MMIWG and related - justice for Tina Fontaine

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Rev Pesky

As to Tina Fontaine, one of the serious problems the prosecution had was they couldn't determine the cause of death. Usually when someone kills someone else, there are signs of what took place. 

Now, I don't know what lengths the pathologist went to in the autopsy, but there would have been signs of violence if that was how Fontaine died. In any case, without a cause of death, convicting someone of murder is much more difficult.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Mansplaining is when a male person (often coincides with whiteness, although not always) confidently explains something to a female person who is in a position to understand what is being explained better than he does.

Not a difficult concept.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

For reference - the woman who coined the term and the circumstances around it:

https://www.motherjones.com/media/2012/08/problem-men-explaining-things-...

 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Mansplaining is when a male person (often coincides with whiteness, although not always) confidently explains something to a female person who is in a position to understand what is being explained better than he does.

Thanks for that, it's close.  But what it *really* means is...

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Yeah...

Also, it's not hard to tell who's a white guy on here. Not necessarily obnoxious, but yer all waaaay more obvious than you think. Not holding it against anyone, just noting that it's detectable.

Rev Pesky

From TimeBandit:

Mansplaining is when a male person (often coincides with whiteness, although not always) confidently explains something to a female person who is in a position to understand what is being explained better than he does.

Not a difficult concept.

So if a woman confidently explained something to a male, when the male was in a position to better understand what is being explained, that would be, what? Femsplaining?

I'll just point out that on a discussion board such as this, where people are more or less anonymous, it's very difficult to know whether some other person knows more or less than yourself about any given topic. People are invited to offer their opinions and views, and do so without necessarily knowing what level of knowledge others on the board have.

I can understand that in a setting such as company  meetings, where some junior engineer is constantly explaining to the female head of the engineering department what's what, that one could call that'mansplaining.

It's also important to remember that the phenomena is not limited to men explaining to women. There are women who are just as bad, and just as obnoxious.. 

Rev Pesky

From the above posted article by Rebecca Solnit:

I still don’t know why Sallie and I bothered to go to that party in the forest slope above Aspen. The people were all older than us and dull in a distinguished way, old enough that we, at 40ish, passed as the occasion’s young ladies.

Is this ageist? Sure looks like it to me.

 

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

The reverse scenario happens rarely enough that it is not likely an irritant to most men. That’s the point. It happens to accomplished women all the time. 

Rev Pesky

From Timebandit:

The reverse scenario happens rarely enough that it is not likely an irritant to most men. That’s the point. It happens to accomplished women all the time. 

Now that is classical femsplaining'. A woman (if you're not a woman, my apologies) explaining to a man how often men get 'explained' to.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Bite me. 

“Femsplaining” exists the same way “reverse racism” does - in the imaginations of those who have difficulty with the idea that they might be part of a prejudiced culture. 

Rev Pesky

Femsplaining isn't reverse anything. It is a word describing a situation where a women explains something to a man, when the man already better understands what is being explained.

For instance, when a woman tells a man how often the man gets 'explained' to. 

6079_Smith_W

Clearly you are right about us understanding this better, Rev. Men were warning about "despotism of the petticoat" 200 years ago. Maybe Adams was anticipating Ms. Wollstonecraft, and her pushy assertion that she knew our business better than we do. They just don't understand we have had to suffer with this burden for centuries.

Depend upon it, we know better than to repeal our masculine systems. Although they are in full force, you know they are little more than theory...We are obliged to go fair and softly, and, in practice, you know we are the subjects. We have only the name of masters, and rather than give up this, which would completely subject us to the despotism of the petticoat, I hope General Washington and all our brave heroes would fight.

https://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/archive/2012/11/a-cultural-history-of-...

Anyway, this has been an interesting bit of drift, unless we want to draw this back on topic by pointing out how Indigenous women don't understand how hard police and the courts work, they are very technical fields, and they can't be expected to solve every one of these murders and disappearances.

Rev Pesky

From 6079_Smith_W:

Clearly you are right about us understanding this better, Rev.

And if that is what I had said, the rest of your post might have a point. I was very clear that no one other than myself can know how often I've been 'explained' to by women. According to Timebandit's definition of 'splaining', I was being 'splained' to.

I've also been clear that in a forum such as this, where people are more or less anonymous, it is inevitable that one may express an opinion on a subject which some other forum participant has greater knowledge. If each forum participant had to wait to find out the level of knowledge of all other posters before commenting, there wouldn't be many comments on this thread, or any other thread for that matter.

