Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Dr. Stephen Brown
The Victoria Times Colonist put it this way, “The children’s ministry also gets a long overdue management overhaul with the welcome appointment of Stephen Brown to replace former deputy minister Lesley du Toit.”

One wonders what changes the changing of the principals will have upon the MCFD. On one hand, the continual changing of key personnel every few years cannot affect the necessary transformation. On the other hand many readers will welcome this bureaucratic change.
Premier Clark explained the Ministry changes this way, "We want to have a focus on families in the government and my deputy [minister to the premier John Dyble] felt it was time for a change there." said Clark.

Leslie du Toit
Premier Christy Clark, in addition to elevating MLA Mary McNeil, replacing Mary Polak as Minister of the Ministry Children and Family Development, also replaced the Campbell appointed South African Deputy Minister, Ms. Leslie du Toit, with Dr. Stephen Brown.  Ms. Du Toit's goodbye letter began this way:  "Sadly, I am writing to let you know that as of today I am no longer the Deputy Minister of MCFD and will be leaving the BC Public Service." Read Ms. Du Toit's letter here.

Dr. Stephen Brown, BSc, MSc, MBA, PhD, whose area of expertise includes Organizational Change Management and Strategic Change Management in the Public Sector, is the former health services chief administrative officer. Press the Read More tab below to see his auto-bio on this page or see it online at the Royal Roads University website.

Rob Shaw in the Times Colonist this morning accounted Premier Clark's explanation this way.
"'We want to have a focus on families in the government and my deputy [minister to the premier John Dyble] felt it was time for a change there,' said Clark. Du Toit was a high-profile recruit of former premier Gordon Campbell, who imported her from South Africa especially for the job. She set about a wide-ranging transformational plan for the beleaguered ministry, which dragged on for years and caught the ire of the Opposition for its vague goals. Turpel-Lafond frequently accused du Toit of not communicating with her office or responding to questions and concerns."
 Dr. Brown's Autobio follows:
After four years studying philosophy in Spain I turned to psychology where I eventually specialized in organizational psychology. Having moved to Alberta I decided to round out my organizational studies by undertaking an MBA where I became interested in issues surrounding the management of change as they related to the individual, organizational, and institutional context. This led to my PhD research which focused on an attempt at large scale sector strategic change in a public sector organization.

I have completed all of my studies while working. I started my career as a youth worker in London. Became a manager, a regional manager (after my move to Alberta), and finally executive director in not for-profit child and family service organizations. I then moved on to become CEO of the capital region Child and Family Services Authority in Alberta. I subsequently spent a year as executive lead for the province’s Child Welfare Act review before moving to British Columbia to join the Ministry of Health as Assistant Deputy Minister of Medical and Pharmaceutical Services. In this role I have had responsibility for the Medical Services Plan, PharmaCare, physician negotiations and issues management; and leadership roles in both the province's primary care reform and laboratory reform initiatives. I am also co-chair of two Federal/Provincial/Territorial Advisory Committees on Health Delivery and Human Resources and National Pharmaceutical Strategy.

While working I have taught a various graduate and undergraduate courses at the University of Alberta, University of Victoria, and at the Royal Roads University.

I am married with two teenage children.


  1. The first comment reads "ding dong, the witch is dead". None of the comments have anything good to say. Her departure letter reads as if she was a ministry cheerleader; keeping a team under fire, together. I am aware of only one case in which she intervenes to tell MCFD officials to work with a parent, reversing a CCO.

    Hopefully Dr. Brown can do his new post justice.

    The first order of business should be to get those social workers registered with the College of Social Workers!

  2. "He has a PhD focusing on the management of strategic change in the public service."


    We could certainly use some "strategic" in MCFD.

    One of the partners of the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (Dr. Stephen Brown is a board member of MSFHR) is an organization with the name, "Child & Family Research Institute."


    Now, if you check out this organization, that is, the Child & Family Research Institute, simply by doing a search (e.g., shaken baby) in the main page (search box is in the upper right corner), you'll find that their members have been actively working on such areas as the following:

    Barr, Ronald G.
    Titles: Scientist Level 3, CFRI
    Professor, Department of Pediatrics, University of British Columbia
    Fellow, Experienced-based Brain and Biological Development Program, Canadian Institute of Advanced Research
    Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Community Child Health Research
    Degrees / Designations: MA, MDCM, FRCPC
    Primary Area of Research: Developmental Neurosciences & Child Health

    (his research areas)

    "Shaken baby syndrome"

    "The Period of PURPLE Crying” intervention program to prevent shaken baby syndrome

    (one of his publications)

    Barr RG, Rivara FP, Barr M, Cummings P, Taylor J, Lengua LJ, Meredith-Benitz E.: Effectiveness of educational materials designed to change knowledge and behaviors regarding crying and shaken-baby syndrome in mothers of newborns: a randomized, controlled trial. Pediatrics. 2009 Mar;123(3):972-80.

