CORNWALL ONTARIO – The Honourable G. Normand Glaude made his return to Cornwall this morning to give his long awaited report on the Cornwall Public Inquiry.
The press conference was held in the Simon Frasier conference room at the Ramada Inn. Major Media outlets in attendance included CTV, Global, and CBC as this story has gained national interest.
At 11:00am the Commissioner took his seat in front of the microphone and immediately dove into his statement.
“It is time to replace speculation with facts,” said the commissioner in his opening comments. Glaude was quick to point out that he believed there was not enough evidence to convict anyone of sexual abuse when he said, “I don’t find anyone guilty of any crimes, criminal or civil.”
Glaude did however admit that this occurred because of the lack of evidence that was made available to officials. “Institutions did not do the job they were supposed to, their lack of written reports and protocol made them vulnerable, for something like this to occur repeatedly,” said Glaude.
The Commissioner attacked institutions such as the Children’s Aid Society and the Catholic Dioceses for not following through on reports of sexual abuse because of their fear of public perception, and embarrassment.
The lack of faith in the Cornwall Police Force by victims was also outlined in the today’s report, when the commissioner said, “The Police Force was ill equipped to protect victims of severe abuse particularly men. This failure to provide support caused a great deal of mistrust.”
Glaude continued outlining errors made by institutions such as the Upper Canada School Board, The Catholic Dioceses and the Children’s Aid Society. However, it was understood why these flaws occurred when he said, “many working institutions struggled with a lack of resources, poor communication and lack of knowledge. There were some good people who tried to overcome these circumstances but ultimately failed. I was encouraged to see the humility that many of these workers had as they admitted and apologized for their mistakes throughout the inquiry.”
One of the Commissioners’ recommendations throughout his report was that the institutions extend an olive branch to the victims by acknowledging them. “This is the first step in reconciliation and regaining the trust in these institutions,” said Glaude.
The Commissioner also recommended that there be a five million dollar trust established that would aid victims. Some of this money would be used as scholarships for victims who were unable to obtain their high school education because of their circumstances.
There would also be scholarships made available to victims who wish to pursue post secondary education at St. Lawrence College.
Another portion of this money would be put towards more counselling programs for both victims and abusers.
Understanding the difficult times the province is in, the Commissioner realizes that funding might be difficult to obtain when he said; “because of the current economic issues the government might be sympathetic, but reluctant to provide funding. But I do warn of the consequences of inaction on my recommendations.”
In conclusion to his report the Commissioner said, “I have hope for the future, but I worry about complacency or people becoming tired of this issue. In my view we cannot afford not to take action.”
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