A litte spice for the research project?

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NOTE:  Hearings resume at 09:00 this morning (Thursday, 31 May 2007).

Yes.  That’s 9am. Early!  Once again things are running a bit behind schedule.  That means that Cathy Sutherland will be back on the stand and Peter Chisholm (CAS) will continue his cross examination.

That means in turn that Kevin Upper, who was scheduled to take the stand this morning, will be put on hold for a few hours.  Unless the gathered throng decide to sit late it will also mean that Kevin Upper won’t finish his tesrimony today. And sitting late is generally not an option on a Thursday when all the lawyers from hither and yon are rushing off at inquiry week’s end to catch their respective planes and trains home.

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Circumstances unfortunately dictated that I missed bits and pieces and sometimes large chunks of Cathy Sutherland’s testimony yesterday (Wednesday 30 May 2007). I can, however, relate the following points, all information and allegations taken from Cathy’s testimony:

1.  As a child she was placed in foster homes.  She endured both physical and sexual abuse in her own home and in foster care.

2.  She was sexually abused by her mother.  In addition, when she was a child of nine or ten her mother would drop her off at various locations where she was given money for sex.  The money would be turned over to her mother.

3. At age thirteen she was in a foster home where she alleges she was sexually abused by her step father. The abuse lasted a year. (I think I caught the name but may be mistaken so will hold on that)

4. The Children’s Aid Society and others were told of the abuse.

5. Since 1995 she had been trying to access her CAS files.  It was been an ongoing battle.  When she was preparing to testify at the inquiry she saw a lot of her CAS files for the first time and also saw un-redacted versions of files which she had previously received with a multitude of redactions.

6. There were attempts by Cathy to have criminal charges laid against her mother and foster father.  Charges were not laid because there was presumably ‘insufficient evidence.’

7. A baby brother died under mysterious circumstances.  There seem to be inferences that the baby was murdered.

I dare not go beyond this lest I have my facts wrong.  But, without doubt Cathy Sutherland’s dealings with CAS have not been positive. 
Peter Chisholm (CAS) began his cross-examination yesterday and probably will spend another two hours or so today doing what he as a lawyer feels needs doing to undo the damage done and cast his client, the CAS, in a more positive and favourable light.

Already Chisholm and Justice Glaude have asked Cathy if she thinks she (we?) should be judging the CAS back then (late 50’s and the ‘60s) according to today’s standards. 

Both Chisholm and Glaude seemed to imply and concur that before society became enlightened (my word) and began to frown upon “corporal punishment” it was deemed acceptable for parents/adults to routinely beat children within an inch of their lives. 

When it comes to addressing institutional responses to historic allegations of abuse that’s an all too  familiar approach, one very much  in keeping with the alarming and anti-male feminist ideology which permeates the burgeoning fields of “battered women” and “domestic”/ “family” violence and one which certainly opens doors for Glaude to grant absolution to this insitution, that insitution and the other one and in the process spice up his research project with a little feminist social engineering.   But, that’s another topic – for a rainy day:)

Anyway, I won’t stay up waiting to peruse the transcripts. I have to head off to the hospital this morning – a few minor post-operative glitches for my husband which need attention.  All being well I will be back in good time to catch the afternoon session at the Weave Shed….

Enough for now,

Sylvia
(cornwall@theinquiry.ca)

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