Diane Dery et Mario Corbeil – May 20, 1975 / WKT2 #17

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Le 20 mai 1975, vers 20 h 15, Diane Déry, 13 ans, et Mario Corbeil, 15 ans, quittent la résidence de Diane afin de faire une promenade en motocyclette dans un champ situé à proximité du boulevard Rolland-Therrien, à Longueuil. Voyant que les jeunes ne sont pas revenus, des membres de la famille des deux adolescents effectuent des recherches dans le secteur au cours de la soirée et durant la nuit.

Le lendemain matin, vers 7 h 20, les policiers découvrent Diane Déry et Mario Corbeil sans vie dans un boisé situé à l’extrémité du boulevard Rolland-Therrien. L’analyse de la scène démontre que les deux jeunes ont été assassinés.

Allo Police, 5 août 1979 par Jaques Durand

Après 4 ans et sans résolution, le père de Diane Dery, Jaques Dery demande au ministre de la Justice de l’époque, Marc-André Bedard, que l’affaire soit retirée à la police de Longueuil et transférée à la Sûreté du Québec.

En 1975, les Derys habitent au 1145, rue Bizard à Longueuil. Ils ont depuis déménagé à Saint-Célestin (Nicolet). Il travaillait dans une station-service, sa femme tenait la petite cantine à l’intérieur.

Les parents de Maro Corbeil, de M et Mme Maurice et de Françoise Corbeil ont continué de vivre à Longueuil, rue Boucher. L’avocat de Dery dans l’affaire était Guy Houle.

Un récit des événements des 20 et 21 mai 1975

C’était un mardi, une belle journée. Les parents de Mario lui ont donné une petite motocylette en cadeau. Mario a passé de nombreuses heures à en profiter, donnant des tours à sa famille et ses amis. Le dernier trajet était réservé à une petite amie, Diane Dery. Les familles ne les reverraient plus jamais vivant.

Map of Dery / Corbeil murders

Le lendemain, mercredi 21 mai, les corps ont été découverts dans un champ près de l’aéroport de Saint-Hubert. Mario avait été battu, puis abattu six fois avec un pistolet de calibre 22. Diane avait reçu une balle dans la tête avec le même pistolet de calibre. Elle a été agressée sexuellement et son corps a été placé sur celui de Mario. Les corps ont été placés de manière à suggérer qu’ils avaient une relation sexuelle.

L’affaire a été confiée aux détectives Lacombe et Villeneuve de la police de Longueuil. Une douzaine de personnes ont été interrogées.

Après deux ans, M Jacques Dery a pris la décision de tout vendre et de s’installer ailleurs. La famille avait une nouvelle fille, Manon, et ils voulaient commencer une vie meilleure. Il déménage dans un coin de la province, Saint-Célestin (Nicolet). M Dery est devenu propriétaire d’une station-service le long de la route 20. Il a établi une solide clientèle. Il avait un autre projet en tête: faire sortir toute sa famille de Longueuil dès que possible. M Dery a acheté une maison et, au mois d’octobre, sa famille a déménagé dans ce petit village fort et sympathique.

Le travail était dur, il l’obligeait à travailler sept jours par semaine. Mme Dery, non satisfaite de son mari travaillant seule, a décidé de faire fonctionner une petite cantine à l’intérieur de la station-service. Malgré l’arrangement, il y avait toujours deux questions à répondre: QUI et POURQUOI?

M Dery a continué de communiquer avec les enquêteurs à Longueuil. Les enquêteurs ont continué à communiquer le même message: «Nous soupçonnons quelqu’un, mais nous n’avons pas la preuve.”

Voulant en savoir plus, M et Mme Dery ont rencontré le lieutenant-détective Maurice Lauzon, qui était à la tête de l’homicide de Longueuil. Il a informé le Dery qu’il ne connaissait pas le dossier, mais qu’il se mettrait rapidement à l’épreuve. Il a promis de téléphoner régulièrement à la famille pour leur donner des informations sur l’enquête.