So bringing up 'splaining' is just a way of closing down debate when someone makes a point you don't like.

Now, to bring it back to Tina Fontaine, I would like someone to explain to me why I should care more about her than her birth parents did?

Before someone goes off on a rant, I do care. In fact I would say I care a lot. Tina Fontaine's life was short and tragic. As far as I'm concerned, no child should be forced to live such a life, but you, and others, appear to be blaming Child Protection for her untimely death. My question is, do not her parents have some level of responsibility for her welfare?

When I pointed that out to Pondering, I was told that I was disgusting because after all, Tina's mom was an alcoholic and therefore couldn't be responsible for anything (except having babies, I guess).

It is clear that the authorities did not have the right to confine Tina Fontaine. If they had, the police could have arrested her when she was found in an obviously criminal situation with an older man. And if they had, she would most likely be alive today. In my opinion, as bad as it is, it would have been better for her to have been in jail, than to have been found in the river.

As far as Cormier's trial, and acquttal, it was going to be difficult because they had no cause of death. For someone to commit a murder and leave no trace of the method used is almost impossible. Combine that with the paucity of circumstantial evidence the prosecution had, and it would have been a miscarriage of justice if Cormier had been convicted.

In fact it's quite possible Tina died from an alcohol overdose. Alcohol may have been given her by some other person, which would make them at least partially culpable, but finding such a person would be near impossible without some eyewitness. Sad as it is to say, if anyone was responsible for Tina Fontaine's death, they are very unlikely to be brought to justice. 

That doesn't mean no one cares. It means the system of laws and justice we have operates on evidence, as it should.

Aristotleded24

Rev Pesky wrote:
Now, to bring it back to Tina Fontaine, I would like someone to explain to me why I should care more about her than her birth parents did?

Her father had been murdered and her mother did not have custody of her because she was unfit to do so. When she went to Winnipeg, she was under the legal guardianship of child protection services. She was a vulnerable teen in their care and it is well documented in this thread that there were several mis-steps along the way that contributed to her being murdered. I posted an interview with a young woman who survived the streets who described how she lost trust in the very people she turned to when she tried to reach out for help. Why don't you try reading that and getting back to us?

Aristotleded24

Rev Pesky wrote:
For someone to commit a murder and leave no trace of the method used is almost impossible. Combine that with the paucity of circumstantial evidence the prosecution had, and it would have been a miscarriage of justice if Cormier had been convicted.

Are you serious? Her body was found wrapped in a duvet in the river. Bodies don't wrap themselves up and throw themselves in the river. Someone had to have done that to her.

Rev Pesky wrote:
If they had, the police could have arrested her when she was found in an obviously criminal situation with an older man. And if they had, she would most likely be alive today. In my opinion, as bad as it is, it would have been better for her to have been in jail, than to have been found in the river.

Except that the police did have probable cause to detain her when they pulled her over and the officers involved were suspended because they failed to do so. One of them had such a downward spiral afterwards because of that that he tunred to a life of crime. The judge in that case told him that it was not only his mistake. If the officers didn't have probable cause, the judge would have said something along the lines of, "given what you knew then, you didn't have legal grounds to detain her, you couldn't have known what was going to happen, so don't beat yourself up about it."

6079_Smith_W

A 24 hour youth drop in centre in Winnipeg is being forced to close overnight, as funding is runing out.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/west-end-24-hour-safe-space-fundi...

Rev Pesky

From Aristotleded24:

Are you serious? Her body was found wrapped in a duvet in the river. Bodies don't wrap themselves up and throw themselves in the river. Someone had to have done that to her.

You're quite right, but you're mistaking 'interfering with a body' for 'homicide'. I think it's quite plausible that Tina Fontaine died while in the company of some person who for their own reasons disposed of the body. The question is, what did she die from, and the answer is no one knows. As I said, killing someone without leaving traces of your murderous effort is near impossible. Yet the autopsy found no cause of death. I don't think Tina Fontaine was murdered.

Here is a story of what happened after the police saw Fontaine with the man in that vehicle:

Tina Fontaine

Favel said social workers have told her that on the night of Aug. 8 — which would be a few hours after police came across Fontaine — the girl had passed out in an alley downtown and paramedics took her to a nearby hospital.

"They kept her there for about three or four hours until she sobered up a little bit and then (social workers) picked her up from the hospital."

