Granby girl's death sparks wide-ranging commission into youth protection
Published Thursday, May 30, 2019 2:34PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, May 30, 2019 7:03PM EDT
The Quebec government will launch a wide-ranging independent commission looking into youth protection services after a seven-year-old girl who was followed by child services died in a case of alleged mistreatment.
"There will be a before and after of Granby," said Premier Francois Legault.
Legault, Junior Health Minister Lionel Carmant, who oversees youth protection, and representatives of all main parties at the legislature were on hand to make the announcement at a Quebec City hotel.
"With the Granby case, a lot of people knew," said Carmant. "A lot of people did not do anything. I think that's why everybody is so in shock."
The Coalition Avenir Quebec government has already chosen Regine Laurent, a nurse and former labour leader, to preside over the commission, which will include lawmakers and other experts. The commission will have 18 months to do its work, with a report and recommendations to be submitted to the government in November, 2020.
"Too often we see peole saying 'It's not my responsibility, it's their responsibility,'" said Legault. "Then you have another one saying 'No, it's not me, it's supposed to be them. So we all have to be more responsible."
Laurent said she experienced sadness and anger but also shame that such a thing could happen in Quebec in 2019.
"I want things to change," she said. "I'm determined to find concrete solutions for our children."
The commission will include two co-chairs and nine commissioners, including five experts, and one representative from each of Quebec's four major political parties. After an initial wave of solidarity following the death, opposition parties accused the CAQ of leaving them out of the process, but representatives said partisanship has been put aside to make the commission a success.
"It was a process and it's normal to have some difficulties at the beginning," said Liberal MNA Helene David. "We are all people of good will and we want things to go well."
Legault had promised the inquiry in the days following the death of the seven-year-old from Granby, Que.
The girl's father, 30, and stepmother, 35, were each charged with unlawful confinement while the woman was also charged with aggravated assault. They return to court separately next week in the town about 80 kilometres east of Montreal.
The Crown is looking at the evidence to see if they'll be upgrading the charges the pair face.
- With files from The Canadian Press