The system worked. Still, Tina Fontaine died. Who do we blame?
Tina Fontaine became the poster girl of the murdered and missing aboriginal women movement. Like Doublemint gum, she was two, two, two in one---missing AND murdered.
The biggest myth regarding 15-year-old Tina was also the most endearing to the M&M crowd --- only hours before she disappeared, to be eventually killed by a person or persons unknown, two Winnipeg policemen had her in their custody but let her go her merry way despite the fact that she had been reported as a missing person.
Then, fourteen months ago (yes, a year and two months ago) The Black Rod reported exclusively that Tina Fontaine WAS NOT MISSING when the police met up with her in the early morning of Aug. 8, 2014. Nobody informed police that she was a missing person until the following day, Aug. 9, 2014.
That detail was available in plain sight in numerous news stories about Tina Fontaine's disappearance, but none of the "professional" reporters had bothered to put two and two together, no doubt because the truth ruined a perfectly good narrative.
The MSM "journalists" continued to spout the lie that she was officially missing at the time she met up with two police officers.
The police department made things worse five months later when they issued a false news release that stated Tina Fontaine had been reported missing in late July, 2014, linking that information to the chance meeting with the badged pair.
We immediately challenged them, repeating the fact that she was NOT missing on Aug. 8.
The WPD made no retraction or correction.
Imagine our surprise, then, when the police announced the arrest of a suspect in the killing of Tina Fontaine, and stated, for the record, that she had not been reported missing until Aug. 9, 2014, exactly as we reported a year and two months earlier.
Finally, the mainstream reporters got it right in their stories---at least most of them.
Winnipeg Free Press reporter Alexandra Paul stuck with the myth:
"Tina was reported missing July 31 from a city hotel where she was living as a CFS ward."
And Steve Lambert of The Canadian Press didn't bother to read the police news release:
"The girl was in a vehicle pulled over by two officers more than a week after she was first reported missing July 31, 2014, but she was not taken into custody. Her body was found nine days later."
But the prize goes to Kathryn Blaze Baum of the Globe and Mail who on Tuesday wrote that after being reported as missing, Tina Fontaine was reported missing because even though she was missing, she just wasn't missing enough. Pure genius.
"The Sagkeeng First Nation teenager was last seen alive Aug. 8 of last year. On that date, she was in contact with paramedics, a Child and Family Services contract worker and police, who did not take her into their care despite the fact that she was listed as a missing person. Tina, who was in foster care and had been placed at a downtown Winnipeg hotel, was reported missing again Aug. 9, 2014."
Nevertheless, with one major myth slain, or nearly so, the mainstream press has gone on a search for someone else to blame.
"There were a lot of people, with a special duty to protect a young girl on the streets, who failed Tina Fontaine in the days before she was murdered..." editorialized the Winnipeg Free Press way back in March when the police were the scapegoats.
The problem though is that 'the system' worked.
* Tina was lodged with a foster family that was vetted by child services, and which was lightyears safer than where she had been staying. She ran away.
* Tina met a teen on the street who had her own experience with Child and Family Services and who tried, in her own way, to help. She took Tina to an emergency shelter run by MacDonald Youth Services. Tina was hungry and she was fed. She refused to give her real name and ran away.
* Tina got into a truck with some men, and police stopped them, removed her and made sure she was safe. They were concerned because she had a split lip (according to her new friend). With no reason to hold her, they let her go.
* Tina later that morning was found drunk, half naked and unconscious in a back lane. Paramedics treated her at the scene, drove her to the hospital where she was examined further, and she was given a bed to sober up in.
* A social worker took charge of her and she wound up safe with a room in a downtown hotel. She ran away.
The system worked, but Tina thwarted every effort to help her. As was said by a police spokesman, you can't blame an immature teenager for making bad decisions.
But you can blame her family.
* The reserve-living great-aunt who raised Tina Fontaine for most of her short life says she didn't recognize the Tina Fontaine who roamed the streets of Winnipeg.
* Tina's mother abandoned her when Tina was four, became a drunk and, when Tina tried to reconnect in 2014, welcomed her lost daughter by smoking pot with her.
* The next time Tina was in town she stayed with a cousin and an aunt on Furby at an address that was later raided by police. The cousin, who is a meth addict, was charged with holding a teenaged girl against her will and forcing her to prostitute herself. The cousin admits being a prostitute but denies the allegation.
* Another aunt advertises her sexual services on the internet. "Ready to satisfy your desires," she promises. Even Tina's brother works as an "escort."
* Police say 15-year-old Tina Fontaine had taken up the family tradition of prostitution.
The MMIW crowd doesn't want to hear this. Don't judge, they say.
But we have to judge. To separate good from bad. Right from wrong. Otherwise, what's the point?
The story of a sweet schoolgirl taken off the street by a stranger is very, very different from a teenaged hooker killed by a regular.