Who is Craig Offman? And what is the purpose of this pointless rambling on Paul Bernardo?

For something more substantive, check out this piece via Anon on Pierre Boisvenu, my brother with whom I was speaking last week. (FYI: I got $600 for Theresa’s funeral after-the-fact: I was surprised to get even that):

Families of murder victims treated unfairly: rights group
$3,000 compensation too little. Cites Rhode Island, which pays $25,000
JASON MAGDER, The GazettePublished: Monday, June 09

When his 27-year-old daughter Julie was murdered in 2002, the Quebec government dished out $600 to Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu and his family.

Then when his second daughter, Isabelle, 26, was killed in a car crash three years later, the family received $50,000.

Boisvenu, the chairperson of a victim rights groups, said his case illustrates how unfairly Quebec treats families of those who have been murdered.

“Whether you’re killed on the job, in a car or from a crime, everyone should be treated the same way,” Boisvenu said yesterday at the annual general meeting of the Murdered or Missing Persons’ Families’ Association held in the Marie-Léonie Paradis room of St. Joseph’s Oratory.
The government’s compensation package to families of violent crimes was boosted last year from $600 to $3,000 and additional funds are given to pay for a maximum of 20 sessions with a psychologist. Still, Boisvenu said that doesn’t cover many of the necessary expenses.
He said funerals cost at least $5,000, and then the family is burdened with many other costs, including cleaning up a crime scene and expenses to travel or to miss work to attend court sessions.

For families of missing children, the government doesn’t pay any benefits until the person has been gone for seven years.

“It’s our association that pays for much of the support that’s needed for the families,” Boisvenu said. “The government should pay for this.”

His group, which represents about 400 families, is pushing Quebec to come up with a comprehensive package for victims’ families, similar to what exists in the U.S. The approximately 100 people in attendance yesterday heard the state of Rhode Island pays up to $25,000 to victims or their families.

Doreen Haddad-Drummond, a warden of the association, said many families of victims need money just to make ends meet, since many take time off from work after a family tragedy.
She is pushing for the federal government to amend the employment insurance law to allow families to take a year off and receive 55 per cent of their salaries. Currently, family members can claim illness and receive Employment Insurance cheques for up to 15 weeks.

“It’s not enough,” said Haddad-Drummond, whose daughter Kelly-Anne Drummond was murdered by her boyfriend in the couple’s Pierrefonds home.

“You need to take care of your other children, your relationships, your health. You need to go to court, deal with police. It’s so much that it’s overwhelming, and the last thing the family needs is to not have any money coming in.”

Haddad-Drummond herself, who works as a health and safety worker, returned to work three weeks after her daughter died.

“Going to work for me was good therapy, but everyone’s different,” she said. “I know some mothers who have had trouble getting out of bed for weeks.”

Last week, Bloc Québécois MP France Bonsant tabled a private member’s bill in the House of Commons, outlining changes to Employment Insurance to benefit victims and their families. Haddad says she’s hopeful the bill will get the support of the other parties in the House of Commons and be enacted into law by the end of the year.
jmagder@thegazette.canwest.com

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