Mischa Ahonkova – For Your Understanding
Subject: Seeking other truth soldiers to be voices for my clients a mom and daughter
It begins with ‘no identity’: No Birth Certificates, No Social Insurance Numbers, No Credit Rating, No Credit Cards, No Bank Accounts, No Employment History, No School History, No Vehicle, No Passport, No Driver’s License, Pseudonym (until the final name is approved and granted). Redefining who you are and what you must implement while living a lie, inventing a family history because the past no longer exists, adjusting to being called a new name, establishing new friends, attending a new school, job retraining, all the while keeping the story straight until the process is completed. Additionally, in this family’s case a Judge knew that in order to completely sever all ties to the past and protect “the best interests of the child” and her mother, with great sadness and heartache the Honourable Justice ordered $Zero maintenance be paid to the mother for child support. The details above only skims the surface of what a family is required to do, and must tolerate given these circumstances. Now consider, NEVER seeing or speaking to ALL your family, friends, coworkers, and any others you or your child have established long-term relationships with; moving from shelter to shelter (no permanent home) across the country all the while trying to create a normal, healthy, well-adjusted environment for your then, young child as she too endured many forms of abuse? You could not obtain employment because you had no identity. Financial resources were minimal to non-existent yet in spite of this you had to move forward.
Think about moving across country from Province to Province, shelter to shelter because you are only able to stay for minimal periods of time, or you were moved out quickly because somehow your whereabouts became known to the perpetrator(s)? Making new friends, but soon you must leave them behind all the while thinking ahead and asking yourself “will the next City we move to be the place we set up our roots and rebuild our lives?” The journey was not only long it was extremely and systemically abusive that went on for 8 years. Only to be thrown back into the dark abyss through negligent actions by the Government.
I hope from reading the previous overview you will take the time to read this current, compelling true story that seriously affects this family including other Canadian Victims of Crimes especially those victims of severe domestic violence and abuse – intentional negligence and abuse by Government. First, it is crucial to understand what this program is and how it dramatically affects a family’s life when the security program is negligently breached by the Government officials responsible for its safe and secure implementation.
It takes just one abuser to endanger a family and completely change their lives, forever. To date there are thousands of cases where laws and other processes are NOT capable and/or willing to keep victims safe. In 1992 the Canadian Federal Government implemented the (“ADHOC”) process, in 1997 the Alberta Government started New Identities for Victims of Abuse (“NIVA”) it operated for 10 years granting victims completely new “secure unpuplished identity changes.” The Canadian Feds have taken over calling it the Confidential Services for Victims of Abuse (“CSVA”).
“Secure, Unpublished” is supposed to mean exactly what its definition states! An oxymoron for the AB Government because to them it means “publish”, “put in danger”, “cause harm to” so that the original perps can find the victims and solve the situation for them, permanently. It further means, take away the lives and freedoms of those victims who are forced to build new lives at their own (victims’) expense. The current reality for a Metis mother and her young daughter referred to as Jane and Janet Doe for privacy and safety reasons.
Justice, safety, freedom, and the respective legal and judicial systems that were ‘supposed’ to protect them, seriously failed them, not just once, but several times. The Alberta Government negligently publicized their identities in both the printed and online versions of the “Alberta Gazette.” The Gazette referenced their old and new identities on the same page for the world to see including the perpetrator(s).
This negligence is an enormous infringement on Jane and Janet Does’ rights, freedoms, safety, and security that has again affected every aspect of their lives – past and present. These violations and breaches include, but are not limited to their Canadian Human Rights, the UN Rights of a Child, civil rights, et al. The final outcome of their case will set Canadian Precedence law in regards to the rightful justice and restitution they most certainly deserve as would any other normal citizen in Canada be entitled to receive given the same circumstances. In previous information communicated to Mr. Empett by a political representative they suggested that the government probably intend to shuffle these two ladies from department to department until they go away or the original predator(s) solve the problem and in the same breath stating that the Government feels this family has no money to take action against them so they will just allow the time to run out (this statement is referring to the statute of limitations to commence a public legal action prior to the expiry date of August 2011).
The media in the past 22-months have shown a remarkable reticence in offering any exposure of the trauma and abuses these two have endured with the exception of a couple of online news services, bloggers, and some individuals sharing on FB and Twitter. It is reprehensible, that this family has contacted over 5,000+ people, organizations, politicians, Senators; list is endless and the results? Well, I’m sure you know the answer or we would not be contacting you for help in publicizing their story.
On the media flip-side, should the original perpetrator(s) track these ladies down the media will, jump on the story like a voracious blood-thirsty animal; usual gusto in revealing all the facts and gruesome details. Sensationalizing the criminal(s) behaviours and minimizing the value of the victims’ lives on how they met their death when proactive foresight should have been enacted. The Government will also relish in this scenario because they will no longer be exposed for their abusive, bullying behaviours, nor will they be held accountable, or required to pay restitution for their negligence – the victims receiving their well deserved, lawful justice. This family’s legacy will join the blank walls of all those victims who have also been forgotten, but the criminals remembered for decades.
