Brian Reed did not get the permission he was seeking on Friday — to block any move of his severely disabled brother from his home at Michener Centre — but he vowed to “keep pushing the limits” in the fight to have his brother live out his days at the decades-old facility.
Reed brought his case to Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench on Friday, requesting that Justice John Gill state that he could continue to withhold consent to a move as long as he and his parents believe the province does not have “equal or better facilities” in place to transfer his brother into. As long as he believed any forced relocation could cause anxiety, physical harm, or result in the premature death of his 52-year-old brother Bruce, Reed argued, he as an alternate guardian should be able to block a move.
“My brother has no quality of life other than the four walls around him and the kind faces of the Michener staff,” said Reed in court.
While acknowledging Reed’s difficult situation, Gill dismissed Reed’s self-described “emotional appeal.” Gill said in effect the application was asking for a forced injunction to keep Michener Centre open, something he was not prepared to grant.
Gill noted the judicial review filed by Michener guardians to be heard in March as being the proper forum to examine the legality of the government’s closure edict, made earlier this year. And Gill said that Reed, as alternate guardian for his brother — Reed’s parents hold guardianship — was not the proper person to be bringing the application forward.
“You raise some very good issues, sir . . . You need some legal advice,” said Gill, addressing Reed, who represented himself.
Alberta Justice solicitor Susan Turner argued in court that while the Adult Guardianship and Trusteeship Act allows for guardians and “interested persons” to seek action in emergency cases, that the legislation does not permit injunctions.
After his case was dismissed, Reed said he was “not at all disheartened.” He said he expects to work with a lawyer in the coming months and perhaps get more guardians on board to make a legitimate application, though he said any future action would come after and be dependent on the results of the judicial review.
To be heard March 13-14, the review is to reveal how the government came to the closure decision and determine whether it was legal, in light of the government’s 2008 pledge that no resident would be forced to leave Michener Centre.
Reed said he has been told that his brother has been identified as one of the first residents who could move into a community group home. But Reed said his parents, who live in Calgary, have still not been shown any of the prospective new residences that Bruce could be moved into, despite being told in May that tours would be possible.
Reed, of Lomond, a village southeast of Calgary, said his family could potentially consent to a move, if equal or better care was demonstrated at any new home. His brother, who regularly suffers from seizures and is fed through a feeding tube, has lived at Michener Centre for over 46 years.