Quebec youth protection intervenes at Laurentians summer camp, baffling parents

·2 min read
The Hiboux des Jeunes camp in Saint-Hippolyte, Que. was closed Thursday and Friday.  (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada - image credit)
The Hiboux des Jeunes camp in Saint-Hippolyte, Que. was closed Thursday and Friday. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada - image credit)

A recent visit from youth protection officials at a Laurentians day camp is distressing parents and staff.

Radio-Canada says Quebec youth protection services (DPJ) workers and police arrived at the Hiboux des jeunes camp in Saint-Hippolyte on Wednesday.

DPJ workers and police reportedly searched the site and contacted parents, telling them that the camp was being closed down. The camp serves 150 campers, including kids with special needs.

Some parents and guardians who spoke with Radio-Canada expressed frustration with how the operation was carried out, and complained that they weren't being told why it happened.

The camp's director Dave Allaire is also expressing confusion, and calling on Junior Health Minister Lionel Carmant to look into what happened.

'Excessive measures'

Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada
Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada

Many parents of campers told Radio-Canada the DPJ methods were opaque.

"Does it have to do with sanitation? Does it have anything to do with violence? Was there an assault? It's what we don't know that's a little annoying," said Micheline Buisson, whose grandchild attends Hiboux des jeunes.

Jessica Dumas Beaulieu, whose two children are campers, says the "excessive measures" have left parents hanging.

Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada
Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada

"This is where [my son] can let off steam," Dumas Beaulieu said. "This camp handles my child better than the school."

Waiting for answers

Hiboux des jeunes director Dave Allaire was accompanying about 30 campers at the La Ronde amusement park in Montreal when the intervention took place.

He criticized the lack of collaboration from the DPJ and called their intervention "cavalier."

"It will tarnish our name.... We are very disappointed. I wasn't called, I wasn't notified," Allaire said.

Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada
Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada

Allaire says he's ready to put in place the necessary measures to resolve the situation. He's now calling on the Minister for Health and Social Services, Lionel Carmant, to carry out an investigation and shed light on reasons for the DPJ intervention and whether they were valid.

DPJ officials would not comment on the specifics of the case, only telling Radio-Canada it is their responsibility to intervene to protect the safety and development of young people.

After being closed on Thursday and Friday, the camp is expected to reopen on Monday.

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