The dilemma of Kayla Bourque

Kayla Bourque
Kayla Bourque

Kayla Bourque is a 22-year-old woman from Prince George. She was born in Romania and spent the first 8 months of her life in an orphanage there. A Canadian couple then adopted and raised her. Kayla Bourque is also a sociopath on her way to becoming a serial killer. She has been serving time in jail for torturing and killing a dog and a cat and for having a ‘murder kit’[1] in her possession. Bourque has fantasized about killing people. Her mother is significantly scared enough that she does not want Bourque back in the family home.

Bourque is being kept in jail for an additional 2 months as the judge and probation officials work on a release plan for her. The conditions will be stringent and any breaches will see Bourque back in jail. Her prognosis very poor; she lacks insight or remorse into her crimes. Apparently she also had child pornography in her possession.

Bourque poses a clear and present danger to society. She has been diagnosed with anti-social personality disorder with sociopathic tendencies. Clearly Bourque is broken likely as a result of not bonding with a parent or caregiver in the first critical months of life. While not all children coming out of these environments will pose a risk to society, we know that not attaching properly is a risk factor for these kinds of behaviours. Unlike a mental illness there is no pill one can take for these kinds of personality disorders.

The question is how do we protect society while at the same time respect Bourque’s freedom? All of the professionals involved can pretty much predict that, left to her own devices, Bourque will kill someone. Our legal system is not predicated on prevention; rather it focuses on punishment after someone has been convicted of a crime. How can we justify locking her up for a crime she may commit?

I am quite torn about what to do with Kayla Bourque. After her 3 years of parole and restrictions on her freedom what will happen? Do the police watch her for the rest of her life? There has been some discussion about doing something through the mental health act however that is problematic given that personality disorders are not mental illnesses. Sadly there is no easy answer that protects society while balancing her rights to liberty.

[1] Including a razor blade, garbage bags and a hypodermic needle.

BC Politics – more of the bait and switch

So, in a predictable fashion, the BC Liberals announced yesterday that our deficit is project to reach $1.4 billion dollars for this year. Yet, somehow, Christy Clark says her government will balance the budget in February while not cutting spending on health and education. I think she is full of crap if she thinks she can make up that kind of deficit by cutting civil service discretionary spending and implementing a hiring freeze.

Blaming all sorts of things like a real estate sale being delayed until June, lower property transfer tax due to a slump in real estate and low resource prices, the Finance Minister Mike de Jong announced cuts to discretionary spending and beyond that did not state how he will address the falling revenues. This information is in stark contrast to the rosy jobs picture Christy Clark likes to paint. The poor voter is left trying to figure out what is truth and what is fabrication with this government. Personally, I am deeply suspicious of everything the BC Liberals say; they are masters of duplicity and not above telling outright lies.

Here is my prediction: In February, when the provincial budget is tabled in the Legislature, it will be balanced. The BC Liberals will take credit for their ingenuity and jobs program that will have suddenly generated extra income that will magically take care of the deficit. They may float the idea of tax increases (as de Jong is not ruling them out right now) prior to the budget being released. However, we will all be saved from this horrible fate due to the strategic management skills of the BC Liberals. We will be told yet again that the private sector is our savior and our economy is just fine thank you very much.

The BC Liberals are counting on us to have short memories. They are hoping that we all forget the HST debacle, that we recognize their superior governing skills and that the NDP will kill the nascent prosperity in our economy. They will appeal to all of us to vote for them for our own good. Oh and in case we don’t get the message the BC Liberals have invested $63 million of your tax dollars in advertising to make sure we all get the message.

I am obsessed!!

I think I may need a crochet 12-step program soon. I received one of my two Noro crochet books today. All I want to do is go home and crochet! For the uninitiated, Noro Yarn is from Japan. It boasts interesting colour variegations that make unique finished patterns in the fabric. I recently discovered Noro’s silk garden, which is amazing to work with – it, is so soft and flexible. I predict that after November there will be much less blogging and a lot more crocheting!

A bully gets his comeuppance

In our world bullies generally skate by as most people are afraid to take them on. This coupled with the reality that effective mechanisms do not exist to hold bullies accountable for their behavior. Without any real consequences, bullies begin to think they are invincible and that the rules are not made for them. Today all that has changed in the City of Toronto. A court has ruled that Rob Ford must vacate his position of Mayor as he has violated conflict of interest rules. I am sure for most thinking Torontonians this must come as a huge relief.

Toronto has had some interesting mayors over the years. But none of them have created so much controversy and derision than Rob Ford. Even Mel Lastman, who tried to call out the army when Toronto had a bad snowstorm, was not as universally hated. In fact, Rob Ford makes Mel Lastman look like a scholar and a statesman in comparison.

What is even more disturbing about Rob Ford is the fact that he works with children as a coach of a football team. I can only imagine the things these young people have learned from him. Part of Ford’s defense was that he never read the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act. Whether he read it or not is immaterial, as we all know ignorance of the law is no excuse. Ford believes the rules do not apply to him regardless of what they are and who makes them. To him all of this comes down to a battle against right and left and the left is persecuting him.

Judge Hackland saw it differently. In his ruling he stated: “it is difficult to accept an error in judgment defence based essentially on a stubborn sense of entitlement (concerning his football foundation) and a dismissive and confrontational attitude to the integrity commissioner and the [council] code of conduct.”[1] In short, Ford bullied his way to this decision. Instead of heeding professional advice that he needed to do things correctly he believed he was above it all.

