Cornwall ON – We get in a lot of requests of assistance to publicize people’s plights across Canada now and an unusual one has come in from Calgary.
If the charges are legitimate they seem quite severe. We are going to print part one of this Letter to the Editor tonight as we are awaiting some supporting and follow up documents.
Please note this letter has been edited until more information is received from us.
Letter to the Editor from Nigel Empett – Calgary Alberta
Are Canadian Citizens’ ‘Human Rights’ A Fiasco For Governments To Bully And Oppress?
In light of the United Nations celebrating their 100th Anniversary of “International Women’s Day” on March 8th, 2011 has the progress in lessening or eliminating all forms of violence and abuse against its citizens, including system abuse diminished or has it just gone underground? For one Canadian ‘Metis’ family it has been one long battle in their pursuit of rightful justice, accountability, and restitution against the AB Government for its negligent actions and oppression of their Human Rights.
Where is the accountability, the human compassion towards another human being from any ethnic origin or creed? Has society become numb to the voices or pleas of its citizens? Has naivety, complacency, and conformity taken a stronghold over, and minimized all the work our great advocates and leaders fought for to benefit everyone, not just a select few? With the balances in society so distorted, where silent, and manipulative tactics can and will be taken by the perpetrator(s) against the victims in order to silence those who voice their truths and experiences, publicly? When will the systems balance themselves so that victims and survivors are no longer treated as criminals, and criminals are no longer treated as victims, and rewarded for their actions?
Educating all advocacy groups, women’s shelters, lawyers, Government representatives, the general public etc. who have never heard of the all encompassing factors associated with obtaining an “Unpublished Secure Name Change” (UPSNC) is a challenge but vital. First, it is not just about obtaining a New Change of Name Certificate or applying for a new SIN card to reflect the changes.
Imagine, completely leaving behind your old life. Now begins an extremely long process preparing for a total transformation of your life that includes your child. No Birth Certificates, No Social Insurance Numbers, No Credit Rating, No Credit Cards, No Bank Accounts, No Employment History, No School History, No Vehicle, No Passport, No Driver’s License, Pseudonym (until the final name is approved and granted). Redefining who you are and what you must implement while living a lie, inventing a family history because the past no longer exists, adjusting to being called a new name, establishing new friends, attending a new school, job retraining, all the while keeping the story straight until the process is completed. Additionally, in this family’s case a Judge knew that in order to completely sever all ties to the past and protect “the best interests of the child” and her mother, with great sadness and heartache the Honourable Justice ordered $Zero maintenance be paid to the mother for child support. The details above only skims the surface of what a family is required to do, and must tolerate given these circumstances. Now consider, never seeing or speaking to your family, friends, coworkers, and any others you or your children have established long-term relationships with; moving from shelter to shelter across the country all the while trying to create a normal, healthy, well-adjusted environment for your then, young child as she too endured many forms of abuse? You could not obtain employment because you had no identity. Financial resources were minimal to non-existent yet in spite of this you had to move forward. Think about moving across country from Province to Province, shelter to shelter because you are only able to stay for minimal periods of time, or you were moved out quickly because somehow your whereabouts became known to the perpetrator(s)? Making new friends, but soon you must leave them behind all the while thinking ahead and asking yourself “will the next City we move to be the place we set up our roots and rebuild our lives?” The journey was not only long it was extremely and systemically abusive. After tolerating this for eight years, it finally ended with the name changes. Elated by their newly restored freedom and the simple fact they literally survived all the other abuses inflicted upon them during that time – it was a symbol of being a true survivor. Their new lives began when they were granted and received their UPSNC, details of which were outlined in a 2 page Court Order that contained approximately 12 short paragraph sentences.
Janet Doe (a young woman) has voiced her truth in a letter written to all members in the AB legislature, presented and tabled by Heather Forsyth, MLA Wildrose Alliance in support of this family’s right to immediate justice and its rightful resolutions.
