In memory of Betty Anne Gagnon

The following is not a happy post. It is my reaction to hearing a very disturbing story on the CBC show “The Current” this morning.

Here is the story: http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/episode/2013/06/18/what-happened-to-betty-anne-gagnon/

and here is a website with further information: http://www.justiceforbettyannegagnon.com/

I have written the following letter which I will send to the relevant government officials.  Please feel free to copy and adapt as you see fit.

This morning I listened to a CBC documentary describing the case of Betty Anne Gagnon, a developmentally challenged woman who died tragically in 2009. I was appalled by the actions of Betty Anne Gagnon’s caregivers, and further appalled by the lack of follow-up from the relevant agencies including the Public Guardian, Seniors’ Services, PDD, and the RCMP, who heard the reports of Betty Anne’s niece and received requests for services from the Scrivens, but did not take action.

I am concerned that there are so few supports in this province for vulnerable members of society and for their caregivers.  I am especially concerned that with the recent changes to PDD funding, more people will end up falling through the cracks and being victimized. As a mother of a child with developmental disabilities I have little confidence that my son’s care will be monitored appropriately when I am no longer able to care for him if our government continues to disregard the needs of the disabled and their caregivers.

I believe that it is the responsibility of the government, representing all Albertans, to create policies which ensure that people with disabilities are treated with care and respect, and that their human rights and dignity are maintained. I would like to see our province lead the country in developing an inter-agency strategy for reporting and investigating allegations of abuse against people in care so that what happened to Betty Anne never happens again.  I would also like to see appropriate sentencing for those convicted of “Failure to Provide the Necessaries of Life“, including mandatory jail time.

I hope that you will take a leadership role in ensuring the safety and dignity of the many people in our province who cannot advocate for themselves.

Sincerely,

Callie Joyce Perry

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