Monday, October 30, 2006

Hallowe'en safety tips

Hi there, I wanted to share some last minute tips to keep safe tomorrow night while you're trick or treating.

I know most of them you already know but you just in case you forgot:

  • Keep costumes short enough that they won't create a tripping hazard.
  • Whenever you can please wear reflective clothing or accesories
  • Bring flashlights with you.
  • Always travel with a group, stick close together and make sure you're all together when you leave each house.
  • If you need to wear a mask make sure the eye holes are BIG, use scissors (with your parents if you're young) to cut them bigger if they aren't big enough, makeup is best though.
  • If you decide to wear a mask, lift or remove it before you cross a street or driveway.
  • Avoid fireworks and firecrackers, in case your costume catches fire remember STOP-DROP and ROLL.
  • Have your parents check your candy before eating it, don't eat anything that's not in it's original package or is homemade (unless your parents say it's ok and know the person who gave it to you).
  • Don't go to houses that have no lights or front porch light on.
  • If you are old enough to trick or treat without an adult (just your group of friends) make sure your parents know the route you will take and when to expect you home.
  • Bring a watch you can read in the dark (in case your flashlight battery runs out).
  • Never go into a strangers home.
  • Be careful with strange animals, often with the noise of firecrackers and firewroks, coupled with strange looking kids in costumes, animals can become very scared and may become aggresive. Always ask before you pet a strange dog.

I hope everyone has a great, safe halloween!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Legal Age of Consent

Did you know that the legal age of consent in Canada is 14 years old?
This means that anyone can have sex with a child of 14 as long as that child will say that they consented to having sex.
I think it's time that we change this. The US has a legal age of 16, even 18 in some places.
I am totally open to the fact that at 14 or 15 maybe kids are experimenting, not the best idea but understandable. But 14 years old and anyone above 17 is just not sitting well with me personally.

A petition was created by the Children of the Street Society which can be downloaded at the link, take the petition out to your friends and family, I am sure it won't take long to fill up, then mail the completed petitions to:
Children of the Street Society
# 208-1130 Austin Avenue
Coquitlam, BC
V3K 3P5

What are your children dressing up as?

I have noticed in the past few years while shopping for hallowe'en costumes that there are more and more "Pimp" costumes lining store shelves.
I remember being in my early to late teens and looking for any excuse to dress provocatively, I think we were rockers or groupies or something. We wore mini skirts, piled on the make up, crimped our hair. I don't recall ever actually trying to look like a prostitue (not that it makes it a whole lot better).
Now right on the shelves are accesories like canes, rings, big chains, glasses and goblets that all have the words "PIMP" emblazoned in amongst large fake jewels.
I remember watching Pretty Woman and thinking how much fun it would be to work the streets, now we are encouraging our kids and women to become fordder for flashy pimps, this doesn't seem right.
Diane Sowden makes a valid point when she says that dressing up as a pimp or a ho is as appropriate as dressing up as a kkk member or a gay basher. I agree.

"When someone dresses up like a pimp", she said, they may not figure they're dressing up as "a child abuser, a rapist."
But in Sowden's mind, that's exactly what they are.
Music videos have glamorized the lives of "pimps," she said. The word's now so acceptable, that it is often used as an adverb to describe something that's been tricked out and desirable.

"We are glamorizing people being bought and sold and physically abused," she said. And making this behaviour acceptable, she said, is only making it easier for predators to exploit children.
Sowden says she's worried that children might not understand what all this can lead to. Sexual exploitation, she said, comes in many forms and creeps up very skillfully on victims.

She goes around to various schools and organizations educating youths and their parents on what sexual exploitation is. Often, she said, youths are taken by surprise by her information.
"Sometimes it's ladled as partying - people exchange sex to get a ride from one place to another, or sometimes they'll exchange nude photographs over the Internet."
Sometimes, she said, exploitation comes when children exchange sex in return for intangibles - like popularity.
"There are all sorts of things that people need to know."
To find out more about the Children of the Street Society, visit

I hope that the parents of these kids, the kids themselves, and adults dressing up like this, will have the opportunity to see what they are promoting in this way.
In reenforces that this is a glamorous lifestyle, something to strive for and that is so dangerous.
A lot of focus is spent on keeping Hallowe'en safe for kids, I think it's a good pattern to follow.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Reports recomends 'Child Death teams'

Many people are familiar with the beating death of 2 year old Sherry Charlie in 2002. Her uncle, who was also her foster parent at the time, is currently serving a 10 year sentence after eventually pleading guilty to manslaughter.
They system came under intense scrutiny after it many facts were revealed, the public learned that a criminal reord check was never completed (which would have shown this individual had a lengthy record for domestic violence), as well, Sherry's brother (who the uncle initially stated was responsible for Sherry's death) was left in the home for 5 months after his sister 'passed away' after the 'unfortunate mishap'.
Conseqently, Jane Morley released a report.