«Il n’a jamais répondu, j’ai laissé des messages, mais il n’a jamais rappelé, c’était toujours moi qui devais téléphoner», a déclaré M. Dery qui a ajouté: «Si la police de Longueuil ne peut rien faire pour faire avancer le dossier, pourquoi? ne peuvent-ils pas le livrer à la Sûreté du Québec? Il n’est pas possible que deux jeunes enfants soient tués si près de chez eux, et ils ne peuvent rien trouver, ce n’est pas possible, peut-être que la Surete du Québec ne pourra pas pour trouver quelque chose non plus, mais nous aurions la satisfaction de savoir que nous avons essayé. ”

Au cours de l’entrevue, qui a eu lieu à l’intérieur de la station-service, alors que M Dery vendait des cigarettes aux clients qui allaient et venaient, son fils pompait du gaz et Manon se reposait sur le comptoir. Quand les choses se sont calmées, le garçon est entré et les enfants sont restés près de leurs parents.

Mme Dery, qui était assise à la fenêtre, a dit: «Après quatre ans, je suis venu à l’accepter, je sais maintenant qu’elle ne reviendra jamais, je l’accepte, mais pourquoi quelqu’un ferait-il cela?

Par l’intermédiaire de leur avocat, Guy Houle, les Dery ont demandé au ministre de la Justice du Québec, Marc-André Bedard, de transférer officiellement l’affaire de la police de la ville de Longueuil à la police provinciale, la Sûreté du Québec. Voici le texte de la requête de M Dery envoyé par l’avocat de Dery, Guy Houle:

“Honerable ministre de la Justice:

Considérant les événements du 20 mai 1975. mon enfant Diane Dery, 13 ans, victime d’un assassin, près de chez nous au 1145, rue Bizard à Longueuil;

Considérant que certaines actions et entreprises de la police municipale de Longueuil ont tenté d’élucider cette enquête, mais aucun résultat concret n’a été donné dans l’étude globale de cette affaire;

Considérant que maintenant, depuis plus de quatre ans, nous avions espéré voir des résultats dans ces affaires;

Considérant que la police municipale de Longueuil, malgré tous les efforts dont elle dispose, ne possède peut-être pas tous les outils nécessaires pour mener une enquête et obtenir des résultats;

Considérant surtout que la police municipale de Longueuil ne se spécialise pas dans ce genre d’enquêtes;

Considérant que la Sûreté du Québec a à sa disposition une escouade d’homicides;

C’est pourquoi les gens ont besoin d’être confiants dans les institutions, et certainement dans la protection de la société contre les assassins qui peuvent marcher librement parmi nous.

Nous soumettons cette demande à l’honorable ministre de la Justice de la province que vous prendrez part à cette affaire conjointement avec la police municipale de Longueuil pour faire la lumière au nom de la justice et de la sécurité publique.

Cette lettre a été envoyée au ministre de la Justice le 5 juillet. 1979. Il a également été envoyé à la police de Longueuil, le député de Nicolet-Yamaska, Me Serge Fontaine, et notre collaborateur à Allo Police, Claude Poirier.

Au moment où nous quittions Saint-Célestin, la jeune fille de Dery, qui jusqu’alors n’avait rien dit: «Aujourd’hui, les gens vont tuer pour deux dollars, nous voulons la justice, et tous savent pourquoi ils l’ont fait.

La famille Dery a souffert. Seront-ils heureux un jour quand ils connaîtront les noms des assassins? Nous l’espérons.

La famille Maurice Corbeil a également quitté sa maison de la rue Boucher à Longueuil. Mme Corbeil s’installe à Saint-Félix-de-Kingsey, elle aimerait continuer à aller en Beauce.

M e Corbeil est parvenue à un accord avec l’enquête. De la police, elle dit: “Nous étions soupçonnés d’être méfiants, je veux l’enquête parce que dans des choses comme ça, nous devons trouver les coupables.” Néanmoins, elle essaie de ne pas penser aux choses horribles: «Je ne veux pas de publicité pour mon fils, et je ne veux pas le regarder, pourquoi voudriez-vous de la publicité pour une telle chose?

Post-scripts:

En novembre 1979, le ministre de la Justice du Québec accepte les demandes des familles et transfère les dossiers à la Sûreté du Québec. Diane Dery et Mario Corbeil sont actuellement répertoriés sur le site Web de la Surete du Québec, toujours en suspens après 43 ans:

Coda: Dans l’article nécrologique de La Presse datant de 1975, on disait que Diane Dery «est morte accidentellement», probablement pour que la famille puisse éviter la honte dans la communauté.

