Thursday, January 29, 2009
For the sake of the children?
One year ago today - January 29 2008 - Western Canadians were shocked to hear about a 25 year-old native father Christopher PAUCHAY, who was found half-dead from hypothermia in a snowbank only a few meters from a friends home. After a late night drinking binge, he had foolishly decided to walk the short distance to his home into a -50C blizzard clothed in nothing more than a light golf-type jacket. Alone, he may have done us a favour, but he had with him his 2 young daughters - 1yr old Santana and 3 yr old Kaydance - dressed only in diapers and Tshirts - also woefully inadequate for the circumstances. By the time he recovered enough to be understood 8 hours later, a frantic search for the girls found them both dead of exposure - again only meters from his home. His common-law wife and the girls mother, Tracey JIMMY was elsewhere drinking heavily that night with friends.
PAUCHAY plead guilty to criminal negligence causing death and before Xmas was released under bail conditions into this small, remote community of Yellow Quill 250km east of Saskatoon SK. He was re-arrested and charged with breech of these bail conditions on two occasions being Dec 16 and Jan 8 - hardly surprising in such a small place addled with substance abuse problems - of consuming alcohol and being in the presence of alcohol being consumed.
However instead of receiving his sentence from the Judge, he requested a "native sentencing circle", a recent "innovation" for addressing the epidemic of crime that has been growing among the aboriginal communities. A circle may consist of upto 40 people. This one will have at least 22 - 5 family members, 4 community, 1 probation officer, 1 mental health officer, 2 members of the bands justice committee, 1 RCMP, 2 others for each of the victims, at least 2 elders and 2 facilitators. The mother has elected not to attend.
If there is Hell on earth, this man will know it. Only he can live it. Meanwhile it takes an army of enablers to tell us that he alone was responsible. No one tried to stop him? No one thought that Mum should be called about the circumstances? In these communities 2 or more extended family's usually share the same home. Drinking to such excess with children around struck no-one as dangerous? No one stopped drinking when he was on bail?
It seems to me that there is lot's of blame to go around. How is it that our current Family Law system erects such huge barriers to fathers who desperately want to parent their children and then often criminalizes them for this behaviour. While at the same time, heap resources on communities that are dysfunctional to the point of criminality and enable them to make deadly decisions for their kids.
Our Courts are failing us all.