B.C. must create child-death teams that would act promptly in cases of suspicious child deaths, says the provincial child advocate.
That's the sole recommendation in Jane Morley's 135-page report into events surrounding the 2002 beating death of 19-month-old Sherry Charlie, a case that has prompted continued scrutiny of B.C.'s system for protecting children in care.
"The results of this investigation bring into stark relief the need for such an immediate collaborative response to child deaths of this kind," she writes.
She goes on to state "It would have made all the difference if the coroner, the RCMP, Usma [the aboriginal-run child-services agency caring for Sherry and her brother] and [the Ministry of Children and Family Development] had fully and immediately shared available information".

I can not believe that this is the only recomendation.
Is it even remotely possible that I am the only one who could feel this way?
I wonder where the recomendations are to prevent this type of tragedy from occuring.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Waiting for people to die not an answer

DISABLED: Families need help
Michael Smyth, The Province
Published: Sunday, October 15, 2006

All you fellow parents of young kids out there who find yourselves feeling tired and stressed out, believe me when I say: "I feel your pain!"
But if your kids are healthy -- as mine are, thank God -- then we should all consider ourselves the luckiest people in the world.
Imagine how different our lives would be if one of our kids had been born with a severe disability.
Imagine a child who never progresses beyond the developmental level of a four-year-old. Imagine a child who suffers from constant seizures or who needs round-the-clock attention to care for their every need.
People born developmentally disabled rely on parents and other caregivers who often teeter on the brink of emotional and physical exhaustion.
They need help. Their kids need intensive therapy.
But the new Crown corporation that provides services to developmentally disabled British Columbians and their families is being squeezed in a budget vice.
Many families are simply being told: "There's no money. So there are no services."
"I know a mom with two autistic kids who's at the end of her rope," Dawn Steele from the advocacy group B.C. FamilyNet told me.
"She has one son who has started climbing on to the roof whenever her back is turned. She's been turned down for additional support. I fear for her mental health, actually."
Steele, who has a mildly autistic son, considers herself fortunate. Another friend with a brain-damaged daughter has been on a waiting list for help for four years.
"They lost her file when the new Crown corporation was set up and now she has to begin the application process all over again. She's at her wit's end."
Community Living B.C. is the Crown corporation that took over responsibility for the developmentally disabled last June.
The corporation recently posted new wait-list statistics on its website that will provide little hope for families looking for assistance.
The document says 3,150 developmentally disabled adults are waiting for services that will cost an additional $127 million over the next three years. That leaves the corporation facing a $44-million budget shortfall this fiscal year alone.
"With no money available, the only way these people can get help is if someone receiving assistance now dies," Steele said. "Waiting for 3,000 people to die is no way to run a system."
And consider this: The new waitlist numbers don't include children waiting for services -- estimated by some at 5,000 disabled kids.
Tom Christensen, the cabinet minister responsible, stresses that the budget for services to developmentally disabled adults went up more than $50 million last year -- conveniently omitting the $150 million that was slashed in 2003 and 2004.
As advocates for the disabled plead for immediate help, Christensen has promised a review of the situation in preparation for next year's budget.
With the economy booming, and the government rolling in surplus cash, this is one area that should receive priority attention.
For taxpayers blessed with healthy kids, it should be seen as a privilege to help.
© The Vancouver Province 2006