Amazing Journey: Diane Dery and Mario Corbeil – May 20, 1975 / WKT2 #17

 

 

On May 20, 1975, at around 8:15 p.m., Diane Déry, age 13, and Mario Corbeil, age 15, left Diane’s home to go for a motorcycle ride in a field near boulevard Rolland-Therrien in Longueuil. Seeing that the young people had not returned, family members of the two teenagers searched the area during the evening and night.

The next morning, at around 7:20 a.m., the police found the bodies of Diane Déry and Mario Corbeil in a wooded area at the end of boulevard Rolland-Therrien and avenue Vaugeulin. The crime scene analysis showed that the two young people were murdered.

From Allo Police, August 5, 1979 by Jaques Durand

After 4 years and no resolution, the father of Diane Dery, Jaques Dery demanded of the then Quebec Justice Minister, Marc-Andre Bedard that the case be taken away from the investigating force, the Longueuil police, and transferred to the Surete du Quebec.

In 1975 the Derys lived at 1145 rue Bizard in Longueuil. They since moved to Saint-Celestin (Nicolet). He worked at a gas station, his wife ran the small cantine inside.

The parents of Maro Corbeil, M and Mne Maurice and Francoise Corbeil continued to live in Longueuil on rue Boucher. The Dery’s attorney in the affair was Guy Houle.

A recounting of events of May 20th and 21st, 1975

It was a Tuesday, a beautiful day. Mario’s parents gave him a small motocylette as a present.  Mario spent many hours enjoying it, giving rides to his family and friends. The last ride was reserved for a petite ami, Diane Dery. The families would never see them alive again.

The next day, Wednesday, May 21st, the bodies were discovered in a field near the Saint Hubert airport. Mario had been beaten, then shot six times with a 22 caliber pistol. Diane had been shot once in the head with the same caliber pistol. She had been sexually assaulted, and her body was placed on top of Mario’s. The bodies were placed in such a way as to suggest they had a sexual relationship.

Map of Dery / Corbeil murders

The case was turned over to lieutenant detectives Lacombe and Villeneuve of the Longueuil police. A dozen persons were interrogated.

After two years, M Jacques Dery made the decision to sell everything and settle elsewhere. The family had a new daughter, Manon, and they wanted to start a better life. He moved to a corner of the province, Saint-Celestin (Nicolet). M Dery became the proprietor of a gas station along route 20. He established a solid clientele. He had another project in mind: getting his entire family out of Longueuil as soon as possible. M Dery bought a house, and in the month of October his family moved to this small, strong and sympathetic village.

The work was hard, it required him to work seven days a week. Not satisfied with her husband working alone, Mme Dery decided to operate a small cantine inside the gas station. Despite the arrangement, there were always two questions that needed answering:  WHO and WHY?

M Dery continued to communicate with investigators back in Longueuil. Investigators continued to communicate the same message, “We suspect someone, but we do not have the proof.”

Wanting to know more, M and Mme Dery met with lieutenant-detective Maurice Lauzon, who was the head of Longueuil homicide. He advised the Dery’s that he was not familiar with the dossier, but he would get up to speed quickly. He promised to telephone the family regularly to give them updates on the investigation.

” He never responded at all. I left messages, but he never called back. It was always me that had to telephone”, said M. Dery who added, “If the Longueuil police can’t do anything to advance the case, why can’t they turn it over to the Surete du Quebec? It’s not possible that two young children are killed so close to their homes, and they can’t find anything. It’s not possible, maybe the Surete du Quebec won’t be able to find anything either, but we’d have the satisfaction to know that we tried.”

During the interview, which took place inside the gas station, as M Dery sold cigarettes to customers coming and going, his son pumped gas and Manon rested on the counter. When things settled down the boy came inside, and the children stayed close to their parents.

Mme Dery, who was sitting in the window, said “After four years I’ve come to accept it I know now that she’s never coming back. I accept that, but why would someone do that?”