I understand this is a blunt statement to be making to the people we are seeking help from, however, it is a known fact and truth stated by millions of victim’s families left behind.
It includes exposing and holding ALL those accountable for subjecting this family to more trauma, or remaining silent while the family endures more system abuse, and unnecessary suffering. This includes the lies to the public (organizations etc. receiving private donations from the public. Stating in their mission statements they advocate and assist victims, in addition to receiving Government funding with the Government holding the purse strings. Organizations and people leading the public to believe they are doing all these wonderful things to help victims, when in fact they do the complete opposite behind closed doors. Why? They do not want to bite the hand that feeds them. This Deception, misrepresentation, and corruption are at whose expense, definitely not theirs? Organizations, politicians, public figures recognize these self-centered barbarians with accolades, put them on pedestals, and give them shiny awards for all their so-called public service? Yet, suffering in silence are the vulnerable victims being repeatedly kicked to the proverbial curb) – hindsight is always too late! Time and time again referred too, but rarely learned from or changed!
Further details about this family’s personal story is at:
Link: “The brutal truth for the authorized bully”
Cache Link: “Are Canadian Citizens’ ‘Human Rights’ A Fiasco For Governments To Bully And Oppress?”
Should you desire more details or need to speak directly with the family in a telephone conversation, please contact Mr. Nigel Empett at 403.249.6813 or by Email at email@example.com. Alternatively, you can Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Brutal Truth for Jane and Janet Doe
(The times have sped up and people’s attention spans have shortened so it is rare to have such a lengthy article. Sometimes though there is great need to slow down and focus on the complexities and the sum of the parts. This article has been broken down into four sections which you are fortunate to have available all at once. Elsewhere this may not be the case. Please rise to the challenge that is truly warranted. The answer is unearthed with bringing it all together.)
Part 1 of 4
The Brutal Truth Organization
The Brutal Truth Organization was established for a number of reasons. Primarily it was to continue the work initiated within my feisty non-fiction book, The Brutal Truth. The work deals with the societal issue of bullying and misuse of power. The subtitle of the book, A personal exposé of the corrupt and abusive Canadian Government and its legal system, illustrates much of what it is about. The book includes my experiences that illustrate so well the systemic problem. Going beyond my experiences, in-depth analysis referencing numerous resources is included. Desiring to make negative positive, the book is very much solution-based.
The organization proposes to implement solutions through various means. Education is well at the top of the list. It is imperative to identify the problem accurately and to understand bullying; whether that be bullying in the schoolyard, workplace harassment, misuse of power by judges or lawyers or otherwise (and that is a very big otherwise), it is all basically the same problem, stemming from, and perpetuated by, the government and its legal system, through faulty laws and social norms.
The victim-blaming mentality and the lack of access to a fair and reasonable system are just a couple of aspects of this complex issue, which shows itself on all levels and facets of society. In simple terms the problem lies with the organizations and authorities whose mandate is to help, but they are not providing assistance; rather they are a hindrance, maintaining their own power, well-being and status quo. Education is a fundamental aspect, but the goal is to implement real changes to the entire system and give proper attention to the individuals who have been victimized by the unjust system.
Real solution requires a top-down approach. As with the question, which came first, the chicken or the egg? the order of operation can be difficult to determine, and thus could be considered all encompassing. For the Brutal Truth Organization to achieve its goals to help individuals and to change the corrupt system, it will need to do many things on many levels simultaneously.
As challenging as this is for many reasons, it is far from beyond hope. There is a universal shift occurring that addresses social justice. There are many individuals and organizations popping up and being very loud, and very active. There is incredible synergy happening.
I have had several individuals contact me in search of assistance. They are in search of a remedy to their specific problems but also to the greater problems they have discovered that underlie the root of their personal situations.
There are many things to consider when addressing the problems and delving into the solutions. One wishes not to further damage the injured victims. They have suffered enough. Often, though, recovery is not without pain. Often the journey is long and hard. Each case is different but I have noticed a particular prevalent sentiment that there is a strong desire for each story to be heard to prevent it happening to another — to help the well-being of society. Indeed it is through the telling of individuals’ stories collectively that we can identify correctly and then address appropriately the systemic problem of bullying and misuse of power.
Part 2 of 4
Jane and Janet Doe
The brutal truth for Jane and Janet Doe is certainly worth sharing. It will help illustrate the problem, orchestrate accountability and transform the system. It is also the intention of this article to find some real and concrete resolve for Jane and Janet.
I initially became aware by way of a voice message. It was a female voice enquiring if I was the same Marilyn Garshowitz who had written The Brutal Truth and if I had received an email regarding Jane and Janet Doe from a particular gentlemen. The message included all the necessary contact information for this man. I had not but was now able to contact this man and enquire.
