Bishop Makes Recommendations of His Own to Public Inquiry

By Greg Peerenboom

September 3, 2008

At the conclusion of Bishop Paul Andre Durocher's testimony Tuesday at the public inquiry, the bishop was given permission to issue recommendations to inquiry Commissioner Normand Glaude.

The following is the written text which Durocher paraphrased during his submissions.

I.Our diocese has endeavoured to participate fully in this inquiry. In that vein, I want to invite you, Mr. Commissioner, to make recommendations to our diocese. I would be open to any suggestions you would have that would help us deal with these situations in a better way than we have in the past. You might also consider making similar suggestions to all the bishops of Canada through our national episcopal conference.

II.My second recommendation is that you encourage the government to commit itself as much to the follow- up to this inquiry as it has to the inquiry itself, particularly regarding phase 2 projects. I will take serious investment in time, resources, personnel and programs to allow this community to move forward.

For example, I have been involved in the work of PrevAction, a group of community leaders that is trying to develop a five-year plan for public education, prevention and renewal around these issues.

I know that a number of other groups have been developing proposals that bear great promise. For the government to leave these groups in the lurch would be a betrayal of our community.

III.My third recommendation is that a government set up a local panel or name an ombudsman for our area for the next five-year period, who could receive any complaints dealing with sexual abuse and act as an advocate for victims in dealing with various organizations in our area.

Such a panel or individual could also act in an advisory capacity for these organizations. Neutrality would make it easier for people to come forward, and would allow trust to be built up again between the members of the community and the organizations that work in it.

iv.I would suggest that the government clarify the duty to report which can be triggered by complaints of historical sexual abuse. It has been suggested here that this duty is triggered simply by the fact that a person might have abused a minor in the past. Others read the present law as saying the duty is triggered only when a particular minor is deemed to be at risk at the present moment.

I suggest to you, Mr. Commissioner, that this is not clear and either a binding interpretation of the present law or an amendment to the present law needs to be undertaken.


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