A Chilliwack mother trying to get an adult Amber Alert in place was recognized for the second time in two days by a government official.
Chilliwack-Kent MLA Kelli Paddon presented a petition in the B.C. Legislature Wednesday (Nov. 29) in support of the work done by Alina Durham, mother of 23-year-old Shaelene Keeler Bell. Bell went missing on Jan. 30, 2021 in Chilliwack and was later found dead on June 2, 2021 in the Fraser River near Coquitlam.
“I rise to table a petition on behalf of my constituents, led by Alina Durham, in honour of her daughter Shaelene Bell. They have collected over 1,200 signatures asking that the criteria for issuance of an Amber Alert be expanded,” Paddon said on Nov. 29.
The presentation came just two days after Chilliwack-Hope MP Mark Strahl introduced a private member’s motion in the House of Commons on Monday (Nov. 27) also supporting Durham’s efforts.
Durham has been trying for nearly two and a half years to get the criteria changed in the Amber Alert to include adults who go missing under suspicious circumstances and are at risk of imminent danger or death.
In the days and weeks immediately following Bell’s disappearance, her family put up ‘missing’ posters and tried endlessly to spread the word throughout the community and beyond. Had there been an adult Amber Alert in place, the public would have been notified much sooner, Durham said.
She’s been working with numerous politicians, law enforcement officers and others to try and change the Amber Alert wording ever since Bell’s body was found. Durham created the petition and began collecting signatures about five months ago.
At the end of her 15-second presentation, Paddon can be seen in a video from the Legislature handing over the thick pile of petition papers.
“It was my honour to present the petition on behalf of Alina and the over 1,200 signatories. The passion, dedication, and personal commitment that Alina brought to this work in honour of her daughter Shaelene is incredibly moving and inspiring. I thank her for sharing with me, and allowing our team to help her see this through,” Paddon later stated in an email to The Chilliwack Progress.
The petition reads: “To the Honourable the Legislative Assembly of the Province of British Columbia, in the Legislature Assembled: The petition of the undersigned, residents of British Columbia, states that: the criteria for issuance of an Amber Alert be expanded to include people of all ages who are missing but would otherwise meet the RCMP criteria for the issuance of an Amber Alert for adolescent. Your petitioners respectfully request that the Honourable House urge the government to effect this change and take such action as may be deemed appropriate.”
Paddon said it’s her parliamentary duty to present petitions on behalf of constituents and now that the petition has been tabled, it will be reviewed by the clerk’s office of the Legislative Assembly.
According to the Legislative Assembly of B.C., “A petition, on being presented and meeting the requirements of the Standing Orders of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia, is recorded in the Votes and Proceedings, becomes an official record of the Legislative Assembly and made a public document.”
Durham started collecting pen-on-paper signatures around Canada Day. People can also sign it electronically. To sign the e-petition, download the PDF form (below), sign it, save it, and then email it to Chilliwack-Kent MLA Kelli Paddon at email@example.com.
Additionally, hard copies of the petition are available to sign at the following locations in Chilliwack: Duke’s Country Pub (41582 Yale Rd.), Major League Taphouse (45768 Gaetz St.), Fabutan (104-45655 Tamihi Way), and Corky’s Irish Pub (3-45844 Yale Rd.).
“I was also personally moved by this family’s story and resilience. I know it was not easy to collect all of the signatures. I thank you for entrusting me with this piece of the work,” Paddon said.