THUNDER BAY – It is a mark of the care and respect for fellow human beings. The search for Jordan Wabasse, who has been missing since February 7th, when he disappeared after getting off a bus in the south-side of Thunder Bay continues. Family, searchers and friends are not giving up. The family is not giving up.
First Nations across the North are uniting together in an effort to find this young man and bring him home.
Almost 4000 people have joined the Find Jordan Wabasse site on Facebook. People from across Canada, across Northern Ontario, and beyond are hearing about the plight of the family as the long search continues.
One of the issues that is concerning on this story is how little information on this missing youth has been reported outside Thunder Bay. The APTN has done a couple of stories, and the Guelph Mercury has reported on the story. Other than that, it is almost as if the rest of the media is too busy with other news to bother. Local coverage in Thunder Bay has been strong, and that does certainly help. However if Jordan were to be in either Winnipeg, Toronto or anywhere else, no one would know he was missing.
This week, Cathy Elliott reports that during a speech by National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo of the Assembly of First Nations that she sought answers from the National Chief on the issue of the missing youth. Elliott is the Darearts Nee-tum-ochee-bek (First Roots) Team Leader.
Cathy shares, “The family put themselves up in a hotel in Thunder Bay, worked with Thunder Bay Police and much later, the OPP. There have been two searches in the Kaministiquia River by the police. Now the community searchers are back on the water, but they need help. They need gas, food, cars, trucks, and most of all, the knowledge that someone besides themselves care. Even a 500 kilometer walk by a group of women on the frozen ground from KI to Webeqie to raise money and information didn’t catch the eye of the press”.
Little of the effort has made it onto the radar screens of the provincial and federal politicians either.
In many ways, perhaps part of the issue is that Northwestern Ontario in the wider scope of Ontario isn’t seen as all that big a media marketplace. However what the issue in terms of searching for Jordan Wabasse has exposed is that for too long now there is not an effective means of getting out information to the public outside of our own region.
On the City of Thunder Bay Police Service website, the earlier reports from Police have already been bumped off of the website. There is at present on the TBPS website, unlike in many other communities, an archive of information provided to the public. There should be a section of the website where information and updates on missing youth can be keep up to date. Right now the family and friends are using social media on Facebook, and websites on Knet to keep people updated. Not having a section of the police website keeping up to date on missing people means finding out information on older cases, for media from outside the city, is far harder, or reporters researching the story could assume the case has been solved.
Perhaps the TBPS, along with the O.P.P. and NAPS should establish a website with information on missing people in our region as a solution?
Right now, as a sign that no one is giving up, an awareness walk from Timmins to Thunder Bay is set to happen.
The depth of care, love and concern that friends, family, and even people who have never met Jordan Wabasse can be felt across the north.
It should be felt across the province and beyond.
That would help send a message that “We care” echoing across the north.
It would be the right thing to do.