That appears to have been the last time she was seen alive. Fontaine managed to run away again shortly after leaving the hospital, Favel said.

So even though the police failed to apprehend her, she still ended up back at the hotel. From where she ran away again.

If the police had taken her into custody at the traffic stop, precisely the same thing would have happened. She would have been referred to Child Services, they would have picked her up at the police station, and she would have run away again.

One of the solutions offered for this dismal situation is to turn over aboriginal child welfare to First Nations authority. I can say I am all in favour of that. They could hardly do worse.

6079_Smith_W

Anishinaabe CFS has been around for several decades, as has Metis CFS. But the bulk of it, especially in the city, falls under general CFS. And the entire system is lacking in resources, and unfairly targets Indigenous people.

JKR

6079_Smith_W wrote:

Anishinaabe CFS has been around for several decades, as has Metis CFS. But the bulk of it, especially in the city, falls under general CFS. And the entire system is lacking in resources, and unfairly targets Indigenous people.

I think, be they indigenous run or non-indigenous run,  CFS systems will continue to be overwhelmed as long as social assistance continues to provide inadequate coverage. 

Aristotleded24

Rev Pesky wrote:
I don't think Tina Fontaine was murdered.

Just, wow, what was that based on? I remember when her body as first pulled from the river and the police were very clear then that they were investigating the case of a homicide. Why would they have pushed the case to trial when there would have been several chances to rule that out, or at least conclude that "foul play was not suspected" given that that would have been the easiest thing for the police to do?

Rev Pesky wrote:
As I said, killing someone without leaving traces of your murderous effort is near impossible.

No it isn't:

Quote:

A jury has found Dellen Millard and Mark Smich guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Toronto woman Laura Babcock.

The Ontario Superior Court jury began deliberating Tuesday afternoon and returned their verdict Saturday.

The Crown argued during the trial that lasted seven weeks that Millard, 32, of Toronto, and Smich, 30, of Oakville, Ont., killed the 23-year-old Babcock and burned her body in an animal incinerator.

...

Babcock's body was never found, so there is no way to prove beyond reasonable doubt she is dead.

There was also a case in Brandon where a guy essentially murdered his girlfriend and disposed of her body without a trace. It was not for lack of effort on the part of Brandon police that they couldn't find anything to go on. The autopsy in that particular case didn't clearly identify a cause of death, but did rule out a few of them. The only reason he was caught is because the RCMP targetted him using a Mr Big sting where he told them where she was buried and he confessed to specific details only someone close to the killing would have known. If it wasn't for that, she would still be considered missing to this day.

Rev Pesky

From Aristotly24:

Babcock's body was never found, so there is no way to prove beyond reasonable doubt she is dead.

​You're confusing two things here. Yes, it is possible to convict someone of murder even if the body of the victim is never found. In the case of Laura Babcock there was other evidence, including communications between Millard and Smich.

That is not the case with Tina Fontaine. Her body was found, and an autopsy was performed. Cause of death was not determined. Given the paucity of other evidence, and no cause of death, Cormier was not going to be convicted.

What I said was that it was difficult, if not impossible, to kill someone without leaving evidence of how it was done. Okay, I didn't say you could dispose of the body so that it would never be found. In fact, that is precisely why Millard and Smich did dispose of the body. They did not want to leave any evidence of their crime.

I assumed that  because the body of Tina Fontaine was found, and an autopsy performed without finding a cause of death, that there is a chance that she was not murdered. Can we agree that finding the body, and being able to perform an autopsy will provide more information about the person's death than not having the body at all?

Given Fontaine's history with alcohol, it is not an unreasonable assumption that she died of alcohol poisoning.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
There was also a case in Brandon where a guy essentially murdered his girlfriend and disposed of her body without a trace. It was not for lack of effort on the part of Brandon police that they couldn't find anything to go on. The autopsy in that particular case didn't clearly identify a cause of death, but did rule out a few of them.

You say he disposed of her body without a trace, then you mention an autopsy.  Those would seem to be contradictory?

Anyhoo, Pesky is right.  If the Fontaine autopsy couldn't find a cause of death, there's no cause of death to pin on any defendant.  If lots and lots of other evidence is strong, like in the Babcock case, then a conviction might be possible, but if not, conviction would not be.

6079_Smith_W

The Inquiry is starting its second phase, focusing on human rights, government services, racism, and policing:

http://www.mmiwg-ffada.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/PartsIIandIII_NewsR...

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