Friday, September 25, 2009


Social workers in BC receive one day of training - one day - on the issue of domestic violence.

One day.

In 2007 in Oak Bay, Peter Lee killed his wife Sunny, his six-year old, Christian, Sunny's parents and then himself.

Sunny Lee had appealed to the police and half a dozen social agencies about her husband's threats and increasing violence.

A social worker, assigned to the case at one point met with Sunny once.


The social worker was instructed to speak to Christian the little boy.

He or she did not.

Yet, he or she concluded that the boy was safe.

How? Why?

The boy was stabbed to death by his father.

Does this social worker still have a job?

If so, why?

Mary Pole-Axed is the Minister of Children and Family Development.

She says the government is doing just fine in these cases.

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond is BC's representative for Children and Youth.

She continues to be one of the best people we have in this country, speaking out courageously in defense of those who seem not able to defend themselves.

She is among many who have pointed to Gordon Campbell's cuts to domestic violence and child protection programs.

With what rationale can this dreadfully misguided politician feel that he is doing the right thing on any given day?

The Ministry of Children and Family Development has been a disgrace for at least a decade.

We have the highest rates of child poverty in the country. Supernatural, my ass.

We all know a simple truism.

If a guy's gonna kill someone, he'll kill someone.

But in this tragic case, dozens of people, not speaking to one another, not acting responsibly even in the shallowest ways, dropped the ball and an entire family has been murdered.

The care takers are not trained and they make lousy, deadly decisions.

The money is not there.

It could be tomorrow morning, if Gordon Campbell had a soul, instead of an ego.


Maybe staying in a fancy hotel in downtown Toronto and jetting about the country had something to do with it.

But certainly over the past several days I have felt myself to be distinct alien corn among a family of space creatures.

Elevators, breakfast rooms, airplane lounges and seats on planes, walking down the street and even being shown into the inner sanctum of a very expensive and trendy restaurant, the Blackberry Nation is out there loud and strong.

They never stop.

Click, click.

My son told me the extraordinary experience a few months ago of doing some voice over work for a radio commercial. The 20-something actress he was working with had to be told by the producer to stop texting while they were recording sound.

I pointed out to the lady next to me on the plane that we were supposed to turn off our cells during take-off. Hey, it's only my life versus her important message.

She smiled, as at a child whose understanding passeth nothing, and explained that she knew that "but I always wait until the last second before turning it off."

Good for you.

What is she? Head of National Security? A cardiologist on call?


She sells real estate in a village not far from Toronto and she's on her way to Vancouver for a Century 21 conference.

Like, very urgent. Muy importante. Mucho, mucho...

The guy in the pin stripe suit being ushered into lunch at Bistro 990 (one of the official troughs for the Toronto International Film Festival - which is over, but that doesn't stop people from coming in with the expectation that George Clooney will still be there. No. I didn't eat there. I walked in to check out the dinner menu and decided that when I win the Lotto, I'll give it a try, with or without George Clooney.) was texting as he slid over the Persian carpets to his wing back chair.

May I say this?

Blackberry Nation.

I think you are all mad, stark raving mad.

Here's my suggestion.

Try walking down the street and actually experiencing the moment. Look at the shops at the people at the traffic. Have a thought. Quietly sing a favorite tune. Try for one blissful second to not be conquering the universe.

I know my entreaty is nonsense, the wishful thinking of a child or a withering old fool.

Blackberry Nation is here to stay.

You rule.

I can but mumble.