Well, a judge ruled that the cult members needed to give up 13 children to Quebec Child Protection. There were serious signs of systematic abuse and the children were not being properly educated or cared for. So, under threat of teaching their children secular subjects, they skipped town and fled to Ontario.
Recently, the Ontario judge ruled that they had to honour the Quebec ruling but gave them 30 days to challenge. Well, they used that time to illegally leave Canada. Yep, they took off just before their court date and took their kids with them.
The news just broke last night and things are developing fast. Here's the latest somewhat muddled report.
Late airport arrival costly for Lev Tahor members trying to flee Canada
The members of the controversial Lev Tahor ultra-Orthodox Jewish group who tried to flee Canada this week would have made a clean break but for the fact that some showed up late at Pearson International Airport, an official says.My understanding here, which is a little fuzzy, is that two Lev Tahor families had attempted to flee Canada bound for Guatemala. They were taking at least 12 of the 13 children who were supposed to be surrendered to Child Protection for foster care (read why this was the case here).
However, nine members of one family arrived at the Toronto airport late. They missed their initial flight and were forced to take a flight to Trinidad & Tobago. I guess by the time they arrived, local Caribbean authorities had be notified by Canadian authorities and they had their passports seized and effectively they are not going anywhere for now.
By contravening a court order, the fleeing Lev Tahor members have given Canadian officials more power to act upon them, Mr. Baraby said. "They are making themselves liable to criminal proceedings."
Following news of the two families' departure, Chatham-Kent Children's Services obtained an emergency court order allowing law-enforcement officers to stop them.Both Trinidad and Guatemala signed the 1980 Hague Convention which obliges them to return the children if they are found to be wrongfully removed from Canada and this is apparently decided in the court of their home country - Canada. So I expect them to be coming back to Toronto unless their parents decide to do another, even more daring, runner.
It doesn't look like either country is sharing where the families are located - at least to the media. I hope they've let Canadian authorities know.
My wife told me last night that she has concerns that this group may be a suicide risk. In fact, when the group was still in Quebec, Child Protection also had concerns that they might implement a suicide pact if pushed too far. I feel the same way. It's imperative that authorities bring these children to safety lest something truly awful happen if the parents feel completely cornered.