Of course, being the bully he is, he will not go away. He has vowed to fight this ruling and run again if he is actually made to step down. People like Ford never learn from their mistakes because they believe themselves to be above it all. And if they don’t get their own way they stamp their feet, yell and scream and bully those who are disagreeing with them. I think Rob Ford needs a big time out.

Savita Halappanavar’s last moments

I have blogged about the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar previously. I just read a timeline of her time in hospital. Savita was 17 weeks pregnant when she went to the hospital due to extreme pain. She was actively miscarrying. Unfortunately for Savita she was in Ireland where her pregnancy could not be terminated as long as there was a fetal heartbeat. The timeline reads like a horror of medical decisions based on church doctrine enshrined in law.

For days Savita languished in a hospital bed asking to have her doomed pregnancy terminated. She had accepted that she was losing a child she desperately wanted. Finally when the fetal heartbeat stopped, the hospital evacuated her uterus. After the procedure, one of the nurses told her it was a girl. Savita desperately wanted a girl.

As Savita’s condition worsened, the doctors assured her husband she would be fine. Then the ask him if she had been around farm animals or anywhere strange as she had contracted e. coli as if somehow it was her fault that she was so sick. At one point the doctor leaves a critically ill Savita to go to the chapel and pray.

The doctors at this hospital in Galway told Savita that they could not terminate her pregnancy because it was against the law. It would seem that the Catholic Church places more value in the potential of life, than in actual life; the fetus trumps the mother. This is an inherently misogynistic and violent position. The Catholic Church does not value women. While men can become priests and rise to the position of pope, women are completely shut out of this career path. Sure they can become nuns and minister to the poor, teach or become nurses but they are never really in a position where they can influence church policy or make decisions. By shutting women out from the highest levels of church office, the voices of Catholic women are not heard or considered.

Savita was not Catholic. Yet she became a victim of Catholic doctrine. In a country where religious doctrine dictates medical treatment and where a doctor’s answer to a critically ill patient is to blame her, while he goes off to pray, many women will die. How many women have died because their fetus’s heartbeat was still detectable? How on earth can doctors practicing in Ireland fulfill their oath as they let a patient deteriorate and die all because her dying fetus still had a heartbeat?

I hope that Savita’s husband Praveen sues not only the hospital and the Irish Government but also the Catholic Church. We must move on from a place where the religious beliefs of a few privileged men determine whether women live or die.

Other NaBloPoMoers I am following

I have been enjoying NaBloPoMo this year. It is a challenge to come up with something to blog about every day. Plus trying to remember to do it has also been a bit of a struggle. Knowing how hard it is I thought I would highlight some other bloggers who have been participating:

Beth has made it ever day over at Not to be trusted with knives

Erika has managed every day over on her blog Loic

And a new one I have been reading, Love, Live, Grow

Check them out and show them some love! Anyone have any other NaBloPoMo links?

Our incredible accident of birth

As many of you know, I work with refugees. On a daily basis I come face to face with my incredible privilege of being born in Canada. Every day, I am grateful for the fact that I have always felt relatively safe in Canada. While I have dealt with discrimination being a fat lesbian, I have never known actual fear for my life based on my opinions, political beliefs, or lack of religious belief. I have always felt free to express my views and beliefs and, as my blog will attest, I have been doing this since 2007 with almost 1100 posts.

On Wednesday, The Current on CBC Radio One, broadcasted some interviews from 2 individuals one either side of the Israel/Gaza conflict. I am not going to get into the particulars or my opinions on this conflict as it is a quagmire and not really relevant to this post. What struck me was the absolute terror both people felt at the bombing going on in their countries, places where they should have the right to feel safe.

First up they spoke with a man who lived in the Gaza Strip. He had children and Israeli bombs had fallen within 60 metres of his home. They had been with electricity for days, which was impacting their ability to get fresh water into their homes. Every day he has to go out and try to find food and water for his family; every day he feared he would come home and his house and family would be gone. He just wanted a safe place to raise his family where he could provide food and water for his children.

Next they interviewed a woman who lived in a city close to the border with Gaza. The woman worked at a university in a city about close to the border. She expressed gratitude that she lived 40 km from her work as the missiles were unlikely to hit her home. She then relayed the process everyone goes through when the air raid sirens sound while they are driving. They have to pull over, get out of their cars and seek cover. She said this had happened on her way to work that day. The only thing I could think of was how I would not even consider going to work if this was happening where I live. She also mentioned a co-worker who sent an email saying she couldn’t leave her house until this was over as she was too afraid.

Engaging with people’s stories from war torn regions is worthwhile process. It puts things in perspective for us as we imagine, for just a moment, what that might be like. I wonder quite often how refugees cope with having to uproot and leave everything they have ever known and come to our strange, cold country. Where do they find the strength? The only thing I can think of is that out of great fear and persecution, a strength is born. Sometimes I wonder if I would have that strength; could I endure what other people have to in their lives?

Great church you have there England!

So yesterday the Church of England decided that it would not allow women to become bishops. By rejecting the proposal to allow for the ordination of female bishops, the Church of England looks as archaic as the Catholic Church. The Church of England is casting its lot with misogynists and patriarchal forces.

The idea that men are somehow better suited for high religious office is contemptible. The days where having a vagina axiomatically makes you unsuitable are over. I am not sure that having a penis makes you a better decision maker. We all know what happens when you put a bunch of men in charge of schools and youth.

The fact that there is still a need for this kind of formal decision is disturbing. We are all equal. If there is any hope for organized religion in this world it is only going to come through balance; we are only going to achieve balance when women are allowed to assume our rightful place.