Store owner advocates for the elderly

Camille Parent fields calls and e-mails from people with horror stories of elder abuse

David Andreatta, The Globe and Mail

Two months ago, Camille Parent was a vacuum cleaner store owner in Peterborough, Ontario, with a hand in civic issues and charitable causes. But a jarring video he captured with a hidden camera of his dementia-stricken mother being mistreated by workers at her nursing home transformed the 54-year-old Mr. Parent virtually overnight into an accidental advocate for the elderly. When Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews visited a Toronto nursing home in June to announce she would double the number of inspectors for long-term care facilities, Mr. Parent showed up and derided the development as “smoke and mirrors” to a room of reporters. Citing “strict privacy rules,” ministry spokesman Sheamus Murphy declined to discuss the ministry’s relationship with Mr. Parent. Mr. Murphy noted, though, that the ministry last month suspended new admissions to St. Joseph’s out of concern for resident care. Mr. Parent recently started “Ontario Cares” which is devoted to stopping elder abuse and improving long-term care facilities.