Through their attorney, Guy Houle, the Dery’s made a request to the Quebec Justice Minister Marc-Andre Bedard to officially have the case transferred from the City of Longueuil police to the provincial police, the Surete du Quebec.  Here is the text from M Dery’s request sent through the Dery’s attorney, Guy Houle:

“Honerable Minister of Justice:

Considering the events of May 20th, 1975. my child Diane Dery, age 13, a victim of an assassin, close to our home at 1145  rue Bizard in Longueuil;

Considering that certain actions and enterprises by the municipal police of Longueuil were attempted to elucidate this investigation, but no concrete results were given in the total study of this case; 

Considering that now for more than four years we had hoped to see results in these affairs;

Considering that the municipal police of Longueuil, despite all efforts at their disposal, possibly do not possess all the necessary tools to conduct an investigation and achieve results;

Considering above all that the municipal police of Longueuil do not specialize in these types of investigations;

Considering that the Surete du Quebec has at their disposal a homicide squad;

It’s why the people need to be confident in institutions, and certainly in the protection of society against assassins who may walk free among us.

We submit this request to the honorable Minister of Justice of the Province that you will take a hand in this affair jointly with the municipal police of Longueuil to shed a light in the name of justice and public security.”

This letter was sent to the Justice Minister on July 5th. 1979. It was also sent to the Longueuil police, the Deputy of Nicolet-Yamaska, Me Serge Fontaine, and our collaborator at Allo Police, Claude Poirier.

Just as we were leaving Saint-Celestin, the Dery’s young daughter, who up until then had said nothing offered, ” Today people will kill for two dollars;  We want justice, and all of them know why they did it.”

The Dery family has suffered. Will they be happy one day when they know the names of the assassins? We hope so.

The Maurice Corbeil family also left their home on rue Boucher in Longueuil. Mme Corbeil moved to Saint-Felix-de-Kingsey, she would like to continue to go to Beauce.

Mne Corbeil has come to an accord with  the investigation. Of the police she says,  “We were suspected for being suspicious. I want the investigation because in things like this we must find the culprits.”  Nevertheless she tries not to think of the horrible things:  “I don’t want any publicity for my son, and I don’t want to look at it. Why would you want publicity for such a thing?”

Post-scripts: 

In November 1979, the Justice Minister of Quebec agreed to the families’ requests and transferred the cases to the Surete du Quebec. Diane Dery and Mario Corbeil are currently listed on the Surete du Quebec’s cold case website, still unsolved after 43 years:

Coda: In the La Presse obituary from 1975 it was stated that Diane Dery “died accidentally”, most likely so that the family could avoid shame with the community.

The Nathalie Bergeron Interview – WKT2 #16

 

 

Nathalie Bergeron is the sister of Marilyn Bergeron. Marilyn has been missing since February 2008 when she was last spotted at an ATM by a surveillance camera in Loretteville, Quebec.On this day – Sunday, April 29th, 2018 – we spent the morning talking to Nathalie as her family prepared for a walk in Marilyn’s honor which was held that afternoon in Quebec City.

 

Nathalie Bergeron

 

Flyer for the 2018 walk for Marilyn Bergeron

 

On the morning of February 17, 2008, Marilyn Bergeron (born December 21, 1983), left her family’s home in Quebec CityQuebec, Canada, for what she said was a walk. She did not return. An automated teller machine (ATM) security camera in Loretteville recorded her attempting to withdraw money early in the afternoon; she was last seen almost five hours after leaving home at a coffee shop in Saint-Romuald. Many sightings of her have been reported since then, especially in areas of Ontario just outside Quebec, but none have been confirmed.

Quebec City police (SPVQ), who continue to investigate, have theorized that Bergeron committed suicide. Her family, who has put up a reward for information leading to the resolution of the case, believes she may have instead met with foul play. Shortly before her disappearance she had moved back to Quebec City from Montreal, where she told her parents, without being specific, that something had happened there and she no longer felt safe living on her own.

 

Marilyn Bergeron and her sister Nathalie

 

Due to this, and the jurisdictional limitations of the SPVQ, the family has repeatedly petitioned the provincial Ministry of Public Security to order the case file transferred to either the Montreal police or the Sûreté du Québec, both of whom they feel could make more progress; the request has been refused. As a result, they have retained former provincial justice minister Marc Bellemare to press their case. Crime journalist Claude Poirier has also devoted an episode of his Historia series Poirier Enquête to the case.

Marilyn Bergeron’s parents

 

Marilyn Bergeron and her sister Nathalie

 

In 2017 a friend who knew Bergeron in Montreal confirmed that she had grown increasingly fearful and reclusive there in the two months before her disappearance. He said he had asked her if she had been raped or witnessed a crime. She said what had happened to her was “worse” than that, but refused to elaborate.

