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|
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.
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.
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|
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.