a year old, did the CCAS find in its files evidence that the grandparents, Elva Bottineau and Norman Kidman, were each convicted child abusers.
Ms. Bottineau, 54, was convicted as a teenage mother of assault causing bodily harm in the death of her infant daughter.
Mr. Kidman, 53, was convicted eight years later of two counts of assault causing bodily harm upon two of Ms. Bottineau's children by a previous relationship.
The two are on trial for first-degree murder in the death of Jeffrey on Nov. 30, 2002.
Mr. Justice David Watt of the Ontario Superior Court has heard evidence that Jeffrey and a sister were confined for such long periods of time to a dank and fetid room that they lived amid their own waste.
The information about the grandparents' criminal past was contained in the CCAS records, the agency has acknowledged, but went undiscovered, prompting Mr. Marin to characterize the agency as having, in effect, "facilitated" the harsh and degrading conditions in which Jeffrey was kept.
"I think the committee was stunned to realize that the CASs, despite receiving a billion dollars in taxpayers' money, run themselves without any independent oversight," Mr. Marin told The Globe and Mail last night in a telephone interview.
He said he received a sympathetic audience, but no firm commitment that the legislation would be amended.
He says it would require only the addition of a "10-word line" to the law.


Anonymous said...

To write a quick e-mail of thanks to the Obudsman of Ontario and to encourage him to keep up the effort, go to:

Anonymous said...

Hopefully some justice will come for little courageous and brave Jeffrey Joseph Vincent Baldwin. He was such a strong little boy to endure so much for so long....

Anonymous said...

It is about time that the ombudsman investigated all these CAS complaints. He has been getting them for years before Jeffrey Baldwin. Why now, suddenly has Mr. Marin found his social conscience? The ombudsman only investigates the things that government officially sanctions to be investigated. Only the safe things are allowed. The office of the ombudsman is the tool of the government designed to create the public preception that there is justice and fair play in Canada. After all who pays the ombudsman's bills? The government does, of course! What is the real agenda here?

ph said...

I wouldn't be so hard on Mr. Marin. He's been on the job less than a year but he has done more over this short period than his predessors have done in 10 years.

This guy's not afraid to take on tough issues and force the Government to respond. That's why we have an Ombudsman!

Anonymous said...

Amazing isn't the word! I agree with ph. Marin's courage is even more remarkable when one considers how provincial politicians dive for cover whenever CAS is mentioned. The Social Policy Committee is a case in point - how could these people hold their positions and be totally unanware Ontario's multi-billion dollar child-welfare industry (Marin only factors direct costs) is accountable to no one. That the committee was sympathetic but "non-committal" is only a small indication of the political shenanigans involved. You can be sure CAS will do everything in its power to remain completely unaccountable - the more one understands how CAS operates, it becomes obvious the entire system should be scrapped. Ontario's corrupt and abusive family destruction industry cannot bear the slightest scrutiny.

Contact information for individual members of the Social Policy Committee can be found through Google. Here are their names:

Mario Racco, Liberal

Vice Chair:
Khalil Ramal, Liberal

Ted Arnott, Conservative
Ted Chudleigh, Conservative
Kim Craitor, Liberal
Peter Fonseca, Liberal
Jeff Leal, Liberal
Rosario Marchese, New Democrat
Kathleen Wynne, Liberal

The committee's address is:

Room 1405, Whitney Block
Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario
M7A 1A2

General emails may be addressed to its clerk:

Anonymous said...

I just sent my thank you to Mr.Marin!! Let's keep up the pressure!

Anonymous said...

There is no question the Ontario government should hold CAS criminally accountable its actions. The system is out of control to the point that the fanatics serving the system routinely fabricate court actions to gain control of children. The government turns a blind eye and heaps millions more into a bottomless pit of corruption. People like Amanda and Mr. Marin deserve our highest respect for the integrity they have demonstrated.

amanda said...

I agree that Mr. Marin deserves our utmost respect and thanks... at least he's doing something. The Ombudsman before him was in agreement that the CAS's needed to be watched, as usual, government takes a long time to do stuff!
Please e-mail him and thank him for his 'balls' to even ask for the authority! (sorry to be crass, can't think of a better way of saying it!)
Kudos to Christie Blatchford YET AGAIN for covering meaningful subjects and issue's and the gall not to sugar coat anything! If you want to thank her too, her e-mail is a really, really cool woman!

Jeffrey's Law said...

oh, also, I think EVERYONE, not just the Ombudsman is sitting up to attention about Jeffrey's case is because we have all been writing letters, attended the memorial and (who can) show up to court. We can not let them forget that Jeffrey's life MEANS something, as a woman who e-mailed me said, 'I think Jeffrey came into this world for a reason'... maybe to overhaul the system and save kids. I want the CAS and CCAS to remember exactly what Jeffrey Baldwin stands for... change and hopefully a better system. May it finally come about with his unfortunate death!

Anonymous said...

KEEP WRITING, THANKS FOR HAVING THE COURAGE AMANDA, AND I hope that women was right Jeffery did not die in vein. Its snowing, children love snow, this time of year, I hope that his siblings are loved where ever they are.

Anonymous said...

I went by Greenwood Park yesterday to tidy up the memorial, light a couple of candles and say 'hi'. It was wonderful to see so many kids tobaganning down the hill, hear the laughter ringing out. It's a good place to remember and honour Jeffrey.

ph said...

This morning CBC Radio (Metro Morning) had a report on the issue of the oversight for the social workers who work for CCAS in relation to the Baldwin trial. They referred to the Ombudsman's concerns and mentioned that the trial (which they expect to be wrapping this week), will not be examing the role and conduct of the social workers.

Stay tuned for the verdict - We must ensure to be at the court house that day to demand that CCAS be held accountable for their role.

Anonymous said...

The lawyers on both sides will be wrapping up their summations on January 16, 2006.....I am unsure how long that will take and whether there may be some more delays.

After that who knows how long Judge Watt will take to make a decision.

I can only hope it is one that suits the crime.

Anonymous said...

I don't think anything the judicial system has to offer in the way of conviction,can suite their crimes, I have never heard nor want to ever hear of such horror again, this was evil. After Bernardo, I never thought anything ( thing, not human) could carry out such horrific evil, no other words, for what happened to those children, Jeffery will at least not have to grow up, forever scared, forever tortured,his siblings may. The CCAS should have left them in a home the came to trust, perhaps then their was hope. I don't believe in capital punishment, but life in prison, 3 meals a day, is much more then Jeffery had. The punishment will never meet this crime.