You may view the entire episode of Poirier Enquete about Marilyn Bergeron here:

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Intro to Loco Part III / Debbie Buck / WKT2 #15

The 1976 murder of Debbie Buck.  Updates on the cases of Katherine Hawkes and Jocelyne Houle. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Robert Bobby Waterman obituary

 

 

CASE UPDATE / JOCELYNE HOULE

Recall that on the night she disappeared, April 17, 1977, Jocelyne Houle left the Old Munich on her way to La Caleche, which was a strip-bar on Ste. Catherines street. Her body was later found in the woods off Range 5 in Ste-Calixte.

In September 1977 the skeletal remains of two young women were found in the woods side-by-side off Range 4 in Ste. Calixte. They were later identified as 21 year old Francine Loiselle and 18 year old Suzanne Morrow, two strippers from Longueuil and Laval respectively. The newspaper La Presse reports that the Surete du Quebec are working on a theory of suicide. The coroner ruled that the remains had been in the woods since at least June of 1977.  If you look on a map, Range 4 turns into Range 5.

September 29, 1977 / Francine Loiselle et Suzanne Morrow

 

 

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Intro to Loco Part II / Diane Thibeault / WKT2 #14

 

 The murder of Diane Thibault, for which the Montreal police received a full confession from Edmond Turcotte. Turcotte later retracted his confession.

Diane Thibeault, 25, was found dead in am empty lot at St. Dominique and Dorchester. It was initially unclear where or when she was killed but detectives deduced that the killer returned at about 4 a.m. to set her body on fire. Thibeault was a single mother on welfare who originally came from St. Jerome and had a two-year-old son Stephane.  She was said to have frequented bars and cabarets on the Lower Main. 

 

Diane Thibeault

 

Edmond Turcotte’s confession

 

Edmond Turcotte’s hand drawn map of the hotel room where he allegedly murdered Thibeault

 

Map of Diane Thibeault crime scene

 

Diane Thibeault

 

Update May 3, 2018:

A colleague found this article where Edmond Turcotte was acquitted of the murder of Diane Thibeault:

 

Musique de WKT2 # 14:

Si vous n’êtes pas du Québec, probablement ne connaissez pas Harmonium. Si vous êtes du Québec, il serait difficile de ne pas connaître Harmonium. Je pense que Rolling Stone les a classés 35e sur la liste de rock progressif de tous les temps.

En grandissant, j’étais conscient d’eux, mais je ne les ai pas écoutés. En fait, ce n’est que l’été dernier, lorsque j’étais à Ottawa, que j’ai attrapé le bug. J’ai passé un après-midi au musée de l’histoire, qui possédait une impressionnante collection de culture québécoise, et l’une des installations était une zone d’écoute où l’on pouvait entendre des musiques fondatrices de groupes comme Cano, Beau Dommage et bien sûr Harmonium.

Certes, il y a des influences évidentes (Genesis et Supertramp viennent facilement à l’esprit), mais il y a quelque chose d’unique ici. Quelque chose que j’ai ressenti était très spécifique à 1975, et c’est pourquoi je les ai utilisés pour ce podcast.

La plupart des gens citent leur premier album comme la plus grande influence (tout le monde connaît Pour Un Instant), mais c’est leur deuxième album, Si On Avait Besoin d’une Cinquième Saison que je pense être le chef-d’œuvre.

Au moment où nous arrivons à L’Heptade en 1976, je pense que la magie était terminée. Comme beaucoup de choses dans le rock progressif, les compositions sont devenues pesantes et gonflées: donnez à Genesis le mérite d’avoir fait exploser le format et la rationalisation, même si vous ne pouvez pas apprécier quelque chose comme ABACAB.

Aussi … je suis sûr que Serge Fiori était probablement a dick to work with …

Music from WKT2 #14:

If you’re not from Quebec you probably don’t know Harmonium. If you’re from Quebec it would be hard NOT to know Harmonium. I think Rolling Stone ranked them 35th on the all-time prog rock list.

Growing up I was aware of them, but I didn’t listen to them. In fact it wasn’t until last summer when I was in Ottawa that I caught the bug. I spent an afternoon at the museum of history, which had a very impressive collection of Quebec culture, and one of the installations was a listening area where you could hear foundational music by groups like Cano, Beau Dommage, and of course, Harmonium.