I had a very pleasant telephone conversation with this older senior. He explained his fatherly like friendship with Jane and his endeavours to assist with Jane and her daughter’s situation. Greater societal concerns were also discussed. Afterwards he sent an email.
It included a brief introduction and the original email sent awhile back. The introduction included details that it had been sent to various media outlets, political personnel, women’s shelters, etc., with one local TV station picking up the story, but it basically went nowhere. He expressed gratitude for my interest and assistance offered, as well as best wishes for my worthy endeavour. His sentiments of desire for changes to our present society where the victims are not cared for were expressed. He also voiced his concern for Jane and Janet’s situation where proper correction had not been made.
The original email commenced with questioning the true face of the Alberta government with its concern regarding domestic violence and abuse (including system abuse) and led into asking for help for this mother and daughter who would be called Jane and Janet Doe. He included details of the government’s pretense of assisting, such as a list of government contacts approached for assistance.
Jane and Janet were survivors of many forms of abuse, including severe life-threatening domestic violence followed by system abuse by the government. The severity of the situation dictated that both mother and daughter required unpublished secure name changes. This was difficult and took years to achieve. Rebuilding a new life after serious abuse can not be minimized, and to do so under this security program necessitates leaving all past friends and family — more losses for the victims. There was no justice executed for their ordeal.
Jane and Janet did persevere and managed to create a new life under this protection act only to have their laborious efforts thwarted when two government employees publicized their highly confidential name changes in the Alberta Gazette. This placed the woman and girl in harm’s way.
The original email refers to the two employees as careless and negligent, but I find those adjectives unlikely to be correct. Having personally experienced the brutal corruption of the system, it is not difficult for me to believe that Jane and Janet were victims of a malicious act.
I mean, really, I am having a difficult time understanding how such an error could have occurred. One must consider the possibility that it was a deliberate act. Let me explain some important details provided by this gentleman to have me say such a thing. The information revealed in the Alberta Gazette revealed both their old names and new identities.
This is highly shocking for there was a direct order from the Alberta courts that the Vital Statistics office was to follow for the protection and safety of this family. The order was two pages in length and was described as uncomplicated. The two individuals who carry out the unpublished secure name changes do this on a regular basis and have done so for a number of years. The procedure and protocol was nothing new to them. So it really is unlikely to have just been careless or negligent. Truly, though, regardless if it was only negligence, the severity of the error and the resulting negative ramifications require restorative measures to be taken.
Looking at the actions, or rather more accurately in some aspects, what was not done, illustrates too well the continued abuse by the government. It is not by accident either. It is by design.
The Alberta government wrote an official letter of apology and removed the electronic version from the Internet, although it remains in the archives and the printed version also remains. This leaves opportunity for the perpetrator(s) to find and kill this family.
This is not sufficient action for what has occurred. The inactions, that followed can easily be seen as more abuse, if not also criminal. They have left the family in limbo by not resolving the issues the family has approached the government to resolve. The government speaks of having discussions and a settlement but do not follow through. It has been more than 17 months. The government plays a disgusting game to tire the already worn family so they will not be held accountable. I cannot stress enough how despicable a tactic this is and how it is so by design.
Part 3 of 4
Futile Quest for Government Assistance
In an attempt to resolve Jane and Janet Doe’s personal issues and to ensure governmental policies are extensively reviewed and changed so that it does not happen again, the family has gone to various governmental departments for the help that is supposed to be available.
The people and departments they have contacted include (as stated from the email I was sent):
AB Government Officials contacted during the past 17 months
- Kelly Hillier, Director Vital Statistics
- Rae Runge, Executive Director, Alberta Land Titles (Kelly Hillier cc’d him on one of her emails)
- The Honourable Ed Stelmach, Premier of Alberta
- Honourable Frank Oberle, Solicitor General and Minister of Public Safety
- Minister Heather Klimchuk, Service Alberta
- Alison Redford, Justice Minister
- Janet Skinner, Assistant Deputy Minister
- Les Speakman, Executive Director Land Titles/surveys Personal Property Registry (present with Janet Skinner, Jane and Janet Doe in a one-time face-to-face meeting in March 2010)
Canadian Official contacted
- The Right Honourable Michealle Jean, C.C., C.M.M., C.O.M. C.D. Governor General of Canada (was sent prior to her leaving office. Six follow-up calls were made by the daughter to her office and no one responded either by phone or letter)
Recent Alberta Government officials contacted:
- Alberta Privacy Commissioner’s Office. A complaint was sent to the Privacy Commissioner and a response letter came back to the family on December 2, 2010 and postmarked December 3, 2010 stating that: “As the FOIP Act does not apply, I would have no jurisdiction to investigate your complaints…. However, even if I had jurisdiction to investigate this matter, I can only confirm that a disclosure occurred and required that Service Alberta stop disclosing your personal information…”
Lieutenant Governor of Alberta. No response has been received to date from this department even though a copy of the letter sent to the Privacy Commissioner was also sent to them. A follow-up phone call was made by the mother to the Lieutenant Governor’s Office and to date there has been no response.