    If readers go to this site they can see for themselves that there are several others at the "Child & Family Research Institute" who are working on, and thereby supporting (and supported by) the bogus SBS theory.

    But my point is this: Dr. Stephen Brown is a board member of what is a very powerful and influential organization - Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research. And on the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research website, we can clearly see that the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research gets funding from partners. One of those partners is an entity - "Child & Family Research Institute" - which has members who clearly, and very strongly, support the bogus shaken baby syndrome theory.

    In other words, Dr. Stephen Brown, is benefiting from the belief in the shaken baby syndrome theory. A truly ethical person, not to mention someone who was scientifially inclined, would refuse to take funds from such an organization.

    But perhaps he is unaware.

    In this regard, it's worth taking a look at the obligations of Directors, as laid out on one website:


    "Directors can be held personally liable.

    Ignorance is not a defense.

    Resignation is not necessarily a defense.

    Board indemnity may not be enough.

    Directors may be liable for nonperformance.

    Consult a lawyer for more information on directors’ and officers’ legal liability.

    For a comprehensive review of legal liability for directors and officers of not-for-profits, visit Industry Canada’s “Primer for directors of not-for-profit corporations” at


  3. Congratulations Ron; I think you played a significant role in getting rid of Dutoit. Following your coverage of the snatching of Josiah Bayne, many of your thousands of readers caused an email storm, which must have upset many influential people. It would be only a matter of time before Dutoit got her comuppance. I was not surprised to see Mary Polak being put out of the ministry of misery, but to fire a deputy means that she had become a pure political liability. I retired with a small pension and a profound sense of accomplishment. Dutoit retires with a large pension and very little else as far as I can see.

  4. http://www.petitiononline.com/RfrmMCFD/ Hopefully he will hear the screams !!!!!!!! Time to make change

  5. It might be an idea to update the titles of the new minister and deputy on the petition writeup Anon 10:29 AM.

    Speaking of petitions, another commenter created a petition to have social workers registered with the college.

    The Baynes have a petition as well, "Bayne Campaign for Justice" to return their children.

    Let's not forget RoadKill Radio http://roadkillradio.com/category/issues/child-protection/, the Baynes newest of many advocates for the return of their four children.

    The majority of families suffering unneeded MCFD intervention do not have the wherewithall, the means, the bravery to go public, the finances and are not strong enough to suffer through the ignomy of having everyone know of unproven allegations and their struggle.

    This all works in MCFD's favour, so it is important to support families like the Baynes who have put it all on the line to make us all aware of the damage and cost public servants are needlessly inflicting on families and taxpayers.

  6. I recall Leslie Du Toit also had an impressive pedigree, working in South Africa's social services. Her comment on MCFD operations was simply, "It's a racist organization" Likely referring to the high percentage of removals of aboriginals. (Although I would simply refer to it as greed, since aboriginal removals are federally subsidized.)

    As Dr. Brown came from Alberta and was involved in the review of the Child Welfare Act there, examination of the before and after of this Act might determine what beneficial impact his presence had.

    Let's watch closely the continued implementation of the Huges report recommendations and this so-called "transformation" previously announced by Ms. Polak.

    I personally see that the front line people who are so often lauded for their work are the biggest part of the problem; a case of the tail wagging the dog. They have managed to immunize themselves from any changes that occur at the top end.

    When upper managment changes, everything bad that occurred before can be blamed on the previous administration. There is a honeymoon period, then the same old issues resurface.

    Wasn't it just January 2009 when Mary Polak became MCFD Minister replacing Tom Christensen? She has survived, defended the Ministry from that troublesome (NDP?) malcontent, Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, and has been suitably rewarded. End of story.

    Now it is Ms. McNeil and Dr. Brown's turn to see how well they will survive their respective appointments.

  7. I wonder if putting more children in care would come under the category of "job creation." Each removed child means a wealthier foster parent, lawyer or other service provider.

    Modernizing the approach to health families and building safer communities might refer to the MCFD-funded initiative to officially use daycare to screen all young children to locate those "at risk," (high value/special needs removal potential) rather than wait for sporatic reports from the community, schools, daycare operators and hospitals.

    When such generalized feel-good high level objectives are published, it is natural for the viewing public to become instantly skeptical of what this really means.

    Soliciting input from the public to define how these objectives should be be interpreted would be a good move to build public confidence in Christie Clark's open government declaration.

  8. Can someone PLEASE check to see if the Matthew Walker who is the new social worker for the Baynes, is the same as Jason Matthew Walker? If so, it would be an outrage, but no more so than what has already taken place under MCFD's watch.

  9. For all who have been asking, Matthew Walker has been employed for twelve years with Surrey MCFD.


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