True there are obvious influences (Genesis and Supertramp easily come to mind), but there’s something unique here. Something I felt was very specific to 1975, and that’s why I used them for this podcast.

Most people cite their first album as the greatest influence (everyone knows Pour Un Instant), but It’s their second album, Si On Avait Besoin D’une Cinquième Saison that I think is the masterpiece.

By the time we get to L’Heptade in 1976, I think the magic was over. Like so much in prog rock, the compositions became ponderous and bloated: give Genesis credit for blowing up the format and streamlining, even if you can’t appreciate something like ABACAB.

Also… I’m sure Serge Fiori was probably a dick to work with…

Music WKT2 #13 – Jethro Tull

There are a handful of bands from the 70s from outside of Canada that are really specific to Montreal and Quebec.

Supertramp? Styx? And of course, Jethro Tull. I can’t overstate the love Quebec has for Jethro Tull, they were intrinsic to the culture in the 70s.

For my 12th birthday? My sister gave me two albums: Rush A Farewell to Kings and Jethro Tull Aqualung.

At that moment I was sold on a prog-rock holiday.

The second album I bought? Was probably Benefit? And probably at Eaton’s at the Fairview Mall… and probably because I thought the album cover was really cool.

That original line up? Sick, sick, sick.  Clive Bunker has always been my favorite drummer (listen to him on Teacher where he’s simply marking time… insane.)  . Glenn Cornick‘s bass runs? Come on!  There is nothing like Martin Barre’s Gibson Les Paul. I’m not a guitar guy, but I’m guessing that’s what he plays… correct me if I’m wrong:

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Intro to Loco Part I / Carole Dupont / WKT2 #13

On April 13th, 1974, Carole Dupont’s body was discovered behind the Foyer Drapeau, a retirement home located at 100 Chanoine-Lionel-Groulx Street in Sainte-Thérèse. Carole Dupont was last seen with three people on December 22th, 1973, leaving the Hotel Blainville in the same municipality.

 

Surete du Quebec’s post on Carole Dupont

 

un-doctored photo of Carole Dupont

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The body of Carole Matte

 

Kristian Gravenor’s Coolopolis post on Carole Matte:

Carole Matte

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Canada needs the Victims Ombudsman

 

 

The position of Canada’s Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime has stood vacant for six months. How Justice Canada and the Privy Council Office could allow this to happen is anyone’s guess. Walking you through my own experience in applying for the position reveals that it shouldn’t come as a surprise.

 

Interior of the Privy Council Office

 

It’s been exactly one year since Justice Canada first advertised for the Ombudsman position. The former Ombudsman, Sue O’Sullivan had announced she would be retiring in August 2017 (a negotiation resulted in her staying on for an additional 3 months). This seemed like a great opportunity to correct the appointment from the Harper era. O’Sullivan was a former police chief: can you imagine a more appalling representative for victims of violence? (her Twitter feed quickly revealed she preferred to network with other LEOs). And BTW the OFOVC’s Tweeter feed is lost in the stone-age: pushing out information, with no effort to engage people.

Some associates in victims advocacy suggested I should apply. I thought they were joking and basically responded “they’d never let me run the office they way I want to”. Their response was quick and universal: “that’s why you should apply.”  I reviewed the application criteria and realized I was well qualified for the job:

  • I have a Masters of Public Administration with a concentration in justice administration. Prior to being promoted to the position of Assistant Director of Budget & Management Services for the City of Durham, North Carolina, I was working on my PhD in Criminology.
  • I have experience working in finance and budgeting.   I was the former Treasurer for the City of Durham. I have implemented or co-implemented the following government best practices in my career:  strategic planning, performance measurement and management, priority / program based budgeting, multi-year financial planning.
  • At the operational level I run an office similar in size and scope as that of the Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime / OFOVC; Durham’s Office of Budget & Management Services is an office of 12 employees with an annual operating budget of approximately $1.3M, the OFOVC has 9 employees with an annual budget also of $1.3M.
  • Significant experience in Canadian victim advocacy: I was a founding member of the now dissolved Canadian Association of Victim Advocates (CAVA) and Quebec’s Association des Familles de Personnes Assassinées ou Disparues (AFPAD). I was one of many who lobbied for the creation of the office of a victims’ ombudsman. I am currently Board Vice-Chair for Long-Term Inmates Now in the Community (LINC) of Mission, British Columbia, whose project, Emma’s Acres helps former offenders and victims re-integrate into the community. Currently I act as a liaison between Quebec crime victims and the Surete du Quebec’s cold-case unit to ensure better communication between police and victims of crime.
  • Experience in the management of a complaints function, a review function or an investigative function: The City of Durham is nationally known for its engagement process with the community in annual budgeting. I work as an intermediary between the City and residents to ensure that their priorities are heard and addressed through a variety of mediums including public hearings, community meetings, annual digital townhall meetings, surveying, and social media platforms.
  • Our Budgeting office in Durham recently established an Innovation Division and was awarded a Bloomberg Philanthropies grant to foster and promote productive partnerships with community stakeholders with a focus of behavioral economics.

