Margot Van Sluytman met the man who killed her father, and then she forgave him.
Van Sluytman and her father’s murderer Glen Flett are coming to Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) on Nov. 24 to share their stories of pain, healing and change during national Restorative Justice Week Nov. 19 to 26.
“To meet Glen Flett, the man who killed my father, was first and foremost about hearing from him what happened, his thoughts, and his feelings,” shared Van Sluytman.
Flett shot sales clerk Ted Van Sluytman at a Hudson’s Bay store in Scarborough, Ont. in 1978 with an accomplice after robbing the armoured car guard of the store’s cash deposit. The tragedy left behind a widow and four children, including a 16-year-old Margot.
She moved out of her home within three months of his death, and suffered for years from depression and bulimia, and at one point attempted to take her own life. Over time, Van Sluytman found some therapeutic release in writing and became a published author. She ran a micro-poetry press, which one fateful day received a donation from Sherry Edmonds-Flett, Glen Flett’s wife.
It was at that moment, that Van Sluytman and Flett began a tentative conversation, which led to a face-to-face meeting, forgiveness, and eventually a friendship and partnership.
“After meeting him, what became clear, besides his clarity and caring about the damage his act caused, was that Glen and I shared a genuine passion for not only healing ourselves, but for being voices of reconciliation and restorative practices in Canada's justice system,” said Sluytman. “Our friendship and tenacity fire us and gift us to being the change in the world we wish for.”
Sluytman and Flett have been speaking to people who are incarcerated and community groups on their experiences and the transformative power restorative justice had for them for several years now, and will soon share their story at KPU.
“The stories that will be shared by our guests are sure to inspire and ignite a passion for more healing justice,” said criminology instructor and one of the event’s organizers Dr. Alana Abramson. “There is mounting evidence that restorative justice provides more satisfaction to victims and true accountability from those who cause harm, which makes our communities a lot safer. This event at KPU demonstrates that transformation through restorative justice encounters is possible in the aftermath of serious and violent crimes like murder.”
Restorative Justice After Murder
WHEN: Friday, Nov. 24, 5:30 to 8 p.m.
WHERE: KPU Surrey campus 12666 72 Ave., Surrey, Fir Building room 128
INFO: The event is free and everyone is welcome. A light supper will be provided. Registration is requested. Please arrive between 5 and 5:30 p.m.
Story by Tatiana Tomljanovic