Royal mess

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I was going to get the information on The Brothers of Our Lady of Seven Sorrows in Mabou, Cape Breton posted by now.  Having missed doing so on Saturday and Sunday my intent was to do so today before I headed out for a family get-together late afternoon.  Then a phone call and plans charged – had to leave then and there.  I am just home within the past hour and it is just too late to start on it now. Plus I believe I will have more information within the next couple of days, so perhaps it is best I wait?  I will see what happens tomorrow and take it from there.


It sounds as though there is a bit of public showdown in the offing between the Talbot House board of Directors and the Nova Scotia Department of Community Services. According to media reports, the chairman of the TH Board, Dr. John Gainer, alleges that department’s report is riddled with errors.  Later in the day, the department posted the report:

16 April 2012: N.S. review finds many deficiencies at Talbot House

Its is interesting to note here that the Minister of Community Services (Denise Peterson-Rafuse) denied that the complaint it received was related to vague abuse allegations against the executive director, Rev. Paul Abbass.

Also, note reports on 15 February of this year the board of TH turned down a department offer for extra staffing  so that residents at the facility would not be disrupted.  Weeks later the board announced it was going to discharge all residents, and, indeed, all residents were subsequently discharged.

As I say, Community Services released its report. and an addendum to the report.  Here they are :

April 2012:  Talbot House Organizational Review April 2012 (Nova Scotia Community Services:  Family & Youth Services, Family and Community Supports Division)

April 2012:  Talbot House Organizational Review Suggestions (Appendix to Talbot House Organizational Review April 2012)

There are a number of concerns raised in the report about the operation of TH, the board, and the Executive Director (Father Paul Abbass), these include but are not limited to the following:

  • –  Board meetings do not occur on a monthly basis;
  • –  There has not been an Annual General Meeting of the board in 13 years;
  • – The Executive Director and staff do not have job descriptions;
  • – Various financial issues;
  • – Lack of files on clients;
  • –  Father Paul Abbass’ salary as Executive Directo of TH was paid by the Antigonish Diocese.  The board members were apparently unclear who Abbass reports to and who appraises his performance;
  • – Concerns regarding Father Abbass’ travel and overnighters with clients and also visits by clients to his private residence.  Father Abbass apparently said that residents were never in his private residence other than to drop things off, but he did acknowledge there had been some overnight travel and shared accommodation with clients.  According to the report, however, one client raised the issue of residents staying at the Father Abbass’ house;
  • – Eight stakeholders received complaints about Father Paul Abbass’ behaviour.  As a result of the complaints the stakeholders either refused to make referrals to TH or had clients call TH on their own for “self-referral.”  There is no mention of the nature of the behaviour which prompted complaints;
  • – Stakeholders expressed concern that a client or former client “was hired to dispose of church property.”  That is all that is said.  Was this, I wonder, in relation to Father Abbass’ duties with the Financial and Legal Advisory Committee (FLAC)?
  • – There is reference to “inappropriate comments” made by Father Abbass to residents during “the group program,” but no indication as to what those inappropriate comments were;
  • – There is no evidence that the board has been actively overseeing the operation of Talbot House;
  • – There were unauthorized drugs on site at TH;
  • – Prior to January 2012 there was no process by which residents could file a complaint

It sounds like a bit of a royal mess.  But,  – Dr. Gainer alleges the the report is riddled with errors.

We shall see.  I am sure we will be hearing a lot more on all of this.over the next few days.


Check NEW to the site for links to all new articles and documents as they are posted posted on Sylvia’s Site (access manually by clicking the “NEW” tab on the horizontal menu under the picture).

Enough for now,


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