It has most certainly been an interesting day today- things happened that were right on-par with yesterday. Who would have thought that was possible! Well, it was, and today’s events are indicative of the lengths people in the poverty industry will go to stop a whistleblower…
It began yesterday, when I discovered that Lynn Marois had made quite a provocative statement on Vancouver Cop Watch’s (VCW) Facebook page:
I was immediately concerned when I saw this because it is seriously illegal to do an unauthorized criminal records check on someone. I’d never head of Lynn before, so I went to her Facebook page to try and understand who I was dealing with. I was shocked by what I discovered- her page said that she had a degree in criminology, and that she worked for Langley Youth & Family Services. (recently renamed to Aldergrove Neighbourhood Services)
My first step was to call the Langley RCMP to file a complaint. I was connected to a helpful police officer who listened to my story and tried to help me make sense of what happened. She explained that it was unlikely, but possible that they could have done this, and the best next step would be to speak with Lynn’s boss- Lynne Topham. She then forwarded my call through to Lynne’s number. What great service- thank you officer!
I had a quick conversation with Lynne, but the phone connection wasn’t very good- so, we agreed that I would send her an email. I wrote a polite mail, explaining the situation, and including the screenshot from when Lynn Marois claimed to have committed an illegal criminal record check.
Lynne Topham called me back this morning and explained that hadn’t yet spoken with Lynn. But, she was the only person in their organization who had the ability to request a criminal record check. I asked her to confirm this in an email, and she agreed:
I was a little bit confused by Lynne’s response- it seemed contradictory to me. First she said that they don’t have access to criminal records. Then she said that they have access to criminal record checks for employment purposes. So, I asked her to confirm:
She responded within an hour:
Okay, so now I understood Lynne’s explanation about how criminal record checks work inside her organization- but, I was still left wondering about her her earlier contradiction. She also completely ignored my question about Lynn’s behaviour in relation to the sensitivity of her organization’s work. So, I wrote another polite email, once more asking her to explain:
A few hours passed, and I hadn’t heard back from Lynne. Then, shortly before I was about to file a criminal complaint with the RCMP, my phone rang with a blocked caller-id. You could imagine how surprised I was to discover that the RCMP was calling me! I hadn’t given them my phone number, so I was very confused…
The call was from Constable Galasso of the Langley RCMP. He explained to me that he had a complaint from Lynne that I was harassing her. Say what? All of my communications were incredibly polite, and I was trying to get to the bottom of a very serious issue- I couldn’t understand how she could see this as harassment.
Luckily, Constable Galasso agreed with me- saying, “there’s absolutely no evidence of harassment here”.
He then explained how he went to Aldergrove Neighbourhood Services and spoke with both Lynne & Lynn. He looked through my communications with Lynne, and saw the postings Lynn had made on VCW’s Facebook page. He then asked Lynn about her claim to have made a criminal record check. Her explanation was quite interesting…
Lynn claimed that she didn’t do a criminal record check- but, instead, she had searched through the online BC Court Records database. This is a plausible explanation- but, it isn’t a criminal record check. Considering Lynn has a degree in criminology, she should know this. So, either she lied about having made a criminal record check, she wasn’t paying much attention when she was in school, or she lied to the police
Constable Galasso had one last surprise at the end of the conversation. He told me that Lynne had a message she wanted him to relay. She wanted me to take-down any mention of her organization in my blog- and, if I don’t, she will take civil action against me in court. Wow!
I explained to him that this was preposterous. I also told him that I believe it is unreasonable for her to be using the RCMP as a proxy to threaten me like this. Constable Galasso seems to be a nice guy, he explained that it is none of his business if I take the information down or not- it is not a police matter. I thanked him for his help, and gave him my sympathy that his time was wasted in this situation.
I’ve just finished some research on Lynne, and found it interesting that she has a significant relationship with the Langley RCMP. She has worked with them a lot over the years, and was even on the board of the Langley Healthier Community Partnership with a member of the RCMP. Seeing this, I don’t see any evidence of impropriety behaviour of the RCMP. But, it does seem to me that Lynne was taking advantage of her standing with them to try and presssure me here. Or, at least, the optics don’t look very good.
In my perception, one of two things happened here. Either Lynne is so naïve that she actually perceived my emails as harassment- or, she decided to try and use the RCMP as a weapon to bully me. Perhaps I’m missing something- but, I can’t see a third option.If one of these two possibilities is true, then Aldergrove Neighbourhood Services has a serious problem on its hands. They handle very sensitive dealings of people’s personal lives- this is not the sort of leadership one would expect from an organization like this.
Not to mention the behaviour of Lynn Marois…
I’ve found on their website that they are in partnership with Fraser Health and the BC Ministry of Child & Family Development. I will be writing to both these organizations tomorrow, and will ask for their assistance in sorting this problem out. I wouldn’t like to see other people having to endure what appears to be a systemic abuse of power…