Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise today to address a public concern over the recent letter of support I wrote on behalf of Sandy Sanderson, who is a student at our campus in Fort Smith.
The intention of the letter was to describe the character of this individual. It was at no time my intention to influence the justice system in any way, shape or form. Further, it was at no time intended to influence the courts or to indicate that I condone violence against women.
Unfortunately, these letters from political leaders were used to request an absolute discharge for an assault charge encountered by Sandy Sanderson. I know that if I had been asked for such a letter to be used in such a manner, I would not have written it. I also know, from the senior Mr. Sanderson, that if they had known these letters were to be used in this manner, under no uncertain circumstances would they have requested these letters describing the character of their son. It was stated by Mr. Sanderson, and I quote, "We never would have placed any individual in such a position." Knowing the honest person that he is, I believe him.
Mr. Speaker, I want to emphasize to my constituents that I do not condone violence against women, nor do I condone violence against men or violence against a family. As a woman, I would not tolerate any type of violent actions against myself, nor any other woman.
Mr. Speaker, I would now like to read the letter that I wrote describing Sandy Sanderson and his home environment, dated January 16th:
"To whom it may concern: I am pleased to provide my personal views in support of my constituent, Sandy Sanderson. I have known Sandy Sanderson since he was born, and I know that as a youth growing up, he was always considerate and helpful.
"I recall Sandy working in the Legislative Assembly during sessions and recognize that he was an individual who was always willing to assist Members in their requests. The attitude that he displayed was one of a very courteous, mature and pleasant individual.
"In addition, I know that he has been provided with a very positive and caring family environment during his years of growth. His parents, Bob and Jean Sanderson, are a couple I have known all of my life. They have a very pleasant and positive attitude towards life, and I have always known them to be helpful to the less fortunate and considerate to individuals."