Friday, October 13, 2006

Protect our kids, urge grannies

Abbotsford News
Oct 12 2006
A father sexually assaulted his little girl over and over again and when he died, the now grown woman jumped on his grave.
That shows the life-long agony and pain of victims of pedophiles, said Gertie Pool of Abbotsford.
Another little girl was victimized by her father and two uncles with pop bottles and she experienced other horrible things that can’t be repeated in public, Pool said.
That poor, innocent child was thrown into a bathtub and told not to tell anyone as her head was pushed under the water.
These are the stories of the survivors living among us – the childhood victims of pedophiles, Pool said.
Mothers and grandmothers in Abbotsford are rising in righteous anger.
“We’re furious,” Pool said.
Why is the federal government allowing pedophiles to continually hurt our children and grandchildren over and over again? asked Pool as she presented a 3,200-name petition yesterday to Abbotsford (Conservative) MP Ed Fast.
The “Furious Grandmas” as part of Abbotsford Court Watchers, are asking the federal government to improve child protection legislation in Canada and to create mandatory sentencing laws for convicted pedophiles and other sex offenders.
Many people are upset that the government is failing to protect our little children as the recent case of sex predator Peter Whitmore shows, she said.
Whitmore, 35, formerly of Chilliwack, terrorized two children in Manitoba when he was released from prison after serving less than five years for sexually assaulting six other victims.
“How come the government isn’t protecting our little children?” asked Pool.
Experts say a pedophile is “incurable” and one pedophile abuses about 150 children, on average, during his lifetime, she said.
“We’re saying that, as grandmas, this is enough,” Pool told Fast. “We want change.”
Mandatory federal sentences would help the ongoing problem of inadequate and inconsistent sentences being handed out by judges in Canada, said Pool, noting that B.C. judges tend to be more lenient than judges in Alberta and Ottawa.
Fast said he will present the petition to the House of Commons and share the concerns of the constituents of Abbotsford to the government.
The local MP said he supports taking any steps that will help protect children.
Fast, in fact, recently introduced in the House of Commons a private members bill to amend the law on luring children on the Internet.
The bill, if given final approval, would increase from five to 10 years in prison the maximum sentence for persons convicted of using the internet to lure a child for sexual purposes.
The House of Commons recently approved second reading of Bill C-277.
Fast said he will now ask the Minister of Justice (Vic Toews) to take a serious look at how the Canadian government deals with sex predators.
The MP said there is a certain amount of discretionary powers given to Canadian judges, but it is up to the government to determine if the sentences are severe enough.
Dr. Ron Langevin, Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, published a 25 year study on sex offenders, concluding that 80 per cent commit another crime.
Currently, 44 per cent of convicted sex offenders don’t serve any time in prison and of those who go to prison, only 14 per cent complete a sex offender treatment program, according to Langevin’s study.
© Copyright 2006 Abbotsford News

University College of the Fraser Valley expert testifies....

UCFV crime expert testifies at human trafficking hearing
Black PressOct 10 2006
Human trafficking is not an issue usually associated with the University College of the Fraser Valley.
But when Ottawa needed an expert on human trafficking they called on UCFV criminologist Yvon Dandurand. He testified last week before the House of Commons Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Status of Women.
Protecting the victims of human trafficking - who usually only come to light as offenders charged with prostitution or drug trafficking or as ghostly figures sneaking across a border - is the first step in defeating what the United Nations calls a $10-billion a year industry, Dandurand told Black Press in a telephone interview from Ottawa.
"Everyone has got to have one thing in mind: protecting the victims," he said. "All the rest will follow."
The UN estimates that 700,000 people are victims of human traffickers around the world each year, the vast majority of them women and children.
The RCMP's Criminal Intelligence Directorate estimates that up to 2,200 people are trafficked from Canada into the United States each year. Canada is considered a destination and transit country for women who are trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation, most of them from Asia, Latin America, Russia and Eastern Europe.
Dandurand said more "pro-active" police investigations and law enforcement is needed to bring victims to light, instead of waiting to discover them as a result of other crimes.
"We have to create an environment in which it is safe for victims to come forward and seek help," he said, keeping in mind that they are "seriously at risk of reprisal or intimidation" from their captors here in Canada while their families face "terrorism" back in their homeland.
"Successful human traffickers have become adept at using various simple but very effective methods of psychological control over their victims," Dandurand said. "They know how to break a victim's self-confidence and self-efficacy, crush their hopes, and condition them to resign themselves to a life of exploitation in which they are trapped."
He recommended that the standing committee look at better federal and provincial coordination, more systematic implementation of Canada's new human trafficking laws, and investing more resources in research and development of victim services.
Canadian immigration officers are able to issue temporary resident permits to victims of human trafficking, which allows access to health-care benefits.
Last year, UCFV published a 'Guide on Human Trafficking for Canadian Law Enforcement' based on an international version also developed at UCFV.
The guide advised law enforcement agencies to "not go it alone" and to work at developing joint strategies with other organizations, including victim protection and victim services organizations.
Dandurand, dean of research and industry liaison, has studied organized crime and international terrorism for over 10 years.
© Copyright 2006 Abbotsford News

