As they soul-search over how they might have saved the doomed Shafia sisters, child-protection officials in Montreal admit they were ill-prepared to confront the new form of extremism that led to the murder of the three girls.
Facing questions over whether they failed to protect the sisters, officials say they had been accustomed to dealing with cases of parental abuse before – but not with the kind of demonic plot hatched by the domineering Mohammad Shafia.
“Having that kind of cultural reference – the possibility of going through the extreme of killing your children in such a premeditated way – is something that's very new to us,” said Madeleine Bérard, director of youth protection at Batshaw Youth and Family Services in Montreal. “Now we have to work with that, because it's obviously part of our reality.”
Mohammad Shafia was convicted Sunday along with wife Tooba Mohammad Yahya and son Hamed in the first-degree murder of four members of their Montreal family, including their three daughters Zainab, Sahar and Geeti.
Batshaw, the anglophone Montreal agency that dealt with the Shafia file in 2008, has already begun a review of its handling of the case. But whatever the case workers’ possible shortcomings, officials say, they should be shared by all Canadians who have yet to confront new forms of extremism.
“I think it's a failing that we share with the rest of Canadians, in terms of not having the consciousness of how extreme some of these behaviours are,” Ms. Bérard said. “We think they're so far away and will never come home, but they are actually home right now in our own country, and we have to deal with them.”
She said Batshaw has been used to dealing with novel cultural values and generational family conflicts with each successive wave of immigration.
“But the concept of honour killing,” she said, “is so new.”
Social-service agencies in Quebec have faced scrutiny over whether they failed to spot the danger that put the lives of the Shafia sisters at risk. Two of the sisters told their school as well as youth protection workers that they were fearful of their father and brother; youth-protection services opened investigations but closed the book on them twice.
Some factors unique to the province may have worked against the girls. Quebec at the time had no province-wide registry to record reports of abuse. When one of the sisters turned to a French-language child-protection centre in 2009, officials had no record that her sister had turned to the English-language Batshaw service the year before.
Such a registry was put in place in May, 2009, after the girls had gone to authorities but shortly before they died. Ontario has had one since 2000.
Also, Quebec historically has a relatively low rate of taking at-risk children away from their families and shifting them into care – the province’s per-capita rate is the third lowest of the 13 provinces and territories, according to a 2007 study.
Some of that is economic – proportionately fewer people live in dire poverty – but it can also be linked to a stronger belief among Quebeckers in the preservation of the family unit. As a result, says Wendy Thomson, director of McGill University’s school of social work, “in Quebec you have to be demonstrating a fairly high degree of risk in order to be considered an appropriate client and receive services.”
Children’s aid groups in several other provinces said they watched the Shafia trial closely.
“Any time there’s stories related to family violence and that kind of thing, we want to pay attention,” said Christina Bruce, a spokeswoman for Alberta Human Services.
Virginia Rowden, director of policy for the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies, said the case highlights the need for other social services, including immigrant settlement programs, to help people who are new to Canada feel comfortable coming forward if there are problems at home.
But she disputed the idea that child protection agencies aren’t prepared to handle culturally motivated violence. “It’s certainly not the first case where someone has been killed under the defence of honour killing,” she said. “We’re pretty tuned into that.”
She added that staff in Ontario are trained to adapt their work to diverse populations, but when it comes to acts or threats of abuse, all cases are treated in the same manner. “The agencies would be dealing with abuse and neglect cases exactly the same from one culture to another.”
With reports from Kim Mackrael and John Allemang
While some Muslim women in Canada are under real threats so are Most Canadian
Fathers because of Canadian Male Sharia Law that is enshrined in Family Courts
and administered in just a westernized version of Taliban justice.
First, Men in Canada have NO legal rights, its a facade, a very sick joke.
The classic separation in Canada occurs like this.
A full time FATHER who has an wife who has next to no involvement in the children realizes that he is going to divorce her.
She calls 911 and makes any allegation that comes to the top of her head at either the spur of the moment or carefully planned with advice from a "one stop divorce shop" aka a branch office of the Canadian Man Haters Association or one of those well known extreme feminist lawyers who are willing to personally fabricate evidence, make calls to police, his employer etc to destroy him.
The criminal charges, are often based on dubious allegations of an assault years ago that takes a year to get to trial and thrown out the day before trial but not before SHE has established a new status quo that results in her keeping the kids and him being reduced to a weekend visitor paying support.
If he was a woman, he would have got sole possession of the home, sole custody, spousal support and child support.
Our judges use child support orders to prevent men from getting spousal support when increasingly women earn higher incomes while dad is the full time parent.
Judges, family court judges don't want to see it that way, it contradicts
CANADIAN MALE SHARIA LAW
Equality is exactly that, its a tragedy that the Canadian Judiciary prostitute themselves in the pursuit of extreme feminist domination imposed on Canadian Men by
Canadian Male Sharia Law.
It's time to end Sharia Law in Canada both female and male.
Commentary by the Ottawa Mens Centre
One of the greatest difficulties of "parental alienation" is that it's very
name is regarded as something of a medical condition and once the label is
applied then it will somehow automatically engage an appropriate remedy, which
is a load of crock.
If you take a very rare case where a court orders children to reside equally with both parents, after each party pays their dues by way of six figure legal bills, its often the sane parent who is the victim of an insane mentally ill parent or at least with a very serious personality disorder who destroys the children for their own purposes of control and revenge against the other parent.
It can be male or female, the common fact is "control", the parent with the most control will spend their time alienating the children from the other parent. The more money at stake the more they will engage in that behaviour.
The only solution is for a "Legal Presumption of Equal Parenting".
Now watch the extreme feminist lobby group try to take down this post.
Canadians need to know that there is Sharia Law in Canadian Child Protection.
Its real name is, Male Sharia Law,
that is the exact opposite of what the worlds thinks of when it hears the word Sharia Law.
Ontario Family Law is a very sick corrupt business that has been enshrined with Extreme Feminist Legislation and a set of unofficial rules that are designed for one purpose, "Male Sharia Law".
Take our courts, they apply the ILLEGAL "Tender Years Doctrine" that is, young children should not be left with fathers. Any woman, who deliberately gets pregnant is almost certain to be able to permanently exclude the father's involvement and in particular ensure that he never gets to have alternate weeks of care while the child is in the ILLEGAL "Tender Years".
Then we have the C.A.S. riddled with extreme feminists who assume every man is a wife beater and apply a reverse onus, that is, HE is automatically unsuitable and any complaint he makes is fake.
While some workers spot fake complaints from women and dispense with them, the vast majority end up being investigated .
Our Family courts are CORRUPT, its starts with the endless list of Dead Beat Judges who treat self respresented litigants as the worst scum on earth, they encourage lawyers to fail to communicate with self represented litigants.
That makes our family court judges the worst child abusers in society because they "fail to read the pleadings" of self represented litigants, allow lawyers to pit their dubious credibility against that of a self represented litigant.
It gets worse, you have the likes of Allan Sheffield, Denis Power, Cheryl Robertson who flagrantly abuse their judicial powers to act as the sergeants of arms of the Legal Cartel who send billions of dollars to lawyers , their friends, against their perceived enemies, the male self represented litigants.
Family violence is one thing, what the courts ignore is violence that's even worse, its not physical, its the psychological, its the loud yelling in the husbands ears, the endless putdowns, the endless threats that "You won't see MY child if I get rid of you", "I can destroy you in court" etc etc.
Why? Because we have a Male Sharia Law that makes Canada one of the corrupt legal places in the world.
11:57 AM on January 31, 2012