QUEBEC — The mother of two deceased boys whose father is accused of murder says the province’s youth protection services failed her family.
Emilie Arsenault says she had signalled her concerns to the agency but wasn’t taken seriously.
The bodies of her sons, Olivier, 5, and Alex, 2, were found Oct. 13 in a home in Wendake, a Huron-Wendat First Nation territory near Quebec City.
Their father, Michael Chicoine, is charged with two counts of second-degree murder.
An emotional Arsenault spoke for the first time on Sunday at a news conference alongside the boys’ grandfather, Jean-Guy Arsenault, and the family’s lawyer, Marc Bellemare.
Last week, a judge removed a publication ban on the identities of the two boys at the family’s request.
Chicoine, 30, will return to court Jan. 12, 2021.
“Why didn’t they listen to me? Why were all the reports for my loves not acknowledged despite our good will?” Arsenault said, tears streaming from her eyes. “Why did the hospital social worker and the investigator who were supposed to help us didn’t take it seriously when they were warned to?”
Bellemare says it’s too early to discuss lawsuits, noting the family will wait for the results of several investigations ordered into deaths of the boys as well as the possible criminal trial of the father.
Provincial police, the coroner’s office, Quebec’s human rights commission and youth protection are all investigating the case.
Jean-Guy Arsenault called for the premier to overhaul the youth protection system. “Instead of investing in a bad system, you would need to make big changes,” the grandfather said. “You will save a lot of money and a lot of lives.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 16, 2020.
The Canadian Press