Fam­ily of Que­be­cer miss­ing in Africa re­as­sured Ot­tawa tak­ing case se­ri­ously

Tillsonburg News - - NATIONAL NEWS - CANA­DIAN PRESS Giuseppe Valiante

fully re­store what you have lost.

“but what we can of­fer is the solemn as­sur­ance that gov­ern­ment poli­cies have changed and they con­tinue to change.”

some sur­vivors said be­fore the apol­ogy that they hoped it would come with ac­tion to re­duce the num­ber of chil­dren in care.

The num­ber of chil­dren in outof-home care in saskatchewan was more than 5,200 at the end of septem­ber.

Chief bobby Cameron from the Fed­er­a­tionofsovereignindige­nous na­tions, which rep­re­sents 74 First na­tions in the prov­ince, did not at­tend the cer­e­mony.

He said the apol­ogy is empty if it’s not ac­com­pa­nied by ac­tion and called for child wel­fare re­form.

“our First na­tions chil­dren are still be­ing ripped away from their fam­i­lies,com­mu­ni­tiesand­cul­ture,” Cameron said in a state­ment. “This needs to stop im­me­di­ately.”

Mon­Treal — The fam­ily of a Que­bec woman who went miss­ing with her ital­ian friend in West africa last month says it fi­nally feels fed­eral au­thor­i­ties are tak­ing the case se­ri­ously fol­low­ing sev­eral frus­trat­ing days seek­ing an­swers from ot­tawa.

sher­brooke, Que., na­tive edith blais and her ital­ian friend luca Tac­chetto were trav­el­ling by car in burk­ina Faso when all com­mu­ni­ca­tion with their fam­i­lies abruptly ended dec. 15. Me­dia have re­ported their dis­ap­pear­ance is be­ing treated as a pos­si­ble kid­nap­ping, but blais’ sis­ter, Me­lanie berg­eron blais, said Mon­day the fam­ily has re­ceived no in­for­ma­tion the pair were ab­ducted.

“it’s a pos­si­bil­ity,” berg­eron blais said about whether the pair were kid­napped. “There aren’t 1,000 dif­fer­ent sce­nar­ios of what could have hap­pened. but we’ve re­ceived no clues, and we can’t con­firm or deny it.”

Tac­chetto and blais, 34, were last seen in the city of bobo-dioulasso, in burk­ina Faso’s southwest, and had planned to drive to the cap­i­tal of oua­gadougou be­fore cross­ing into neigh­bour­ing Togo. blais planned to vol­un­teer with an or­ga­ni­za­tion at­tempt­ing to re­for­est parts of Togo.

berg­eron blais said the fam­ily called global af­fairs Canada’s hot­line at the end of de­cem­ber to see whether fed­eral au­thor­i­ties could de­ter­mine whether the two had crossed the bor­der into Togo and if data from their pass­ports or visas was col­lected.

after hear­ing no news for three or four days, the fam­ily called back, only to be asked for blais’ pass­port num­ber.

“The front-line ser­vices at (global af­fairs) were really de­fi­cient,” berg­eron blais said. “it was con­fus­ing. They didn’t seem like they were mak­ing an ef­fort.”

The fam­ily’s frus­tra­tions were as­suaged fol­low­ing a meet­ing sun­day with global af­fairs of­fi­cials.

“last Fri­day we really felt were in a bu­reau­cratic im­passe,” berg­eron blais said from sher­brooke, about 150 km east of Mon­treal. “but since yes­ter­day it’s been like night and day.”

she at­trib­uted the change in ap­proach to me­dia at­ten­tion since the first re­port of her sis­ter’s dis­ap­pear­ance in a sher­brooke news­pa­per satur­day.

global af­fairs Canada did not im­me­di­ately re­turn a re­quest for com­ment Mon­day. on sun­day, a spokesper­son said the depart­ment would not make any com­ment that would be “likely to com­pro­mise ef­forts un­der­way and to en­dan­ger the safety of Cana­dian cit­i­zens.”

Marie-Claude bibeau, Min­is­ter of in­ter­na­tional de­vel­op­ment and Mp for a rid­ing that bor­ders sher­brooke, tweeted satur­day: “our teams are do­ing ev­ery­thing to gather the rel­e­vant in­for­ma­tion, in close co-op­er­a­tion with the burk­ina Faso au­thor­i­ties.”

ital­ian me­dia are re­port­ing that Tac­chetto is a 30-yearold ar­chi­tect from the north­ern ital­ian town of Vigonza, out­side padua. Tac­chetto’s fa­ther, nun­zio Tac­chetto, the for­mer mayor of the town, told Cor­riere del Veneto that he hosted the two trav­ellers at the fam­ily home in novem­ber while blais re­ceived vac­ci­na­tions for the african voy­age.

“on nov. 20, the day after (luca) turned 30, he left with (edith),” he told the news or­ga­ni­za­tion. after leav­ing Vigonza, blais and his son trav­elled through France, spain, Mo­rocco, Mau­ri­ta­nia and Mali be­fore ar­riv­ing in burk­ina Faso on dec. 15.

Michael Bell/THE

Premier Scott Moe speaks dur­ing the apol­ogy to Six­ties Scoop sur­vivors at the Leg­isla­tive Build­ing in Regina, Sask., on Mon­day.

FACE­book PHoTo

Luca Tac­chetto and Edith Blais

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