And this is the letter from “Janet Doe”
ALBERTA GOVERNMENT NEGLIGENT BREACH
OF OUR UNPUBLISHED SECURE NAME CHANGES
To all the members of the Alberta Legislature:
When I first found out about the breach by the Alberta Government I felt very angry, worried, scared, and hurt. I can not explain the feelings of betrayal that rushed through me at that moment. It was like slamming your hand in a door. It makes you feel sick to your stomach, like you are going to pass out. All the emotions and “what ifs” continued racing through my mind like cars speeding around a race track. “Am I going to die” young before I’ve had the chance to live and experience the accomplishment of all my passions, goals, and dreams young people think about doing in their life? The black hole feeling of the possibility that I would have to give up my professional career that has been put on hold because of this.
My mom may have to give up her career too because some of our professional goals and passions are the same. A life I dreamed of having since I was very young and that was only able to fully happen when our secure name changes were completed a few years back. Daily, all I could think about was losing the life my mom and I worked so hard to build. The hardships, challenges, and sacrifices we were forced to make to build our new lives was a long journey too. A few of the changes included having to walk away from the home my mom and I lived in when I was young, moving from shelter to shelter across Canada from a young age in order to be safe and my mom working to get our secure name changes, her career, never seeing or speaking to the people who were in your life, making short term friends along the way, continually leaving them behind, but there is so much more. I did not ever think that the rough and traumatic past would ever resurface and that people would want us to go through all of it again. In my mind, that part of the past was finalized and the door had been nailed shut.
I could not believe that the very people who were supposed to be protecting us could make such a careless life-threatening mistake when the instructions I have seen were so simple and clear. The instructions are written in a 2 page Court document and there are 12 short sentences to be exact.
It was 7 months after the Alberta Government was contacted about the breach that my mom and I finally got the chance to meet with someone from the Government. Those people were Ms. XXXXXXXX and Mr. XXXXXXXXXX. I remember the day my mom and I got the call letting us know that Ms. XXXXXX and another person would be meeting with us the next day. A feeling of relief came over me at the beginning of the meeting as they appeared very anxious to get the issue resolved, or so I thought. I felt as if things were finally going to get resolved right away. I found out shortly after that it was only just the beginning of a very long, hurtful, and emotional journey for my mom and I.
On the day of the meeting (March 18th, 2010) we discussed the matter further and they assured us that they would take care of everything. Ms. XXXXXX looked me directly in the eyes and told me “I will not do what everyone else has done.” In my mind, that meant she would make sure the issue was dealt with quickly and would not leave me or my mother hanging. Well, this is exactly what she did.
When I walked out of the meeting on March 18th, 2010 I had my great doubts regarding Ms. XXXXXX’s reassuring statement however, from a very young age my mom has continually instilled that people need a chance until they prove otherwise. Though my thoughts were still doubtful I decided I would give her (Ms. XXXXXX) a chance. The games by the Government eventually began, which her actions proved my first thoughts to be correct. It is really hard to believe as my stomach feels sick thinking about the fact that these people who claimed in the meeting they were very concerned and told us that they help the less fortunate by volunteering. Oh my God! If the people they are supposed to help only new the real truth (the behind the scenes and what they want their friends, family and the public to see) I believe organizations would turn down their offers in a heartbeat even if it was to volunteer. For me, I would run fast and far, wouldn’t you?
It is now February 20th, 2011 and 19 months later. The situation still has yet to be resolved and our lives and freedom back. Remember, my mom and I will still have to adjust our lives now and there is a greater possibility of having to change my complete future because of the Alberta Government’s negligence.
Truthfully, throughout all these past months I find it mind-blowing and unbelievable that the Government keeps portraying to our society that we can trust and have faith in them. They are here to listen and to speak for the voices of the people by taking care of important issues, when in actual fact they are dishonest and only thinking of themselves and their personal needs. I was shocked when I heard or read the news about some of the people running for the Premier position and some who are still working for the Government pretending that nothing has happened. One day, the public will know the truth so the people can make the right informed decisions. We will see if they agree with me that they personally tell the public one thing and their actions behind closed doors will tell the complete opposite. Karma one day always catches up with people because I know that “what goes around always comes around.”
