Those who believe the province takes coroners inquests’ seriously might want to reconsider after reading this week’s edition of The Chatham Voice.
The story stems from a conversation with Mike Neuts earlier this month, the day after The Toronto Star published a front-page story on how two-thirds of recommendations made by coroners’ juries during the last decade have been either ignored or rejected.
Mike’s name is known to many locally; although he wishes otherwise. His son Myles was found hanging from a coat hook in a Chatham elementary school 16 years ago this month. Six days later he was taken off life support and died.
Mike has made it his life’s work to fight against bullying and perhaps save other children. He thought he had an ally in that cause when a coroner’s inquest was called two years later.
Fourteen years after the inquest, a third of the 24 recommendations remain in limbo, likely never to be implemented.
A parent’s grief is one thing. It’s easy to believe that Mike has gotten too close to the situation, that he doesn’t have the perspective to judge the issue clearly, except that there are hundreds, perhaps thousands of Mikes who’ve lost loved ones and expected more from the system.
Terry Acs, the foreperson on the five-member jury, has rarely spoken publicly about the six weeks she described as “putting her life on hold” dealing with the tragedy.
When she read The Star story, it took her back to that time and left her angry and frustrated.
Mike wrote a letter to The Star, still unpublished as of our press time. It’s on this page. The issues were similar to ones he raised 12 years ago.
Nothing will change until our politicians, our so-called leaders, decide the value of a human life exceeds that of their pensions, the billions wasted on shifting natural gas plants around like pawns on the electoral chess board, Hydro One excesses, Ornge scandals and the like.
By their inaction, they’re telling us what’s important to them. And it’s not pretty.