Friday, November 29, 2013


We have received word that Loren Humeny has passed away recently after being diagnosed with cancer and battling the disease for a while. Loren was the social worker charged with the responsibilities associated with the Paul and Zabeth Bayne case which occupied so much attention for over four years as they sought to recover custody of their children.

I had one private conversation with him in the hallway of the Chilliwack courthouse building as we waited for the court case to begin. I learned then, that this man was a family man and a community man and there were aspects of his job with which he was uncomfortable. I became certain then that he did not like being typecast as a villain.

I am saddened to hear of his death and I am sorry for his family's loss of someone whom they loved.

Monday, November 25, 2013


The entire six part series can be referenced here at the Edmonton Journal. It begins with this ...
Karen Kleiss, Edmonton Journal
Darcy Henton, Calgary Herald
Photo: Greg Southam
"In 2009, the Edmonton Journal asked the government of Alberta how many children had died in its care that year. The government couldn’t provide a number, nor could it answer other questions about foster care deaths. It was not new; reporters had been having trouble getting this information for years. So, the Journal put in a request to see all internal government reports related to the deaths of children in care from 1999 to 2009. The government declined, citing privacy issues. But in June 2013, after a four-year legal battle, Alberta’s access to information commission forced the government to release information on each child that had died in its care between 1999 and 2013."


This is hot off the press news this morning. Two newspapers in Edmonton and Calgary have had staff journalists doing a several month investigation of Alberta's children's ministry and specifically the numbers and kinds of deaths of children and youth in foster care over the past 15 years. It's appalling that the number is so high and that most of these have been undisclosed, that is, kept secret from the public.

Video: Dead in Six Days: The Story of Baby Delonna

Fatal care: read the full series

Editorial: Secrecy in child welfare system fails the powerless

Fatal Care series: Let us know what you think

Fatal Care: read the documents

Fatal care: Foster care tragedies cloaked in secrecy

The investigation: Why — and how — we did it

Five other cases of deaths in care the public should know about

No trial, no answers for foster family who tried to help raise troubled 15-year-old
She was murdered and dumped in a ditch in the remote, heavily forested area northwest of Rocky Mountain...

Five other cases of deaths in care the public should know about
A 14-year-old girl from the Blood First Nation near Lethbridge disappeared on her way home from school...

Editorial: Secrecy in child welfare system fails the powerless
In the middle of a blinding snowstorm, an Edmonton Journal team drove west recently to visit the parents...

Monday, November 18, 2013


Rob Ford is a life coach right now. Here is what he is teaching Canadians. We have not seen a repentant Rob Ford, not yet. We have seen a proudly apologetic Rob Ford. We have also witnessed defiance. Evidently, apology and defiance can partner together. They are not mutually exclusive. Repentance and defiance however, are diametrical - opposites. Repentance in this situation, can only be authenticated by Mr. Ford’s resignation from the office of Mayor of Toronto. Apology and repentance are not parallel terms or character statements. The citizens of Toronto, the City Councillors, the network of Canadian Mayors deserve more than apology now.

Saturday, November 16, 2013


Here is another thought from my friend Ray Ferris. Ray Ferris is a retired child-protection worker and the author of  The Art of Child Protection.

In Britain child protection legislation is national, but the execution of the work is delegated to local authorities, such as cities and towns, or county councils. Local authorities set up child welfare services, but are subject to accountability to the national government. The U.K. gets its fair share of child protection horror stories, but there does seem to be a difference about how they are handled. Also it is much more possible to have an efficient service in one municipality and a terrible one in the next.

Following the death in two different municipalities of children, in which the social workers repeatedly ignored compelling evidence, a judicial inquiry took place. The Haringey authority and another one were declared to be “unfit for purpose.” That has a nice ring to it and would apply here don’t you think?

Friday, November 15, 2013


Rob Ford is a man of faith. He believes in himself absolutely. He unreservedly believes that he is meant to be Mayor and that he is unimpeachable by virtue of being Rob Ford, and that his agenda and solutions for Toronto are indispensable. So committed is he to this faith that a compromise, a leave of absence to seek help is deemed by him to be a surrender. Not his occasional drug taking or dishonesty but his unqualified faith is dehumanizing him and corrupting him.

For all our sakes we wish to bestow power upon the wise. Sadly, all of us, including the wise, share a potential for corruptibility. Bestow power on a person and you create a true test of character. History and experience inform us that power attracts the corruptible. Invariably, power in human hands will be liable to abuse. We can never assume that power and wisdom are synonymous. These are truths we are relearning as we watch Rob Ford's world unravel. I hope he receives help willingly and survives as a father and husband but not as a Mayor.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


Rob Ford doesn’t get it and he doesn’t want to hear it. He needs help. I have viewed video of Rob Ford in today’s Toronto City Council meeting. Thirty of his fellow council members stood to tell him that he should take a leave of absence and seek help. His responses indicate that he has no idea about authentic leadership.

Thursday, November 7, 2013


Ray Ferris thinks I am more forgiving of social workers than he would be, so he wrote the following. 

I think if you want to assess the social workers properly then you need to go back to basic principles. This is what I always start off with and when you do that, the matters usually become quite clear. The basic mandate of child protection is to ensure that a child can be made safe at home, or in alternative care. This principle is firmly embodied in the CFCSA in which there are many admonitions to extend help to parents in making sure their children are protected.

Sunday, November 3, 2013


Justice is a garment prepared for residents of this planet. It is woven from billions of threads, knit together into a strong and integrated fabric. Love is the thread and it has produced a fabric of integrity.

Injustice occurs when countless numbers of these threads are pulled from the garment. The wearer of the garment is then uncovered and vulnerable.