They (family) were informed through an advocate that a “Settlement Offer” would be issued by the Alberta Government on August 31, 2010. This offer never came. To date, nothing is settled. Furthermore, no concrete negotiations have been received by the Government.
This list of those contacted and some brief summaries is imperative to include but alone does not adequately capture its significance. Further analysis is required.
A couple more lines within the email I received are also necessary for clearer understanding. These lines express that the family has tried everything they were advised to do by federal and provincial MPs and MLAs, including the official opposition, with nothing being achieved by these people — most did not care and left them in danger.
The email concludes with mentioning there are other ugly details that the mother and daughter are prepared to discuss in a private and confidential manner as to not publicly jeopardize their safety. It also expresses that it is with regret they have decided to go public as all other avenues have failed them.
Part 4 of 4
The Need for Accountability
The Canadian government is corrupt and abusive. I have experienced this first-hand as well as compiled other’s stories of injustices with the system. I don’t doubt that there are other very ugly details to Jane and Janet’s situation. Enough details have been given for me to understand. I do contact the family via their contact person to give comfort and reassurance that I can write something that proposes to lead to some resolution for them.
You see the conclusion that Jane arrived at — that there is no other avenue to go but to go public — is more accurate than the family may realize. Her feelings of regret, frustration and such are not uncommon for the position she is in. She is trying to be reasonable and follow the rules as she has been conditioned to do. She is trying to do the right thing; however she is being led on a deceptive path by her abusers with a pretense of assistance.
The authorities have taught her to be quiet and not tell. There are extensive details to this element of silence, such as feelings of shame, fear and pain, that need to be examined. Society has created an anti-snitch mentality. Society seemingly does not recognize abuse as the crime that it is but finds telling of abuse to be the crime.
The problem lies with the authorities being unreasonable and unfair to their very core. Jane is seeking help from the abusers. The laws do not apply to those in positions of authority. Supposed to though.
In Jane and Janet’s situation the authorities do not address the problem appropriately. They do not correct their error adequately. They do not settle. Instead of being responsible and caring for them as they are supposed to by law, they inflict more damage against Jane and her daughter. A large number of individuals, all who are part of the authority, collectively stoop her. They direct her to another saying this one will assist, wasting her limited resources of time, energy and money.
They are all doing a song and dance. No, the authorities won’t act reasonably with Jane and Janet as they are just too easy and vulnerable prey. For various reasons this family’s members are not considered significant — or human beings for that matter. The authorities are abusing their power as they are of the arrogant mindset of “what can we do about it?”
For Jane and Janet to get a lawyer to take the corrupted authorities to task is still much the same game being played. The problem with bringing a lawyer into the picture to rightly represent them is that the lawyers are not accessible for fair representation. Often lawyers are not affordable. In some cases the “rules” have been set up to disallow for lawyers but have allowances for another “authority”— again an authority figure whom is not truly set up for the care of the individual. And if one can manage to find an affordable lawyer with integrity, the lawyer may be fearful of retribution by the higher authorities in the courts. There are threats to them of being disbarred and/or other unethical tactics used. The lawyers are often limited by faulty, archaic laws and process disallowing for justice. The legal organization is truly big business and is for making money and maintaining their power and status and is without integrity and conscience as is the sociopath.
In lieu of Jane and Janet getting a lawyer, it would be even more appropriate to have charges laid by police and have these unscrupulous authorities hauled away and thrown in jail. This too is a difficult task for a multitude of reasons, from the social norm of not to question authority to actually finding police officers and departments that want to and are able to execute such. The system is so very broken.
So there is a basic problem of having those in authority being held accountable. For all the variations of details possible, it seems to be consistent that this lack of integrity, responsibility and accountability is really what it is all about.
It is so appropriate to have Jane and Janet Doe with unidentifiable names in this article for truly the problem is not theirs alone. It could be any of us that finds oneself in similar situation of being bullied and mistreated by the government. The focus needs to be on the bullies maintaining the problem, not the victims in our society.
It is for this that it is so important to include the list of individuals that were contacted. (See Part 3) It is about accountability after all! Many on this list are given the title of honourable and yet often there is little behaviour that elicits such respect. They represent themselves as having jobs to do particular work, and though they take the money they do not do what they have been hired for. They are frauds — a bunch of swindlers and much worse — if not by their own actions or inactions, certainly by their association.
The list of ministers and such contacted by Jane and Janet may seem to have not really done much bad. Indeed one stated that he does not have jurisdiction but even if he did he could only say to them to stop. He is simply stating his inability to assist. Why then has Jane been directed to go there by MPs and such? It is one of many tactics to subdue the victim and not be held accountable, and, as bullies often do, they inflict mental anguish knowing that it may push the victim to suicide.
