Thank you for having us. I think it is very important that we are speaking out on this issue, about an incident that happened to me a couple of months ago, what has come from that, and the feedback that we've received from speaking out on this incident in our community. I will just start by reading about the incident that happened.
On August 10, 2018, while I was alone at home with my two young daughters, I was awoken at approximately 2:00 a.m. by my oldest daughter's yelling that someone was in our backyard and was trying to break into our house.
We had been doing some renovations on our backyard, so our deck was leading up to the doors in my bedroom. As I looked, I could see the individual trying to come through the screen door into my bedroom.
With force, I was able to push him out and close the door, but I could hear him and what sounded like numerous other people in the vicinity of my house screaming and yelling.
Immediately after closing the door and locking it again, I grabbed my cellphone and dialed the RCMP, which in Thompson here is not simply 911. We have to dial 204-677-6911. Can you imagine what that's like, having someone break into your house and having to dial 10 numbers? It's quite an ordeal.
The first time I dialed the number, I immediately got a recording which said that all operators were currently busy. Being frightened, I hung up and dialed the number again, and again I got the same message that all operators were currently busy.
Hearing these people in my backyard, hearing them trying to get into my house and not being able to reach anybody for help, I called our local fire department. I immediately got through to them and explained what was happening. They put me through to the RCMP once again while they were on the line with me. They stayed on the line with me while we again got this message that all operators were busy.
We continued to hold. That time span felt like a lifetime, but in reality it was probably about five to seven minutes until I was finally able to speak to somebody, explain my situation, and try to get some help for me and my kids.
Once I was able to speak to somebody and give my information, it took literally less than three minutes to have the RCMP dispatched to my house. Unfortunately, by this time everybody was gone. They weren't able to apprehend anybody. However, I imagine that if I had gotten through to somebody immediately and not had to have been on hold for that amount of time, they probably would have been able to get there a lot faster.
I think it's scary. I was raised in this community. I've raised my kids to memorize this 10-digit number, which is harder than three digits, obviously, but is still just as important. I've raised my kids to dial this number when they need help or assistance, and they rely on that. We're raised that way.
Unfortunately, my children are still shaken up about these events that happened. There are questions in their minds now. If they need help, can they actually receive the help? Are they going to be put on hold? Being so young, if they're attacked and they're trying to get help, how long are they going to be on hold before they actually get some help?
I think the question is this: Why does Thompson not have a local dispatch? With the crime rate that Thompson has.... We'll be mentioning that Maclean's magazine has rated us as the second most dangerous Canadian city to live in. We don't have a local dispatch. We don't have a local 911.
I think it's unacceptable that we have to be on hold. Our lives don't seem to matter as much as that of somebody else who has 911, who maybe will get through right away. I just think that's unacceptable.
I'll pass it over to Geri.