Edmonton senior fights for legal independence
Case could set precedent for others trying to regain freedoms
A 76-year-old Edmonton woman has won the right to convince a judge that she's mentally fit to make her own life decisions, including where she lives and what medication she takes.
Flora L'Heureaux lost control of her affairs three years ago after she suffered a stroke and ended up in a long-term care facility. Since then, Alberta's public guardian makes important personal and financialdecisions for her.
On Tuesday, a Court of Queen's Bench justice ordered a civil trial to go ahead as L'Heureaux pursues overturning her legal status as a "dependent adult."
L'Heureaux, who now occupies a cramped room in a nursing home, admits she needed the help then but says she doesn't need anyone telling her what to do now that she's better.
"Why should I have to fight to get my independence?" said L'Heureaux. "I shouldn't have to. I've [done] nothing wrong."
The case could set a precedent because judges don't often hear testimony on such matters.
"Normally these issues are dealt with by way of affidavit evidence," said Allan Garber, L'Heureaux's lawyer.
"If the judge could actually see her and how she responds to questions and if the judge can see her wit and how she handles herself, that will be something in her favour."
L'Heureaux completed a college course last fall to upgrade her education and won an award while she was there. She hopes information like that will convince the judge she should get her rights back and help others in the process.
"There's many people that are in this system that don't want to be in this system that want out," she said. "But it's very different once you're labelled and in there, it's very hard to get out."
No date has been set for the court hearing.