The authorities are guilty of some serious and heinous crimes. They create laws to give them carte blanche so as not to be held responsible — albeit there are laws disallowing for such to happen. And there are many paid to keep these abusers safe and held from accountability for their crimes. Yes, it is that sick. And though there are some authorities sympathetic to bringing about the much-needed changes, they are going to need great assistance to make it happen.
There may be the viewpoint that there should be some compassion felt for these persons in positions of authority for if they were to suffer consequences such as being ousted from their jobs, or humiliation for being found out for crimes, it would destroy their careers, livelihoods and family lives. There is particularly more emphasis of concern for them if they are parents, for what about the negative effects on their children and who would financially care for these children? They may be even be having some personal challenges with health or loved ones or such. They might even be being abused themselves by someone at home or elsewhere. I don’t know these individual authorities listed — whether they have families or not or anything much for that matter, but I am aware of at least one from one of the offices on this list of contacts that could have been considered bullied by the Prime Minister of Canada.
There is a lack of reason for these individuals to act with good conscience and integrity.
I will speak up and provide some good reasons — some incredible motivation for them to change — to step up to the problem that is threatening the well-being of mankind. If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.
There needs to be pressure on them to act decently. Those who are supposed to be there for such do not. Rather there is a pretense that they are honourable, when really there is a system to protect them and allow them to be disgusting and dishonourable. The authority’s behaviour is akin to a father having incestuous relations with his daughter as well as akin to the priest that sodomizes the choirboy.
Our authorities are very much the problem and need to be held accountable. I am not alone in desiring this. There are many and more are joining exponentially. Our world is in crisis due to the problem of bullying and misuse of power. People are dying — even the children are dying and not just by being pushed to suicide. The crimes go deeper than this. There is evidence supporting that authorities are responsible and quite directly involved in the atrocities of child abuse, the world sex trade and genocide, among vast other crimes.
We need to communicate and educate on this subject extensively and make ways for change. If we focus on the intention of having a fair and equitable system, the means will become clear. The steps to take will show themselves.
There needs to be some pressure as the people of Egypt put on their president that sent him running. As the Egyptians pursue him to have him held accountable, Canadians too must have their officials and authorities within society be held accountable.
Jane and Janet stepped up with their story and their persistence to help educate and motivate to bring about change. Let us all get loud and persistent and committed to the necessary changes required. We must address both the micro and macro levels of bullying and misuse of power. Let us find some real solutions for Jane and Janet and others. Let us address the corrupt and abusive Canadian government and its legal system.
Jane & Janet Doe & duplicitous AB government
Posted by yayacanada 38 days ago (yayacanada.blogspot.com/2011/…/jane-janet-doe-duplicitous-ab.html)
I received an email from someone representing Jane and Janet Doe, a Metis mother and her daughter who have been running from an abusive domestic situation for years. They applied for an “Unpublished Secure Name Change” which, despite the urgency inherent in such a request, unaccountably took the Alberta government eight years to complete – during which time the pair could not receive public assistance because they were constantly on the run.
That same government recently, stupidly, published both their old and new names! And 19 months later it is still dragging its heels on the issue of compensation to mother and daughter for losses they are incurring, as a result of this gross negligence, with regard to their home and livelihood.
The email was too long for me to post here; fortunately, this article contains most of the same information.
Omitted from it is Janet Doe’s description of the meeting she finally obtained after 7 months of waiting, with two government representatives: “Ms. Janet Skinner [assistant deputy minister of the Program Services Division, Alberta Health and Wellness] and Mr. Les Speakman [executive director of Land Titles/Surveys Personal Property Registry].”
Outstandingly typical of politicos: “Ms. Skinner looked me directly in the eyes and told me ‘I will not do what everyone else has done.’ In my mind, that meant she would make sure the issue was dealt with quickly and would not leave me or my mother hanging.”
But it’s been a year since then, and the Does are still waiting.
The Edmonton Sun reports that the government has sent the pair a letter of apology, acknowledging “a human error”. I am reminded of Christie Logan’s rejoinder in Margaret Laurence’s “The Diviners”: “Sorry is a useless christly awful word.”
The letter goes on to say: “As an added measure, we have reviewed and modified our processes to ensure that all Change of Name applications with court orders for non-publication are screened and confirmed by two staff. It is truly unfortunate that such an error as this has occurred.”
So, one person is scapegoated yet remains anonymous. The message being that if you do something wrong within the government, your name is protected, but if you just want to live safely outside, protection of your name cannot be guaranteed.
Well, at least they didn’t blame the error on a computer. But surely this acknowledgement constitutes an acceptance of culpability that requires some meaningful recompense.
The Nigel mentioned in the Sun article is the person who emailed me. His full name is Nigel Empett and he is a board member of the Wildrose Calgary West Constituency Association. The Wildrose Alliance is a political party that tabled this information in the Alberta Legislature on Feburary 23, 2011. I’m sorry to have to say this but, given the track records of most political parties, I hope his concern for media attention to this case has more to do with the plight of Jane and Janet Doe than with the furtherance of the party to which he belongs.