Former Teacher Accused of 16 Sex Crimes

I knew I was seduced, says witness
Teacher introduced me to oral sex during school sailing trip

Susan Lazaruk, The Province
Published: Friday, October 13, 2006

A student of the former teacher accused of 16 sexual crimes against teenage girls broke down on the stand yesterday as she recounted the first time he seduced her, on a summer sailing trip.
The woman took a moment to compose herself and daubed her face with a tissue as she recalled that she begged off a side kayaking trip on the school-sponsored sailing trip to the Queen Charlottes in 1981 because she was suffering from hay fever. Instead, she engaged in oral sex on the boat with her teacher, Tom Ellison.
The striking blond accuser, who has just turned 40 and who, like most other complainants, wasn't identified, said Ellison agreed to stay behind with her so she wouldn't be alone, which led to him performing oral sex on her while she held a pillow over her head.
Another complainant was accused by the defence lawyer yesterday of making up her story, which included smoking marijuana and drinking wine as well as sexual activity with Ellison when she was as young as 14.
And that complainant's younger sister said that at 13 she smoked marijuana and drank Black Tower wine with Ellison.
She said a number of teachers at Prince of Wales Secondary on Vancouver's west side regularly handed out free drugs to students.
It was the third day of the Vancouver Provincial Court trial of Ellison, 63.
He has pleaded not guilty to 12 counts of gross indecency and four counts of indecent or sexual assault against 12 former students of Prince of Wales Secondary.
The defence isn't expected to dispute many of the allegations but plans to question the constitutionality of the the gross-indecency charge, which has been replaced by sexual assault in the Criminal Code.
On the 1981 trip, part of the experimental outdoor curriculum at Prince of Wales called Quest, Complainant No. 6 said she was lying down on Ellison's berth in the bow, where court heard he had slept with many of his female students.
Ellison, then 38, asked the then-16-year-old if she wanted a massage, which was part of the pattern he had used leading up to alleged sexual activity with other girls.
She agreed and said Ellison massaged her and took off her clothing, and they kissed.
"This incident led to my first experience of oral sex, which Tom performed on me at the time," she said.
Ellison, six feet tall and excessively thin, sat upright in his chair and stared ahead or down during her testimony, occasionally looking sideways at her.
She told court she remembered after the experience feeling "special" and that she was "infatuated" with him.
The witness said that on that occasion, and on the 10 occasions that oral sex was repeated the following autumn on Ellison's live-aboard boat in False Creek, she put a pillow over her head.
"I didn't want to be seen or heard, and it felt safer," she said, weeping. "Because it felt wrong, because he's a teacher and I was a student."
She said Ellison told her he loved her, but she ended the trysts when she discovered he had also been sexually involved with her best friend, another complainant,
Laura Anderson, who testified on Tuesday.
When they found out about one another, the pair confronted him at his boat, once after high school and again in the mid-1990s.
"You now know for sure you weren't the only one, you weren't that special," said defence lawyer Bill Smart in cross-examination, suggesting a motive for the first confrontation.
He also pointed out, as he has with the other complainants, her willingness and consent.
"You rode your bike down to his boat in order to have him perform oral sex on you," he said.
And Smart noted Ellison didn't pressure her to perform oral sex on him or engage in intercourse after she resisted one attempt."I knew I was seduced," she said angrily. "It was a very, very manipulative, clever seduction. I was very much infatuated and I was very much looking for that type of attention."
Smart noted she and Anderson confronted Ellison in the 1990s only after they learned he wouldn't be charged at that time, in the early stages of the criminal investigation.
"I wanted him to know that I knew [our relationship wasn't exclusive] and that this was something he was never going to forget," Complainant No. 6 told the court.
"I remember telling him I was much more clear after having two children myself, two girls, of the impact of his actions."
Earlier, Complainant No. 4 came under repeated fire from Smart about details of her story.
"I suggest none of that happened," he said after she seemed to contradict her own testimony.
"You can suggest that, but you'd be wrong," she shot back.
Unlike with Complainant No. 6, during this cross-examination, Ellison leaned back in his chair facing the woman, with his arms crossed and a smirk on his face.
Also yesterday, Complainant No. 5 testified that Ellison physically removed her panties when she refused to strip for skinny dipping on a sailing trip with him and other students in the summer after she graduated.
She also told court she slept with Ellison on his boat on that trip and both gave each other full-body naked massages that included her breasts but not their genital areas.
During cross-examination, she admitted she told police about six years ago that she didn't consider the encounter sexual.
© The Vancouver Province 2006

Thursday, October 12, 2006

We should know who's educating our kids

I think this is very true, I am surprised it has to be said though. Anyways, now it's been said and it is definately time to do something about it.
Here is a link to Find your MP by postal code Please take a moment to do this, send your MP a letter, I am sure even an email will do, maybe you could even phone their office and let them know you want them to do whatever is possible to ensure that your children are not being taught by someone who is a pedophile.

