'Why haven't I been heard?' Mother of Wendake victims takes on youth protection system

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MONTREAL -- The lawyer representing the family of two young boys found dead in Wendake is not ruling out a lawsuit against Quebec's Directorate of Youth Protection.

“It's not excluded, but it's much too early,” said Marc Bellemare.

Bellemare made the comment at a Sunday press conference with Emilie Arsenault, the mother of five-year-old Olivier and two-year-old Alex, both of whom were found dead on Oct. 11 in the Indigenous community near Quebec City.

Arsenault and Bellemare were accompanied by Jean-Guy Arsenault, the boys' grandfather.

Emilie Arsenault spoke to the media for the first time about her grief, but also her anger towards the youth protection system.

“Why haven't I been heard? Why have all the reports about my (children) not been acknowledged, despite all our goodwill?” she said tearfully.

“Why weren't the hospital social worker and investigator who were supposed to help us taken seriously when they made reports, too?”

The father of the victims, Michael Chicoine, has been charged with two counts of second-degree murder. The 30-year-old is due to return to court on Jan. 12.

Bellemare noted the family has three years to file a civil suit and indicated he will wait until details from the underway investigations into the deaths are available.

Quebec provincial police, the province's coroner's office and the Commission for Human Rights and Youth Rights are all investigating the murders. There is also an investigation into the actions of the Directorate of Youth Protection for the Quebec City region.

The children's grandfather called on Premier Francois Legault to do “a real cleaning” in the system.

“As far as the investigations are concerned, all this is absolutely nothing,” he said. “It will remain on the shelves once again and nothing will change, as usual.”

“Instead of investigating a bad system, you have to make big changes. You are going to save a lot of money and a lot of lives.” 

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