An Open Letter to Premier McGuinty Re: "Psychics" and the Laws of Ontario
June 19, 2008 by Paul McKeever
June 19, 2008
Hon. Dalton McGuinty
Main Legislative Building
Room 281, Queen’s Park
Dear Premier McGuinty:
Re: “Psychics”, “Reasonable Grounds”, and the Case of Colleen and Victoria Leduc
Like many Ontarians, I am shocked to hear news reports concerning the case of Ms. Colleen Leduc and her daughter, Victoria, who suffers from autism.
According to reports, an educational assistant at Terry Fox Elementary School in Barrie used the services of a person purporting to have “psychic” powers. The alleged “psychic” asked the educational assistant if she worked with a little girl by the name of ‘V’. According to Colleen Leduc, when the educational assistant answered “yes”, the alleged psychic told the educational assistant: “Well, you need to know she’s being sexually abused by a man between the ages of 23 and 26.'”
According to reports, at least partially on the basis of the alleged psychic’s statement, the school contacted the Simcoe County Children’s Aid Society. The Simcoe County CAS attended Ms. Leduc’s residence to investigate.
According to reports, Dr. Lindy Zaretsky, a school board superintendent whose portfolio includes special education, said the school was just following protocol. Dr. Zaretsky reportedly says that the board is bound by the same legislation – Child and Family Services Act – as the CAS when it comes to suspected neglect or sexual abuse. And, according to reports, Dr. Zaretsky said that “It is clear in all cases that this (information) must be reported,’.
As you may know, the related provision of the Child and Family Services Act is subsection 72(1), which reads, in part:
“Despite the provisions of any other Act, if a person, including a person who performs professional or official duties with respect to children, has reasonable grounds to suspect one of the following, the person shall forthwith report the suspicion and the information on which it is based to a society:
3. The child has been sexually molested or sexually exploited, by the person having charge of the child or by another person where the person having charge of the child knows or should know of the possibility of sexual molestation or sexual exploitation and fails to protect the child.” (emphasis added)
The fact that Dr. Zaretsky could consider an alleged psychic’s allegation to be “reasonable grounds” may be astounding. Nonetheless, if it is the case that some doctors might consider irrational, mystical mumbo-jumbo to be “reasonable grounds”, justice dictates that it is incumbent upon the Ontario government to introduce legislation which makes it clear that allegations completely unsupported by physical evidence or eyewitness testimony; allegations founded upon allegedly mystical insights or divine revelations; are never to be considered “reasonable grounds” for the purposes of any law of Ontario, including the Child and Family Services Act.
On behalf of all rational people in the province of Ontario, I am today begging of you to commence the drafting of such legislation without delay, and to ensure that the moral suasion of your office is brought to bear upon the school board in question, such that it will resolve the matter of Ms. Leduc’s concerns quickly and to her satisfaction.
Leader, Freedom Party of Ontario