We should know who's educating our kids
Keep tabs on abusive teachers so they don't strike again

Michael Smyth, The Province
Published: Thursday, October 12, 2006
The sensational and salacious criminal trial of former schoolteacher Tom Ellison serves as a stark reminder of the potential dangers posed to our kids in B.C. public schools.
It should also serve as a swift kick in the pants to a provincial government that seems to have forgotten its promise to protect children from abusive teachers.
It's rapidly approaching two years since the Liberals promised to bring in tough new regulations to report teacher misconduct and ensure school boards don't hire sexual predators to teach in the classroom.
Tom Christensen, then the education minister, vowed to bring in an "employment registry" so school boards could check the background of any prospective teacher.
He also promised clear and strict guidelines for reporting misconduct and disciplinary action to the B.C. College of Teachers.
Parents are still waiting for these critical reforms. The delays are unforgivable. And it's all extremely frustrating for the school trustees who have been fighting for these changes for years.
"School boards need to know if they're hiring appropriate people," Penny Tees, president of the B.C. School Trustees Association, told me yesterday.
Incredible as it may sound, school boards don't have guaranteed access to the complete work histories of prospective teachers.
A registry would allow boards to check exactly where teachers had worked in the past, whether they had ever been found guilty of misconduct and what disciplinary measures were taken against them.
A behind-the-scenes fight has raged over whether such a registry should be made available to the general public so parents can check the classroom record of the people teaching their kids.
I've always been in the public disclosure camp in these sorts of debates, but the immediate priority here is the protection of children.
So the solution for now is simple: Set up the registry and let school boards have access to it. Anything less is irresponsible. And that's what the government has been on this file.
The need for an employment registry came into sharp focus after Abbotsford substitute teacher Serg Lebedoff was allowed to continue teaching in different districts, even though he'd been disciplined at least three times for inappropriate conduct.
He eventually resigned and admitted to having had sex with an underage girl.
Why is the government dragging its feet on this issue? Probably because the Liberals want peaceful relations with the teachers' union to avoid any more politically damaging labour strife.
But pro-union regulations are part of the problem here, too. Currently, a teacher accused of misconduct can delay investigations through the grievance procedure.
As the Ellison trial is proving this week, young kids look up to teachers and are willing to place their deepest trust in them.
It's up to the government to take every step possible to ensure that trust isn't betrayed.
That's not happening and that's a betrayal in itself.
Listen to Nightline B.C. with Michael Smyth every weeknight at 7 p.m. on CKNW, AM 980 Voice mail: 604-605-2004 E-mail:
© The Vancouver Province 2006

Crewman Arrested for Possession of Child Pornography

This is the second time in the past few months that crew from a foreign vessel have been charged in BC for possesion of Child Pornography. I am curious what was found and if this is a new trend or method of trafficking. Maybe I'll send an email.......

Prince Rupert File: 2006-1277
Crewman Arrested for Possession of Child Pornography One non-Canadian citizen has been arrested and charged for possession of child pornography. Theses charges come as a result of a search of an incoming, foreign freighter. On October 7th 2006, Officers from the Canadian Border Services Agency, along with members of the Rural Section of the Prince Rupert RCMP, boarded a freighter that had anchored in the Port of Prince Rupert . During that search, officers located child pornography that was in the possession of a crew member. The adult male crew member, a citizen of the Philippines, is currently being detained in Canada and awaiting his court appearance.
Cst Steve RICHARDS Media Relations Officer Prince Rupert RCMP for Cpl Brad SWECERA Prince Rupert, RCMP Rural Section

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Put Kids First is a non-profit organization dedicated to addressing children's safety issues through community involvement, education and legislation.
We are a group of volunteers who want to create a community where people who agree that chidren's safety is something that needs to be addressed.
Please visit our website at and leave us a comment to let us know how you feel.