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In my ideal world, the employees within a government ministry paid by the people of British Columbia and charged with the responsibility of caring for a sector of the population are humbled by an awesome sense of obligation. Each treats the task as a privilege to make a difference.
From the moment that the legislation comes down to inaugurate a ministry as crucial to societal well-being as assisting families and protecting children, that Ministry becomes a symbol or radical change. This Ministry becomes a virtual new and emerging movement of humanitarian love and economic aid and physical and emotional security. Its representatives inspire confidence and hope and trust runs deeply among all levels of the ministry and between the personnel and the public. Any established patterns and methods from a prior initiative are abandoned. The dreamers and designers of the Ministry determine not to attend international symposia or family and child welfare conferences in the United States or the UK. They choose to reject the formulae of other provinces and countries where the results are suspect. The philosophy of ministry and the practical logistics are newly dreamed, designed and implemented. Critical to the design and implementation of the services that will be offered is an engagement with the multi-faceted culture that is British Columbia. A decision is made early not to transform distinct cultures into one homogeneous identity but to respect the various expressions of family and values and life. There are negotiables and non-negotiables. Among the non-negotiables are the self-evident values of the worth of individuals, of children and of families, the paramount commitment to protect children, and the resolute determination to make families work. In everything that is negotiable, that is, how parents raise their children, whether protectively or with liberty, with or without conventional diets, with religious instruction or not, with trendy clothing and hairstyles or simplicity, this Ministry determines not to make it difficult for those who are seeking to do their best. The Ministry becomes willing to adapt for the sake of helping parents and families to succeed. Child removal becomes a true last resort after every effort to equip parents is exhausted. The Ministry takes the approach of being as pliable and adaptive as possible so that confrontation and competition disappear when dealing with parents and caregivers and families.
This future cannot be experienced without embracing and experiencing change. The reality of change is the promise of altruism. In my ideal world, the Ministry is staffed by an army of selfless, self-denying, public-spirited, self-forgetful, considerate and generous public servants. Only in this way can the future of British Columbia become better than the past that we have been experiencing over the last several years and witnessing in the news these last several weeks . I watched Premier Campbell's enthusiasm during the Olympics. I loved the spirit of the Olympics and thoroughly enjoyed the images of competition and success and the stories of athletes and teams and countries. I would endorse Campbell for another term if he could become enthusiastic about comprehensive transformation as I have described. That would be a more lasting legacy than fourteen gold medals, an Olympic Cauldron and an Athlete Village.
I know: "When the spark of brilliance meets the cold stream of reality, idealism is often the first casualty."