The actions or should I say inactions by many of the people reading my letter, here is your opportunity to right the wrong when decisions must be made. I want you all to know that I will not be bullied by anyone including the Government. I will not give up or go away until our matter is completely resolved. Our settlement offer was given to XXXXXX last year.
I am not foolish to the manipulative tactics people or organizations do to harm others in some way to get them to shut up, or to fear for their lives so much that they shut up. I have had to fight for my life and freedom in the past so in the event people try to get back at me for standing up and speaking my voice, they will not succeed because I am not afraid to speak the truth even if others do not like or agree with what I am saying. I have gotten over the first shock when I learned from a young age that people would actually try to do this to someone when we are told to express ourselves honestly and share how we feel. I have seen first hand what this is like and have read many stories, watched documentaries on the Fifth Estate and W5 about other people who have and continue to experience this and are not believed. It’s like a bunch of kids getting in trouble, not wanting to get in trouble because they know there will be consequences. Instead they may choose to get back at the person or people that told the truth about what really happened and then go after them in a private way to punish them for their actions. Look at Mr. Assange from Wikileaks he is really cool. As a young person, I love what he is doing because he is not afraid to expose the truth. How about the politician Raj Sherman from Edmonton or the hundreds of other advocates, regular people, survivors of violence and abuse in the past? I am trying to believe that this will not happen to me or my mom as we tried to settle this with very few people knowing but were left with no choice but to petition other people for their help and make the situation public, anonymously. Our goal from the very first day has been not to waste other people’s money having lawyer’s battle it out in court when it could be better used to help other victims (survivors) of crime like us, the homeless, and others less fortunate, do you agree?
When push comes to shove and a situation like ours does occur it just gets passed from one person to the next without any resolutions. What’s that doing for anyone? I believe that there are numerous others going through the same serious situation we did and may require “Unpublished Secure Name Changes” too. Will the same thing happen to them because we have asked to be shown proof that the policies and procedures have changed so that no other person will need to experience what we have, and will because of the negligence.
After all the people contacted in the beginning, our file was clearly given to Ms. XXXXXX for a reason. It appears that she has failed along with all the others so far named in the news article I have attached. I guess people need to be sure who they are choosing to brainstorm in resolving issues of extreme urgency just like ours. The thing I do not understand is if these people do not want to deal with the files that they are trustingly handed, then why work in the Government? Maybe they should think about getting a different job, yah think?
The Government is not in place for the elected or appointed people to kick people to the curb and have the benefits of walking around with a flashy title, and huge paycheck. No! The Government was created so the people’s best interests would be looked after or so I was thought to believe from the information I learned in school. If no one is taking care of the situations they are handed and just hold onto them until the other party gives up, they are bullied or threatened to give up, then how can you expect our society to take the Government seriously in any situation, let alone trust them. Am I right?
If my mom had not raised me the way she did in which to “stand up for what I believe and know is right,” I probably would have given up by now just like so many other families do because the journey is not any easy one, for anyone. Again, I will assure you with every breath I take I will not give up because what the Government did was wrong and they must be held accountable in every way for their actions. Plus, I want this situation to be put to rest so I can move on and finally enjoy my life as a young adult because so many years growing up in a normal way like my friends, was previously taken away.
Since finding out about the breach in August 2009 my life has changed drastically and has affected my health more and more because our situation has dragged on so long. I have been sick a lot with colds, the flu, severe anxiety that causes my heart to race and restricts my breathing, as well as, pounding headaches that are increasing as the time goes on. Colds and the flu have happened in the past but were not frequent. The other symptoms I am mentioning have appeared because of this situation and the unknown future ahead of us until our situation is resolved. The amount of emotional stress that I have taken on during this whole battle against the Alberta Government has been an emotional rollercoaster going round and round. Here we are 11 months (approximately 330 days) since the meeting with Ms. XXXXXX and Mr. XXXXXX; 19 months (approximately 570 days) since the date we found out about the breach and my mom and I have received no compensation for everything we have been through. The justice we and financial settlement we deserve in this is no different from what other people would expect.