Both the B.C. and Alberta governments (the Bobbsey* provinces with strong secessionist tendencies) are more jointly paranoid than others in Canada in that even ordinary name changes require fingerprinting (CBC). But the over-caution in Alberta apparently doesn’t extend to names that must not be published.
Here’s an interesting tidbit from the CBC article: Karla Homolka changed her name to Karla Leanne Teale, a surname she chose from a movie about a serial killer! Somewhere along the line she must have seen how bizarre that was and tried to change her name again, but the Quebec government refused.
Quebec is careful not to reveal her whereabouts, however, and I bet she would sue the pants off them, and probably win, if they did. However, Alberta has effectively blown the cover of Jane and Janet Doe.
Best of luck to mother and daughter. The Alberta government owes them bigtime.
Op-Ed: The fight goes on for Jane Doe
Posted Mar 10, 2011 by KJ Mullins
Jane Doe had survived domestic violence only to be violated by the Alberta government. The story of Ms. Doe broke in February about how Alberta published Jane and her daughter’s “Unpublished Secure Name Changes.”
This week the world celebrated the 100th International Women’s Day. In Canada that day had special signifance for one mother and daughter fighting for a settlement in their pursuit of rightful justice, accountability, and restitution against the AB Government for its negligent actions and oppression of their Human Rights.
In the original article one fact had been left out, Jane and Janet Doe are Metis. It shouldn’t matter what race a person is when a wrong needs to be righted. Sadly in Canada being part of the First Nation can mean a blind eye is cast.
Jane cried during an interview after the original article was written about the struggle she and her daughter has faced. With time running out for their case to be settled she has fears that the government will ‘win’ by allowing the clock to tick out.
It’s not just the government that has failed this mother. The media has been slow to rally around Jane. She and her daughter have been fighting walls of silence that seem higher with each day. Jane has been treated as the criminal instead of the victim of both domestic violence and a government mistake. She was never in the wrong yet she has been asked to prove herself over and over to right the situation.
It’s more than just getting advocacy groups, women’s shelters, lawyers, Government representatives, the general public to understand the difference between a standard name change and the factors in play when an “Unpublished Secure Name Change” (UPSNC). This struggle is not just a way to apply for a new SIN card but to protect the family as they struggle to move on creating a new and safe life.
Obtaining a “Unpublished Secure Name Change” (UPSNC) takes time. During that time a person lives without being able to have a credit rating, a bank account, a driver’s license or even a birth certificate. Those pieces of identification can endanger them.
A person who has obtained an “Unpublished Secure Name Change” has had to create a new life, a new family history. They have to live a lie. For Jane and Janet Doe the Judge knew that in order to completely sever all ties to the past and protect “the best interests of the child” and her mother that child support payments had to be severed.
Also severed from the Doe’s life was her family, friends and everyone she and her daughter knew. As Jane awaited the process to be completed she and her daughter had a nomad life. Each time they settled down they wondered if this would be the place that they could call home. For eight years they lived this life until the name change took place.
Young Janet Doe wrote a letter describing her early life to the members of the Alberta Legislature on February 20, 2011.
“When I first found out about the breach by the Alberta Government I felt very angry, worried, scared, and hurt. I can not explain the feelings of betrayal that rushed through me at that moment. It was like slamming your hand in a door. It makes you feel sick to your stomach, like you are going to pass out. All the emotions and “what ifs” continued racing through my mind like cars speeding around a race track. “Am I going to die” young before I’ve had the chance to live and experience the accomplishment of all my passions, goals, and dreams young people think about doing in their life? The black hole feeling of the possibility that I would have to give up my professional career that has been put on hold because of this. My mom may have to give up her career too because some of our professional goals and passions are the same. A life I dreamed of having since I was very young and that was only able to fully happen when our secure name changes were completed a few years back. Daily, all I could think about was losing the life my mom and I worked so hard to build. The hardships, challenges, and sacrifices we were forced to make to build our new lives was a long journey too. A few of the changes included having to walk away from the home my mom and I lived in when I was young, moving from shelter to shelter across Canada from a young age in order to be safe and my mom working to get our secure name changes, her career, never seeing or speaking to the people who were in your life, making short term friends along the way, continually leaving them behind, but there is so much more. I did not ever think that the rough and traumatic past would ever resurface and that people would want us to go through all of it again. In my mind, that part of the past was finalized and the door had been nailed shut.”
Throughout the letter young Janet detailed the last 19 months of her life when it became known that the government had published their new names. The rollercoaster ride of emotions since that time have not just had a mental effect on the child but a physical one as well. She stated:
“I have been sick a lot with colds, the flu, severe anxiety that causes my heart to race and restricts my breathing, as well as, pounding headaches that are increasing as the time goes on. Colds and the flu have happened in the past but were not frequent. The other symptoms I am mentioning have appeared because of this situation and the unknown future ahead of us until our situation is resolved. The amount of emotional stress that I have taken on during this whole battle against the Alberta Government has been an emotional rollercoaster going round and round. Here we are 11 months (approximately 330 days) since the meeting with Ms. Skinner and Mr. Speakman; 19 months (approximately 570 days) since the date we found out about the breach and my mom and I have received no compensation for everything we have been through. The justice we and financial settlement we deserve in this is no different from what other people would expect.”
