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

  • Government 'will not pursue deportation' of former child refugee: Goodale

    Canada News CTV News
    A former child refugee who pleaded guilty to assaulting a police officer will no longer have to fight the federal government in court over his right to stay in Canada. Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale confirmed in a tweet Tuesday that the government “will not pursue deportation” for Abdoul Abdi. Source
  • Nowhere to run: Rohingya hunker down as monsoon arrives

    World News CTV News
    UKHIYA, Bangladesh -- The hill on which the young woman's shelter is being built is so unstable that the earth crumbles under your feet. The threat of landslides is so dire that her neighbours have evacuated. Source
  • The case against Russians indicted for U.S. election cyberattacks

    World News CBC News
    Twelve Russian military intelligence officers are accused of hacking into the computers of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's campaign and of attempting to penetrate voting systems across the U.S. 12 Russians indicted for cyberattacks during U.S. presidential election Source
  • Immigrant children describe hunger and cold in U.S. detention

    World News CTV News
    SANTA ANA, Calif. -- Wet and muddy from their trek across the Mexican border, immigrant children say they sat or lay on the cold, concrete floor of the immigration holding centres where they were taken. Source
  • Missing boy's remains found along North Saskatchewan riverbank

    Canada News CTV News
    MELFORT, Sask. - Police say they have found the remains of a little boy who disappeared in Prince Albert, Sask., in the spring. Sweetgrass Kennedy was last seen on May 10 and Prince Albert police had said evidence suggested the four-year-old fell into the North Saskatchewan River. Source
  • 800 low-cost airline passengers stranded in Montreal for 4 days

    Canada News CTV News
    Eight hundred airline passengers have been stranded in Montreal for the past four days after a low-cost airline cancelled a series of flights to Paris. Spanish airline Level cancelled the first flight on Saturday. Source
  • Trump's stunning Europe trip smashes presidential precedent

    World News CTV News
    HELSINKI -- Plenty of U.S. presidents have created commotion in their travels abroad, but none as much as U.S. President Donald Trump. The president's tumultuous trip across Europe, historians say, smashed the conventions of American leaders on the world stage. Source
  • B.C. anti-gang agency to monitor Hells Angels anniversary party

    Canada News CTV News
    NANAIMO, B.C. -- As many as 300 Hells Angels club members and other outlaw motorcycle gang members are expected to descend on Vancouver Island this weekend. The Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of B.C. Source
  • Forgotten hero in marine disaster honoured by Red Cross in N.L.

    Canada News CTV News
    ST. JOHN'S, N.L. -- Forty-six years ago, Leo Bullen gave up his life when he offered his life-jacket to a small child as a fire raged around them on the schooner Delroy, sinking the ship and claiming the lives of nine people. Source
  • U.S. grand jury indicts woman on charges of being Russian agent

    World News CBC News
    A U.S. grand jury on Tuesday indicted a Russian woman on charges of acting as an agent of the Russian government, the U.S. Justice Department said. Maria Butina, who studied at American University in Washington and is a founder of the pro-gun Russian advocacy group Right to Bear Arms, was arrested on Sunday and is scheduled to appear on Wednesday in federal court in Washington, the department said. Source