I really want the Government to do some serious thinking about their behaviours and actions to ensure this does not happen to anyone else. When it comes to children and their families I have seen so many kids go through what I have and the system has done nothing except put them through more unnecessary hurt and heartache instead of helping them, now is that really fair to them? Think about you going home tonight and grabbing your suitcases, packing everything you can fit in it, walking away from your home, friends, family just to name a few, never to return, speak or see any of them ever again. There is a whole lot more than just a piece of paper changing your name and social insurance number. Have you really taken a second to think about what is required to protect yourself? I am a true survivor, would you be one if you were forced to make all the changes and necessary decisions my mom and I have had to do for many years and still do because of the identity change. Things will not be the same for us, ever.
At the end of the day, you can empathize all you want but unless you have walked in my shoes, or moccasins as I am Metis, you will not ever be able to understand or feel all the real emotions that go along with it. If you did, then there would be some serious changes in lightening speed.
I expect this situation to be completely resolved by noon on Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011 because the people who have known about this have had 19 months (approximately 570 days) to make it happen. This is more than enough reasonable time, would you agree?
And again from Mr. Nigel Empett of Calgary:
To date, not only has the AB Government ignored the pleas to resolve this matter for this young Canadian Metis woman who has also persistently and endlessly advocated for her family’s rights. The heart-wrenching reality is others referred to in two previous news articles including another 1,000+ advocacy organizations and groups contacted domestically and internationally during this 19-month; includes numerous media journalists, native women’s organizations, women’s shelters, Human Rights organizations, Senators, MLA’s, MP’s, MPP’s, independent advocates, lawyers, numerous celebrity advocates such as Ellen DeGeneres, Oprah Winfrey, Whoopi Goldberg and Barbara Walters – The View, Nancy Grace, etc; never responding to the correspondence, voicemail messages for a call back, a few offers to help came along but during follow-up you get an answering machine and the person(s) remain unreachable, many organization’s representatives stating they thought this emergent and exigent pleas for assistance were a “HOAX”; “I never got the information”, though communications were done by Fax, Email, and personal confidential phone calls with voice messages being left. The list of excuses were endless. Other horrific episodes during this time included Janet Doe writing a personal letter to the previous Governor General, Michaelle Jean followed by six phone calls all of which were ignored.
Information was also previously sent to the United Nations and Amnesty International, and as of yesterday, Amnesty International Canada informed Janet’s mother that though this situation is horrific and extremely serious “this situation is not within their mandate, and since they prepare six years in advance it is not in their mandate either over the next six years.” That being said, do the “Mission Statements”, “About Us”, or “What We Do” pages posted by these organizations truly represent what they say they do? Have these groups also been silenced through Government control when it comes to issuing funds as long as their opinions expressed coincide with Government approval.
Are the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and the UN Rights of a Child et al only for the select few? Do they really have any credibility at all? From this family’s personal experiences, it doesn’t appear to be the case.
This family has endured enough trauma, abuse, and hardships. Having been provided with an admission of guilt by the AB Government it seems incomprehensible that this Government would prefer a lengthy and expensive lawsuit in an already backlogged Court system rather than settle this matter, quickly and privately saving thousands of taxpayer’s dollars. The Government’s irrational desire to let this go to court appears to be an excuse to put this family in even more danger as their identities may need to be revealed if a personal appearance is ordered.
(Comments and opinions of Editorials, Letters to the Editor, and comments from readers are purely their own and don’t necessarily reflect those of the owners of the Cornwall Free News, their staff, or sponsors.)
We await further supporting documents as this case unfolds. So my first question would be why the local media have not picked up this story? What would your questions be? You can post them below.