Jason Cardinal's sons were at 'extreme risk,' childcare worker says
Boys aged 6 and 3, strangled 5 years ago during unsupervised visit with father
A Child and Family Services worker told a fatality inquiry she had "severe concerns" about Jason Cardinal's mental health and believed his two young sons were at "extreme risk" several months before he killed them during an unsupervised visit.
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The goal of a fatality inquiry is to prevent similar deaths in the future.
Wendy Morgan said child care workers were investigating a report in January 2010 that Cardinal was physically disciplining the boys, what she described as fear-based parenting.
Morgan told a fatality inquiry Tuesday that she interviewed Caleb at school before speaking with Cardinal and the boys' mother Andrea Badger.
Morgan said she wanted a safety plan in place immediately and Cardinal agreed to let the boys go with their mother to Bonnyville.
Cardinal however grew depressed and talked about suicide. He told Morgan he wanted to shoot himself as his father had years earlier.
On Feb. 19, Badger was going to have the boys in Bonnyville that weekend. While Cardinal agreed at the time, he had changed his mind saying he was no longer agreed with the safety plan.
Morgan applied for an apprehension order, which was granted on Feb 22, 2010.
Morgan told the inquiry she believed the children to be at "extreme risk" because of Cardinal's mental health issues as well as his parenting skills.
At times he was lethargic and depressed and at other he was manic. Cardinal had testified he struggled with numerous mental health issues.
Morgan said she found Cardinal unreliable.
Sometimes Cardinal would tell her he was on all kinds of medication for mental illness and then claim he was not taking any at all.
She said he was seeing a number of different doctors and obtaining medications from different places.
Supervised access 'absolutely necessary'
The children were placed with Badger under what was called an extended visit.
In March 2010 it was decided Jason Cardinal should only get supervised access to the children.
Morgan believed supervised access to be "absolutely necessary."
In March 2010, Morgan moved to another office and Cardinal's file was transferred to different childcare worker.
A second childcare worker testified she felt threatened by Cardinal and asked to be taken off the file. Her request was granted.
More workers are expected to testify Wednesday.
Evidence is also expected to show Cardinal was trying to improve as a parent by doing some of the steps requested in an apprehension order, such as taking anger management and parenting courses and getting his medication under control.
Cardinal's sons, Caleb, 6, and Gabriel, 3, were found drugged and strangled on Dec. 19, 2010, in his Abbottsfield home during an unsupervised weekend visit.
Cardinal pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder in 2012 and sentenced to life in prison.
The hearing is scheduled to go until the end of the week.
Earlier Tuesday, Cardinal continued to defy requests to answer questions from the inquiry lawyer Peter Duckett.
"You are required to participate and I am directing you to," said Judge Raymond Bodnarek. "The next step is contempt of court."
Cardinal replied "I'm doing 25 to life. It doesn't matter."
He was removed from the courtroom and is scheduled to face a contempt of court hearing Friday afternoon.