Finally I had good representational support in my letters of recommendation from victims from British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec. All of this I considered a good foundation to start the application process. True, I was a little rusty on some of the policy issues, but Justice provided good guidance on their website of the areas I needed to bone up on (The Criminal Code, Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Canadian Victims Bill of Rights, Corrections and Conditional Release Act, etc…)

I began my process with a couple of softball pitches to the OFOVC, and the results spelled trouble. The first question I asked, “Does you office have a strategic plan”  was met with “no we do not have a strategic plan”. 

Wrong answer. The OFOVC does have a strategic plan, it is embedded in Justice Canada’s strategic plan. Furthermore, it is a carryover from the early Peter MacKay era. First issue: if you’re not aware of your strategic plan, what are you doing? How do you know where you’re going? How will you know you’ve arrived when you get there? Second issue: a strategic plan is a living, dynamic process, it is not a binder of paper that sits on a shelf. It should be updated every two years, with the goals and priorities coming from the victim community and its stakeholders.

The second matter is a little trickier to explain, and involved the matter of the 1977 Montreal murder of Katherine Hawkes. Murder cases are usually matters for the provinces and local law enforcement, but Hawkes’ murder was unique. She was murdered at a CN railway station, which is on Federal land, so the cold case was initially assigned to the RCMP. This meant that the OFOVC did have jurisdiction and authority over assisting in the victims inquiry of the Hawkes murder. Representing Hawkes’ cousin I made my inquiry to the OFOVC. Here’s the response I received:

“Thank you for communicating once again with the Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime (OFOVC). Any matters or issues pertaining to the RCMP…   I would encourage you to communicate with (them) given that they would be in a better position to answer your questions and or direct you to the best resources…. 

Wishing you well  Mr. Allore in  finding resolution.”

Never mind that I had already informed the OFOVC that I had previously communicated with the RCMP and found them unresponsive, the OFOVC kicked-the-can right back to the RCMP.

Things were not looking good for a continued relationship the the Office of the Ombudsman, but I submitted my application anyway, and began to do my research, never believing I’d ever get an interview anyway.

Things Get Worse

 

In reviewing the OFOVC’s materials one thing became immediately apparent: their annual report was really bad. The format hadn’t been updated since the Steve Sullivan era (the first victims ombudsman). Too many glossy photos paying lip service to diversity. A series of recommendations, but an office without any clout to see them implemented. Their performance measures were the worst: all workload, a lot of counting: Number of calls received. Number of email responses. Nothing that told you the Office was moving the needle substantively on any victim policy issue.

Further, the Ombudsman was a contract employee with options for renewal every three years. Who could possibly advance policy under these conditions? With a three year mandate?

The first thing I would be doing on day one of employment? Looking for my next job.

Even further, everyone the Ombudsman supervised in that 9 person office was a career Federal employee. If they didn’t like you or the direction you were moving they could simply wait you out. They weren’t working for you, you were working for them.

The Interview

My suspicions and hesitancy were confirmed when in mid-June 2017 I was contacted by the Office of Privy Council and asked to travel to Ottawa for a formal interview. My interest in the position at this point was still sincere, I thought I at least owed them a chance to explain some of my perceived issues and challenges. From this you can see my approach to the whole process: They weren’t only interviewing me, I was interviewing them.

