Premier Brad Wall is congratulating the mayor of his hometown of Swift Current for apologizing on behalf of the city to the victims of pedophile Graham James.
Jerrod Schafer penned an editorial that appeared in Monday’s edition of the Globe and Mail, expressing both sorrow and support to the Broncos hockey players who became victims after they were sexually abused by James.
“I think what the mayor wanted to do and what Swift Current would like to do is sort of step out in leadership, if I could use that term, on this particular issue of not just child sexual abuse but abuse in general,” said Wall.
He noted how Schafer described ever since the actions of James there’s almost been a cloud of guilt and shame over the city because of what happened.
“So that’s why I think there’s a great deal of support now from Swift Current and area people who want to do something constructive, who want to lead, who want to make sure this conversation is an open one, that no one’s afraid to talk about it and moreover that we’re doing the right thing,” Wall commented. “We’re doing everything possible to protect young people from sexual abuse, any abuse at all.”
On Friday, Swift Current will launch a new in-depth certification and registration process for city-funded organizations where volunteers work with kids. Wall said he’s asked his government to look into something similar.
“We’ve asked the ministries to look at perhaps, for those organizations that do get provincial funding could we make it conditional on ensuring that there is some level of training, perhaps emulating what they’re doing in Swift Current.”
For those groups who aren’t supported financially by the province, Wall would encourage them to consider the same process.
While the premier notes that many groups have improved their screening process, he still wonders about education and whether there’s enough information for front line volunteers to help them recognize signs of abuse among youth. He added this is not just about sports either. It could also include a variety of other programming, like music and culture.