Wednesday, May 19, 2010

You Can't Mediate Stupidity & Incompetence: MCFD's Real Problem

Oh all the hullabaloo, it's easy to lose track of the trees in the forest but I will help bring focus back.

All of this nonsense about MCFD refusing to release cabinet documents to the Representative for Children & Youth, which has now landed in BC's Supreme Court, costing taxpayers thousands of dollars that could have been spent on BC's kids. Make no mistake, this whole debacle, the latest in BC's child welfare system, had it's start with MCFD's Deputy Minister Lesley Du Toit. Her incompetence is legendary now, as is her lack of results and the FACT that the child welfare system has never been in worse shape.

Her refusal to meet with the Representative and the unprofessional secrecy and lack of accountability as a BC public servant in one of the most important Ministries in BC is at the heart of this whole dispute. This is a person who Gordon Campbell personally selected to eviscerate the child welfare system, which is being done cut by painful cut. That is what she is here to do, with her excessive salary (what bonus did she pull in each year since 2006), with her $2000 per MONTH "living allowance" and with a total absence of transparency, or accountability. And then she will go home. She will leave BC's child welfare system as a pale shadow of what it once was. She will return to her homeland, leaving a generation of kids as collateral damage to the ideology of the BC Liberals cut, privatize, deregulate, decentralize, ASD mantra.

Let's face it, if any one of us caused problems on the scale that this DM has, we would have been canned before you could blink an eye.
Yet she rolls from screw up to failure year after year, yet, she manages to keep her overpriced job. Why? Why do our taxpayer dollars go to keep this person on BC's payroll?

Enough is enough. It's time for a major "change effort" and "transformation" of the leadership of MCFD.

Premier has high hopes for Hughes
Sean Leslie |

Premier Gordon Campbell is hoping former Judge Ted Hughes can sort out a dispute with the Child and Youth Representative over access to Cabinet documents.

Speaking from Beijing, China, Campbell said he welcomed Hughes' offer to act as a mediator, "I think this is a great opportunity for us to do what we were trying to do all along, which is provide the rep with the information she needed while protecting Cabinet confidentiality. I think both of those things are important and in the public interest. But we have consistently provided the rep with all the information she needs and to have Mr. Hughes come forward and say this is something that he can help us with, I think that's a great solution."

Hughes wrote an open letter to the Premier this week calling on him to take leadership on the issue of child protection.


BC Children's Rep Wins Court Decision
CBC News. May 19 2010.

BC Backs Down in Youth Watchdog Fight
CBC News. May 19 2010.


Let's Make a Deal: See Minister Polak talk her way around this one.
Public Eye Online. May 19 2010

The government has accepted former conflict of interest commissioner Ted Hughes offer to mediate a dispute between the children and youth representative and the ministry of children and family development. Mr. Hughes - who recommended the creation of the representative's office in 2006 - made that offer in a letter sent to Gordon Campbell yesterday. In the letter, he asked the premier to withdraw legislation would strip the representative of her unrestricted legal right to cabinet documents...

Ted Hughes Letter to Premier Campbell
Posted on Public Eye Online.

A government amendment seeking to strip the children and youth representative of her unrestricted legal right to access cabinet documents would "strike a negative blow to the heart" of efforts to restore confidence to British Columbia's child welfare system. That's the assessment of Ted Hughes, whose 2006 review of that system recommended the creation of that office, which is presently held by Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond. In a letter delivered to the legislature today and addressed to Premier Gordon Campbell, Mr. Hughes called on him to withdraw that amendment - or, at the very least, wait until the next sitting of the legislature to pass it. In doing so, the former conflict of interest commissioner expressed hope the differences between the government and the representative's office could be resolved through mediation. Mr. Hughes also weighed-in on children and family development deputy minister Lesley du Toit's troubled relationship with Ms. Turpel-Lafond.

According to his letter, "this unfortunate and unacceptable relationship is standing in the way of the full repair of the child welfare system of this province which my Report was intended to achieve." Again, Mr. Hughes suggest mediation as a solution - offering his services to help resolve that dispute at no cost to the government. And he encouraged the premier to "take a leadership rule in such an initiative." The following is a complete copy of Mr. Hughes's letter.

Deputy Premier Allan Seckel's Letter to Ted Hughes