Commissioner for Cornwall public inquiry outlines plans for 2007



    CORNWALL, ON, Jan. 30 /CNW Telbec/ - While much work has already been
done at the Cornwall Public Inquiry, 2007 has a full agenda that will see the
near completion of the evidentiary hearings and much progress in the area of
healing and reconciliation. Justice G. Normand Glaude, Commissioner of the
Cornwall Public Inquiry, provided an overview of plans for the year ahead and
also addressed key achievements in a statement he delivered on Monday, January
29.

    
    Calling the work done in 2006 'productive', the Commissioner presented a
list of accomplishments that included:

    - Establishment of the parties and funding for counsel;
    - Hearing evidence from eight well-known experts;
    - 36 days of context setting testimony from senior officials representing
      institutional parties;
    - Hearing testimony from 17 witnesses over 25 days of evidentiary
      hearings; and
    - Issuing 18 rulings, directions and orders.

    According to the Commissioner, 2007 will focus on the continuation of
Phase 1 evidentiary testimony with an expected conclusion at the end of the
year or early in 2008. Individual victims' testimony is expected to finish in
the spring of 2007, possibly followed by testimony from those who faced
charges of sexual abuse of children or who were investigated but not charged.
However, to date, those individuals - although invited - have not indicated
they will participate in the hearings.
    Following that evidence, the Inquiry will hear "community evidence" from
individual and corporate members of the community canvassed to determine the
existence - or extent - of any attempted cover-up. According to the
Commissioner, several parties have indicated "their institutional response was
not determined in a vacuum but, in fact, was within an atmosphere of distrust
and uncertainty and of allegations swirling within the Community of Cornwall".
    Concluding the evidentiary hearings will be institutional responses by
officials from each of the public institutions involved in the Inquiry.
Following this, in early 2008, parties will prepare and provide their written
submissions, along with oral summations.
    Concurrently, work focusing on Phase 2 of the Inquiry's mandate -
supporting healing and reconciliation - will continue throughout 2007. With
its focus this year extending beyond parties to the larger Cornwall community,
it is expected that Phase 2 work will carry on in 2008, after Phase 1 has
concluded.

    Components of Phase 2 in 2007 will include:
    - Counselling and witness support - an evaluation as to whether or not to
      extend existing services is expected in early March;
    - Ongoing work of the Advisory Panel which will continue to engage the
      community to determine what people need, want and don't want, and what
      to do for and with others in Cornwall to ensure, for example, that
      there is a sound plan for a future of care and respect for adult
      survivors of childhood sexual abuse;
    - Activities that focus on practical research and educational
      opportunities - proposals have been submitted and will be reviewed for
      funding recommendations by the end of March;
    - Broad consultation (counsel, party representatives and the public) on
      fulfilling the part of the Inquiry mandate that provides opportunities
      that are not formal evidentiary hearings for those affected by abuse or
      allegations of abuse to express their experiences and the impact on
      their lives - a final decision regarding how this will be accomplished
      is expected before the summer recess ; and
    - Broad concluding opportunities for parties and the public to make
      submissions on what processes, services or programs they consider would
      foster community healing and reconciliation in Cornwall - to occur
      several months after receiving the Phase 1 final submissions.

    Updated information with regard to activities, schedules and related
undertakings will be regularly posted on the Inquiry website at:
www.cornwallinquiry.ca
    




For further information:

For further information: Joan Weinman, G-4 Communications, (613)
294-5679

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