The interview took place in July 2017 at the Privy Council Office on Wellington. I met with a panel of five (all women) from Justice, Privy and OFOVC. The process was a fairly canned, stiff affair. Round robin questions, with the panel taking time to scribble and score you – yes this a familiar process, it’s the one we use in Durham when we interview candidates – but no one allowed room to open things up, and delve into specifics. In Durham, if a candidate brings something up that you feel might need more mining, you have the freedom to go off-script and probe. There was none of that with the OFOVC process. The hour was so rigid I assumed at the time that they had already chosen someone and they had made up their mind to go-through-the-motions with me (we now that not to be true!).

 

80 Wellington Street

 

The worst was the french question. This had been telegraphed and prompted beyond believe. All candidates were told prior to the interview that there would be one question in french. Before the interview commenced one of the panel – again – told me that a french question was coming (you were an idiot not to know it was coming from the one panel member with the heavy french accent). When it came, it was lobbed at me at slow-motion speed, as if I were in elementary school. And then – again – I was reassured I could respond in English.

Why the hell would I want to respond in English? If I wasn’t capable of communicating in french I had no business representing all victims as the Ombudsman of Canada.

In the course of the interview I did manage to communicate to them what I thought I was capable of accomplishing in three years. Traveling around the country and meeting stakeholders was important, but I had no intention of being a pamphlet pusher and glad-handler. The OFOVC needed to first conduct a survey of victims and representatives not simply to determine who the victims were (the current focus of most victim surveys), but more importantly, what do victims need and want. From that, develop a strategic plan that is independent of Justice Canada, establish metrics that are measurable, then work toward achieving some goals and making some decisions that are data-driven. If the expectation was for the Ombudsman to become fully involved in the #MMIWG process it would need complete support and transparency from Justice. Advancing policy along the lines of victim representation in the court process would need more time, a 5 or 7 year mandate / contract.

When the interview ended I was allowed time for one question of my own, and it was made clear they wouldn’t address salary and benefits at this point. I was briskly escorted out of the building.

Aftermath

Maybe we weren’t such a good fit. Maybe they didn’t share my vision, or I theirs. Maybe they just didn’t like me?

What happened next forced me to burn a bridge. I don’t mind writing all this because I made up my mind last November that I would never take the position of Federal Victims Ombudsman of Canada.

First, had we arrived at a salary and benefits discussion I was pretty firm that I was going to ask that the Ombudsman be reclassified 2 steps up in the Federal pay grade ladder, and that I be given –  at least – a 5 year contract. They never would have agreed to this, so the thing was never going to happen anyway.

Second, in the room I said something to the effect of, “you couldn’t pay me enough to do this job!” This woke them up, then I clarified: You do this work out of passion, money can never truly compensate for the efforts required.

Then there was the whole reimbursement thing.

I traveled to Ottawa on my own dime with the promise of being reimbursed on submission of all my receipts. All receipts were submitted electronically in July. I was told they need the original receipts, they would need to be mailed. I mailed them. I waited.

August, I waited. I emailed. I called. I waited.

September, more calling, more emails, more waiting.

October…

I was told the matter was held up in the Federal central accounting office. I had submitted a reimbursement request for a $3.50 bus ride from the airport, but no receipt (I lost the receipt).

Now at this point I have to stop and go into this. I had been extremely responsible with all my expenses. I could have taken a $60 limousine to and from the airport. I could have stayed at the Laurier, I stayed at the Elgin (they were having a sale). I could have charged them for three nights instead of two, I didn’t think tax payers should pay for my extra day of museums and sightseeing…  And now my money was tied up in process over a $3.50 cent bus ride.

And here’s the punchline. In November – 4 months after my interview – they mailed me a cheque for my expenses. Well for some of my expenses. I was on the hook for approximately $1,200 American (net of anything like the third day of lodgings, etc…). I received a cheque for approximately $800 Canadian, roughly half of what I went out of pocket for with the whole ordeal.

And I couldn’t even cash it. I had to wait until the end of November when I was in Kingston to get the Canadian funds from RBC… cross the street to the bank exchange to covert it back to American, in which process I lose EVEN MORE MONEY.

I did receive a rather perfunctory email from the Privy Council that basically said that if I had any complaints I could take them up with the Prime Minister.

That’s it people. That is you Federal Justice process at work.

Canada does deserve a good victims ombudsman. The position should not be standing vacant for 6 months, the need is too important. But it won’t be me.

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