Since that time the WildRose Alliance have taken up their cause. In a press release the Alliance asks, “Are the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and the UN Rights of a Child et al only for the select few? Do they really have any credibility at all? From this family’s personal experiences, it doesn’t appear to be the case.”
It’s time for the government to step up for this family and settle the case. Their long road to be safe and free should be over. They did what was required of them, they are survivors but their journey still goes on. They are not the criminals, they are the victims. The end of that journey is their right.
Alberta sued over alleged privacy breach
February 27, 2011
By JASMINE FRANKLIN, QMI Agency
EDMONTON – Four years of domestic abuse “hell” followed by nearly a decade-long battle to obtain a nationwide name change came crashing down for a Canadian mother and daughter after the Alberta government posted their identities online.
“Jane” and her daughter “Janet Doe” obtained Unpublished Secure Name Changes more than five years ago and began rebuilding their lives with new connections, re-location and the security of never having to look over their shoulders.
But all the effort and security went up in flames after a Google search revealed both the old and new identities of the Does were published online in the Alberta Gazette – the official newspaper of the Government of Alberta.
“We were devastated. No matter what, the government departments are supposed to keep this confidential,” Jane said through tears during a phone interview. “It’s out there in cyberspace somewhere and there is a print version forever, for life.”
A direct order packaged in a two-page document from the Alberta Courts stipulates the names of the women were to be withheld from all public databases for their own protection.
“Anyone in their right mind could have done searches,” said Jane. “We had never thought to look — it could have been up there for five years.”
Now, nearly 19 months later after contacting top Canadian officials, agencies and individual organizations for a settlement, no restitution has been received.
An August deadline is approaching quickly before the case is in the hands of the courts – a move Jane would rather not take.
“It’s a waste of taxpayers’ money when I have all the evidence right in front of me,” said Jane. “All I want is someone to own up and compensate us. We have been through so much already, we want to move forward.
“They made a mistake just like anybody else and there are consequences. Do I want restitution? Absolutely. Do I want laws changed? Absolutely.”
To date, all the mother and daughter have received is an official letter of apology dated last March from Service Alberta Minister Heather Klimchuk.
“Please accept my sincere apologies for the error in vital statistics processes that allowed your confidential Change of Name to be published. I have asked department staff to follow up on this matter and understand that, in this situation, it was human error,” states the letter.
“As an added measure, we have reviewed and modified our processes to ensure that all Change of Name applications with court orders for non-publication are screened and confirmed by two staff. It is truly unfortunate that such an error as this has occurred.”
Service Alberta representatives didn’t return calls Sunday for comment.
Janet Skinner, assistant deputy minister of the program services division, Alberta Health and Wellness, and Les Speakman, executive director of Land Titles/Surveys Personal Property Registry met with the Does in March 2010, where they were told “it would be taken care of right away.”
“Unless we expose this, how can systems and laws change?” said Jane. “It has been almost one year since we have received anything.”
Former employee and close friend Nigel, has been helping the women reach others with their stories in hopes of becoming advocates and getting their freedom back.
“We learned how to keep ourselves safe and have that awareness. You cannot live in fear,” said Jane. “You’ll never feel safe, but if you allow fear to run your life, you’ll never live.”
Jane said more than anything, she wants her daughter Janet to finally feel free and get her life back.
“I taught her ‘speak the truth and fight for what is right.’ She wanted to advocate and what has all this taught her? She has had to just hold her head up high and move on.”
Falling through the cracks: Alberta posts unpublished secure name changes of two victims
February 8, 2011
KJ Mullins: Surviving domestic violence is a hard road to travel. For one Canadian mother and daughter that survival required changing their names in order to be protected from severe life-threatening domestic violence. That name change did little good when the Alberta Gazette published their new names.
For ‘Jane and Janet Doe’ escaping violence meant obtaining “Unpublished Secure Name Changes.” They thought that they would be able to build a new life with their new identities. That ended when the Alberta Gazette, the official newspaper of the Government of Alberta, published both their old and new names. It shouldn’t have happened, the family had a direct order from the Alberta courts that Vital Statistics office was to follow keep their names out of public databases for their protection and safety. It’s not an common situation but the policies are in place for when it does happen.
It took years to be able to get that name change. Years of fear, years of relocating, years of looking over their shoulders at every sound. The sense of peace the new names gave was stripped away in seconds when it was published. She has not seen the man who made these changes necessary for over 14 years but there is always that fear.
“I remember the moment when I got the call from my lawyer. ‘It’s done.’ I was elated. We had our freedom! I was able to do those little things with my daughter that I couldn’t before.” Jane’s voice broke then, “When we found out that our names were online I watched my daughter. ‘Janet’ felt that her life had been ripped away.”
