Sunday, September 1, 2013

Seniors Scene

The Full Gamut

'Cracking down on child predators is not enough'

Submitted by Myrtle Macdonald, Chilliwack


An open letter to Chilliwack MP Mark Strahl:

ell yes, cut down on prison population and also keep penalties high for sexual predators. These high level generalities you sent out are too vague to be useful or trustworthy.


Here are some sensible workable solutions. Become a party that shows some real potential to solve situations, as follows: 


1. Hire more skilled patrol officers who are skilled counselors, who have time to reeducate criminals, and also do follow-up to prevent recidivism, and get the offenders into education.

2. Reduce prison populations by keeping most of the aboriginal people now in jail, out of prisons by having more community counseling, education programs and individualized prompt follow-up.

3. Do prevention by having preteen, teen and adult offenders treated through community policing programs, such as the long term successful one in Chilliwack. They and their family meet with the victim and his/her family and work through how the offense affected everyone, understanding what happened, apology, asking forgiveness, restitution, and follow-up education etc.

4. Fund more post secondary colleges like at Seabird Island, Agassiz. Another example: Back in the 1980s there were a highly successful high school and post secondary education programs at Blue Quills Native Education Centre at St. Paul Alberta. I was there helping them get a school of nursing going. I also stimulated the adding of science, math and English courses so that students could get their first year of university education there for a choice of several universities, to study engineering, medicine, dentistry, forestry, basic sciences, nutrition, architecture, pharmacy, veterinary, etc. Too many had ignored the sciences and aimed only at elementary teaching, social work, child care and law.

I had 80 applications for nursing who were all short on enough science, math and English to get into nursing. I sent most back to their local high school, telling them what courses they needed. 22 studied the next year at Blue Quills post secondary, and only two dropped out. The rest got their high school equivalency, some of the mature students had enough basic knowledge already to finished three years of high school in one, in an individualized program supporting Distance Education in class. The one teacher helped every student. At the end of the year they were qualified and accepted into schools of nursing, pharmacy, etc. The two drop-outs sorted out personal child care issues and came back the next fall. I call that 100% success.

5. Raise self-esteem by having first class recycling programs for garbage, refuse and broken down cars on the reserves. If a community looks run down, the youth make it worse by doing vandalism acts.

6. Provide well-built and maintained homes, water supply, sewage system, side walks, flower borders, vegetable gardens and parks, their pride of ownership goes up and so does their behavior.

7. Certificates in any of these practical skills will help them get a job on or off the reserve. See the long list of courses taught at Seabird Island. It's thrilling.

8. Reopen the detox centre in Chilliwack General Hospital. When addicts are referred to a distant location they often do not get there. If they do, they lose contact with caring significant others, etc. Aim at closer to home. Offenders need to learn how to reenter their old community with support, to maintain sobriety and to develop the better relationships available with families, classmates, etc. They need to overcome in the familiar setting. Among strangers there are no real long term friendships, no sense of belonging.

9. Follow-up after detoxification needs much better staffing to not only maintain sobriety but to get an education.

10. Speed up the court system by better staffing and more judges. Having to wait years for settlements is very demoralizing for everybody. It makes me ashamed of my beloved country Canada.

Please forward this letter to the Prime Minister and to Ministers who can do something to accomplish all of the above. Vague goals however lofty they sound, are useless. I will not vote for such a platform.


About Myrtle Macdonald

M.Sc. Applied (in Nursing Research and Education), McGill University.

Myrtle is a retired registered nurse living in Chilliwack now working with the local chapter of the BC Schizophrenia Association. Myrtle was a street nurse for many years in places like India and Montreal. She turned 92 in June and is one of the Voice's most popular contributors.

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