Silicon East Conference

Silicon East Conference
by Mark J. LeBelle

Garry Belair, RCMP: National Child Exploitation Co-ordination Centre

A mixture of technology and community safety professionals descended upon Miramichi on October 21 to partake in the first annual Silicon East Conference, held at the Rodd-Miramichi River.

Silicon East Inc., a commercial not-for-profit company, organised the event. Dedicated to developing and growing the Northern New Brunswick technology industry, Silicon East’s head office is located at the Miratech Building in the former Air Force Base Chatham.

“The company is comprised of industry, agency, and associate members who strive to create a strong, supportive, and united front for the knowledge industries,” explained President David Stairs

The central theme of this year’s conference was Community Safety through Collaboration, focusing primarily on child safety. Expert speakers included Gary and Sharon Rosenfeldt, recipients of Canada’s Meritorious Service Medal last year.

Sgt. Merle Campbell (Miramichi Police) and Gary Rosenfeldt
Since the tragic 1981 murder of their 16-year-old son by serial killer Clifford Olson, the Rosenfeldt’s have dedicated their time and energy to victims’ rights in Canada. In 1982, they co-founded the Victims of Violence Canadian Centre for Missing Children, a community-based resource centre for victims of crime.

The organisation regularly makes recommendations on issues such as crimes against children, parole reform and DNA legislation. It is one of the largest victims’ advocacy organisations in North America and has been responsible for many significant reforms to the criminal justice system.

Constable Todd Chadwick of the Miramichi Police Force hosted the conference. Other speakers included Garry Belair of the RCMP: National Child Exploitation Co-ordination Centre. He showed participants the workings of the Child Exploitation Tracking System (CETS).

Retired Sgt. John Oliver, formerly of RCMP’s Missing Children’s Registry, and now Director of Operations for the Miramichi-based Child Safety Research and Innovation Centre (CSRIC), also spoke.

McCullough family and members of Miramichi Police Force

The highlight of the conference was the official launch for CSRIC’s computer gaming product promoting child safety. Sydney Safe-Seeker and the Incredible Journey Home is a multimedia game aimed at children aged five to 10. It provides an interactive exploratory environment where players make decisions based on game scenes developed to mirror real and sometimes dangerous situations and ploys.

“The goal is to have the game made available to schools, educators, parents and safety professionals throughout North America,” stated Founder and President of CSRIC, Allan McCullough.

Silicon East also supported two other events during National Small Business Week.

On Wednesday October 20th a workshop for Atlantic Canadian AMBER Alert co-ordinators was held at the Miratech building. The purpose of the workshop was to consider forming a Regional AMBER Alert made up of each of the Atlantic Canadian province as a means to better protect children and share knowledge about the AMBER Alert program.

AMBER Alert is a voluntary co-operative program between police services and local broadcasters to send an emergency alert to the public when a child has been abducted and it is believed his or her life is in grave danger.

Charity Golf Tournament
On Thursday a Charity Golf Tournament was held following the Conference. Five teams golfed nine holes vying for the ultimate hole-in-one prize — an ATV provided by L.J. Patterson Sales and Service.

Proceeds for the tournament will be given to Miramichi area Community Access Centres to assist both young and the old in enhancing their computer skills while offering an affordable means to connect to the Internet.

“The conference could not have been as successful without our generous sponsors — Business New Brunswick, Enterprise Miramichi, PNB Training and Employment Development, CBDC Northumberland, City of Miramichi, UPM-Kymmene, Weyerhaeuser Miramichi, Grant Thornton, RBC Royal Bank, Rodd Miramichi, RCMP, and Miratech,” said Stairs.

Mark J. LeBelle is Customer Relations Manager at Mighty Miramichi Inc. in New Brunswick. Send comments to