‘We have failed as a society’: Commission on Quebec youth protection begins
MONTREAL – The Laurent Commission, which aims to look into Quebec’s youth protection system, began Tuesday morning in Montreal.
“We have failed as a society. To be here today is a statement of failure," said Régine Laurent, the special commission’s chairperson.
She invited those present to take a moment and think of the seven-year-old girl who died in a case of alleged mistreatment, while being followed by child services.
“It's sad to be forced to be here today,” Laurent noted, saying the case shocked Quebecers across the province.
The nurse and former labour leader was chosen to preside over the commission, which will include lawmakers and other experts.
The commission will look into several aspects of the province’s youth protection system, including its funding, organizational structure and rules.
"Too often, we see people saying, 'It's not my responsibility, it's their responsibility,'" Quebec Premier François Legault said at the announcement of the independent commission in May – just days after the girl’s death in Granby.
"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."
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.
The commission will also hear from young adults who went through the youth protection system as children.
The commission will have 18 months to do its work, with a report and recommendations expected to be submitted to the government in November 2020.
-- with files from The Canadian Press.