THUNDER BAY – Editorial – The Prime Minister of Canada, along with the Premier of Ontario, flanked by the Minister of Education, the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, the Minister of Justice, and the Ontario Attorney General announced at a press conference that a full investigation will be launched to uncover why seven students from Victoria Park Collegiate Institute in Toronto have died over the past ten years. The two senior levels of government have assured parents that no stone will be left unturned in the investigation.
That would likely be what would happen if what is happening in Thunder Bay were happening in Toronto. Fortunately, there have not been seven students go missing from Victoria Park Collegiate Institute in Toronto. Honestly one hopes that what is happening in Thunder Bay never happens in any other community in Canada.
Sadly, however right now it looks like what is happening is a game of political ping-pong as the political approach seems more designed to deflect responsibility and to cast blame.
Residents have yet to see the kind of leadership in our region that would leave no stone unturned. There isn’t any massive efforts toward solving what appears to be the tip of the tip of a much larger iceberg.
Left floating in the wind are the families, and the young people from across Northern Ontario. Those students who in many cases end up leaving their small northern communities in order to move forward with their education are in the unfortunate position of being left, in some cases to fend for themselves.
Some find positive places to live, with boarding homes where they find new friends. Others seem to be less fortunate.
Politicians are usually ready to act toward finding solutions, yet in this case, deeds are yet to follow words.
What is needed is action. That means finding out how come Aboriginal youth in Thunder Bay are going missing and then turning up dead.
This doesn’t seem to be happening in Sioux Lookout or Dryden – other communities where students are attending high school.
Here in Thunder Bay, the latest youth to go missing was Jordan Wabasse.
Somehow the official story is that on a cold February night, the youth left the Intercity Mall, coffee in hand, got on a transit bus, got off that bus a block from home, and ended up in the Kam River and drown. Wabasse’s family and friends launched a massive search for the youth, with many people from across Northern Ontario stepping up efforts to help find the young man. Right now, everyone is left without answers as to why young people are going missing in Thunder Bay.
It is time for action, one wonders which leaders will step up and put forward that action.