Manitoba children's advocate now free to review Tina Fontaine case: minister

WINNIPEG -- Manitoba's family services minister says the children's advocate is now free to investigate whether the child-welfare system failed a Manitoba teen whose body was found in the Red River.

See Full Article

Kerri Irvin-Ross said the arrest of a suspect in Tina Fontaine's killing means the advocate can move forward with her review, which could be made public if new legislation is in place by then.

The report should be able to answer "what did the system do or not do to support Tina," Irvin-Ross said Tuesday.

"If the children's advocate perceives that this is a document that she wants to share, she will be able to share it," Irvin-Ross said. "It will answer many questions that Manitobans have had."

Children's advocate Darlene MacDonald was unavailable for comment, but spokeswoman Ainsley Krone said MacDonald will meet with police soon to discuss when she can move forward.

"We want to ensure we are not interfering in any way with any criminal proceedings as we conclude our review," Krone said.

Raymond Cormier, 53, was arrested last week and charged with second-degree murder in Tina's death. Her body was found wrapped in a bag in the Red River on Aug. 17, 2014.

Cormier waived a court appearance Tuesday and the case was put over to Jan. 8. His lawyer, Pam Smith, said her client will fight the charges.

Tina had only been in Winnipeg a couple of weeks after leaving her great-aunt's home on the Sagkeeng First Nation, about 70 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg.

She was in the care of Child and Family Services, but police said Tina became an exploited youth in the Manitoba capital. They say she met Cormier at a residence they both frequented.

Court documents allege Tina was killed around Aug. 10, 2014 -- 10 days after she was first reported missing from foster care. Police picked her up two days before it's believed she was killed, but did not take her into custody.

Tina's family has said she was found a few hours later, passed out in a downtown alley, and taken to hospital. She was picked up by social workers and placed in a downtown hotel, but ran away again shortly before she was killed.

Irvin-Ross said the office of the children's advocate automatically investigates when a child dies in care, but the Fontaine investigation was on hold while police searched for a suspect. The province did its own internal review and has made changes since then, she said.

It has ended the practice of housing children in hotels, expanded facilities available for high-risk girls and supported an indigenous-led prevention program on Fontaine's reserve.

"We started our work immediately of what can we do to better support children within our system," Irvin-Ross said.

Critics say much more must be done. Ian Wishart, a Progressive Conservative legislature member, pointed to a recent Winnipeg police report which found 83 per cent of 550 missing persons reports officers dealt with involved kids in government care.

"That has not changed," he said. "Instead of running away from hotels, they're running away from group homes, but they're still running away.

"We still have a problem out there that we still need to deal with."



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • China landslide site evacuated over concerns of further slides

    World News CTV News
    BEIJING - Rescue crews have been ordered to evacuate the site of a deadly landslide in southwestern China over concerns of a second landslide. The official Xinhua News Agency says the order was issued Monday after radar detected shifts in the ground where the mountains collapsed early Saturday. Source
  • Trump scrambles for votes as Republicans express doubt over health care bill

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON - Senate Republicans skeptical about a GOP health overhaul bill are expressing some doubt about holding a vote on the measure this week. Lawmakers are awaiting a key analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. Source
  • Police commander among 10 killed by gunmen in Mexican state

    World News CTV News
    XALAPA, Mexico - Gunmen burst into a restaurant and killed the federal police commander for Veracruz and a second officer in another bloody day for the troubled Mexican state. The police officers were among at least 10 people slain in Veracruz state on Saturday, including four children from one family, according to local officials. Source
  • Pakistan fuel truck death toll rises to 157

    World News CBC News
    Pakistani officials say the death toll from a massive fuel truck fire has risen to 157 as four more of the victims died overnight. The truck was travelling from the southern port city of Karachi to Lahore, the Punjab provincial capital, when the driver lost control and crashed on a highway outside Bahawalpur early Sunday. Source
  • Pakistan raises death toll in deadly fuel truck fire

    World News CTV News
    MULTAN, Pakistan - Pakistani officials say the death toll from a massive fuel truck fire the previous day has risen to 157 as four more of the victims died overnight. The truck was travelling from the southern port city of Karachi to Lahore, the Punjab provincial capital, when the driver lost control and crashed on a highway outside Bahawalpur early Sunday. Source
  • Firefighters battle intense wildfires in Utah, California

    World News CBC News
    Better weather conditions have limited the growth of a wildfire in Utah that has prompted the evacuation of 1,500 people from hundreds of homes and cabins, officials said Sunday night. In Southern California, a wildfire broke out after a car crashed on a freeway and prompted evacuations of nearby homes in the city of Santa Clarita. Source
  • LCBO, workers quiet as midnight strike deadline passes

    Canada News CBC News
    A strike deadline came and went early Monday morning, with no news from either the LCBO or the union representing its employees. Workers have said a strike is possible just before Canada Day. Workers have previously said a strike is possible before Canada Day. Source
  • Tentative contract agreement averts threatened strike by LCBO workers

    Canada News CBC News
    A strike deadline came and went early Monday morning, with no news from either the LCBO or the union representing its employees. Workers have said a strike is possible just before Canada Day. Workers have previously said a strike is possible before Canada Day. Source
  • Intense wildfires in Utah, California force evacuations

    World News CTV News
    SALT LAKE CITY - Better weather conditions have limited the growth of a wildfire in Utah that has prompted the evacuation of 1,500 people from hundreds of homes and cabins, officials said Sunday night. In Southern California, a wildfire broke out after a car crashed on a freeway and prompted evacuations of nearby homes in the city of Santa Clarita. Source
  • No arrests as anti-Islam demonstrators clash with counter-protesters at Calgary city hall

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    Despite some heated moments, no arrests were made at an anti-Islam rally at Calgary City Hall Sunday afternoon. The anti-Islam protest was originally scheduled for Saturday but the group organizing it, the World Coalition Against Islam (WCAI), had their permit pulled by the city. Source