And for the past 19 months their lives have been in limbo. They had built a new life and now it was gone. It was time to go back to being low profile. The confidence to walk down the street had been taken away. As they battle the government for a settlement they face a loss of income, now and in the future. Once again they are looking at perhaps having to change their names, their careers, their lives.
“We have cried.”
The Alberta government has removed the electronic version from the Internet but it lives on in the print version. It will always be in the archives though on the Internet version. Still until the Does knew it was there the damage was done. It had been on the Gazette for years before they knew it was there.
“We had an attempted break-in at a property we were living at before we know. Now we wonder if it was someone from the past that was responsible for that?” Jane said during a telephone interview that there was no mistake. The document has 12 paragraphs of instruction on the fact that it was to remain unpublished.
“The document was in two provinces, one got it right,” Jane said, “Alberta though failed us. After all the time it took, eight years, to get our names changed and then it was for nothing.”
Jane explained that in each province these types of documents only come into contact with two people in Vital Statistics. That is for the protection of protected individuals. In her case the director in Alberta knew the documents were coming but they were no longer in the office when they arrived.
The family has received an Official Letter of Apology and Email from the government. They however are waiting for the matter to be fully resolved. An advocate told them that a settlement offer would be issued from the government on August 31, 2010. That date has come and past with nothing being settled.
They have been in touch with the AB Privacy Commissioner’s Office who sent a letter to the family on December 2, 2010:
“As the FOIP Act does not apply, I would have no jurisdiction to investigate your complaints.”
“However, even if I had jurisdiction to investigate this matter, I can only confirm that a disclosure occurred and require that Service Alberta stop disclosing your personal information…”
A letter to the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta has received no response nor has a follow up call to the office. The Right Honourable Michaelle Jean, C.C., C.M.M., C.O.M. C.D. Governor General of Canada also did not respond to letters before leaving her office.
They are not the only ones contacted.
To date there has been little to no response from Kelly Hillier, Director Vital Statistics, Rae Runge, Executive Director, Alberta Land Titles, The Honourable Ed Stelmach, Premier of AB, Honourable Frank Oberle, Solicitor General and Minister of Public Safety, Minister Heather Klimchuk, Service Alberta, Alison Redford, Justice Minister, Janet Skinner, Assistant Deputy Minister or Les Speakman, Executive Director Land Titles/Surveys Personal Property Registry.
Speakman and Skinner did have a one time face to face meeting with the Doe’s in March 2010. They haven’t heard much since then other than they are not getting faxes. The only fax number used has been the one that the Does were given by Skinner.
For Jane it was the letter couriered to the Governor General that hurts the most. ‘Janet’ wanted to write that letter, thinking that her voice may make a difference to the woman who went to Haiti to help children.
“It’s disgusting. No response.” Jane could barely contain the anger, “Here’s a child in need in her own mandate and she turns her back on her.” Jane stopped for a second, “I will give her credit. Perhaps she was never given the letter by her office staff.”
With the government not helping Jane turned to a trusted friend and former employer, Nigel. He had no idea the life struggles of this mother and daughter. Now Nigel is working to help get their story out.
“I have known the family for years. I knew that they had moved many times but I didn’t understand why.” Nigel, who is now retired, said in a telephone interview. “I have seen the letters and the documents about this abusive government action. I always thought that those who are in charge of protecting us did just that, protect us. I now know better.”
Jane said that Nigel has been an inspirational helper. He has a board position with the Wild Rose Alliance in Alberta. He faxed a letter to Wild Rose as a lay person to get help. Nothing. He then used his position. Again nothing.
“Wild Rose didn’t want to take this on,” Jane sighed.
For Jane seeing those in position to protect others look away is becoming a way of life. She is not backing down. Jane is fighting not only for herself but for her daughter. Like a mother bear protecting her cub Jane’s anger comes out at how the disclosure of their names has endangered her daughter and the lack of government response.
“The government told my daughter to start over. Restart over! To once again give up her dreams.” Jane struggled with her emotions. “After all the hell we’ve been through. We have fallen through every crack and they have the nerve to tell my daughter to start all over again.”
Time is running out for the Does. They only have until August for a settlement to take place. The government has already sent out the formal apologies and promised a settlement yet nothing has really happened. Jane isn’t disclosing the amount she has asked for only that ‘it’s a lot’ and that it is based on case law. If the government doesn’t settle by August then a court case will be needed. Jane feels that is what they want. She would rather not waste taxpayers money battling it out in court. The evidence is in her court. The government made a mistake. She feels it is time that they take care of it.
“No one knows what it feels like. I have survived domestic abuse. I have had to run for my life living in shelters throughout Canada before the name change. I have tried to get my story out and most of the media has ignored me. Has the world become so complacent that no one cares?” Jane asked as the interview came to a close, “Abuse knows no borders. Canada has to protect its women.”
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