SASKATOON — Restorative Justice was the theme of a Dec. 10 gathering held at St. Anne Roman Catholic Church in Saskatoon. The event was organized by The Micah Mission, an ecumenical group focused on reintegrating men and women leaving prison back into the community.
Peter Oliver, a community reintegration chaplain, hosted the evening and introduced Chantel Hubick. Hubick, 38, introduced herself as a mother, a daughter, a sister and a grandmother. She also introduced herself as an addict and an alcoholic, a provincial and federal inmate, as well as a parolee. She now sees herself as a functioning member of society.
“I’ve been an addict since high school,” she admitted. “I was either there high and drunk or not there at all.”
Hubick told her story, beginning with her conception through rape and then being adopted out by her mother. She was sexually molested at age four. “From there, I became an enraged child . . . a hard-to-control child because I hurt inside,” she said.
Hubick knew that she was adopted and in her teen years started to ask where she belonged. She left home and got involved with a street gang.
“They loved me: or so I thought,” she recalled. “I was alone before, but now I had an army behind me.”
Violence was part of her life. She became a mother at the age of 15, and by Grade 12 she had two children. She was able to graduate and even went on to get an office education certificate and became a teaching assistant, all while being in an abusive relationship. She was trying to do what she thought was the “right thing,” but around every corner was another obstacle: a night of drinking or a beating from her partner.
“I was going into the staff bathroom to get high to deal with the pain,” she admitted.
She was arrested for the first time in Moose Jaw in 2013 for drug trafficking and possession of a loaded revolver. Her time in prison was an eye opener, especially when she realized that two other cells in that institution contained her daughter and mother, all on separate charges: “That’s three generations locked up in the same institution.”
Hubick said that up until that point she was constantly trying to avoid taking blame for her crimes. She blamed the people who hurt her and let her down. Then she decided to try a new approach to getting her life under control.
“I told my lawyer that I wanted to plead guilty to all charges,” she stated. She was sentenced to 30 months at Maple Creek Healing Lodge.
It was there that she was asked repeatedly, “Why are you here?” She first responded by stating the crimes of which she had been found guilty. She then responded by blaming her plight as the results of her history.
Finally, she realized the question was not about what happened that brought her to Maple Creek but what she planned on doing with her time. Would she use it positively to heal, or would she waste it blaming her past on others?
Hubick knew that she had to start taking control of her own life and that she needed a more positive support system. “I wasn’t used to choices. For so many years, other people had been telling me what to do,” she said.
While in prison, the elders who were part of her programming told her to reach out for help and to trust other people. This was not easy for Hubick to do.
Hubick started to contact the only people she knew who could help her. She invited them up from the audience at the St. Anne’s event. They included the head of the halfway house where she stayed, two workers from the Elizabeth Fry Society, and an Aboriginal liaison from the parole office.
“When we get released from prison, we are not put on a deserted island,” she stated. “We are released into the community and we want to be a healthy part of it.
“You can’t break someone like me; I’m not an animal. You can be a person who listens. You can walk beside me because I am on a healing journey and healing journeys never end.”
Other speakers at the event included Paul and Laureen Millette, speaking on their experience as victims of road rage, and Saskatoon Police Chief Clive Weighill.