Stay with me. There will be a moral in here. But first something anecdotal to set it up.
This past week has been eventful for Christine and for me. It is sold. That is, our home has been sold. We will now for certain within hours.
Following the signed contract, we purchased our next home, a downsized condo/carriage home with less than half the square footage but something that reduces our maintenance responsibilities and affords us a lifestyle that we desire. All of this within the week. Emotion and stress have been woven throughout these processes.
We listed our home for sale in early January. This is the home in which the past twenty years of our home lives have been lived. These rooms have resounded with the chatter of hundreds of friends in celebrations and parties and the laughter and conversations of small dinner parties. In successive years both of our children at the age of twenty-nine left this place dressed in the wedding apparel to exchange vows with their sweethearts. Both of them brought their newborns to this home to see Papa and Nana. All five grandchildren have known Christine and me associated only with this home. Here is where they have learned to strike golf balls in the back yard, play soccer matches and swim. Here is where five years ago, they listened to Christine and I renew our wedding vows on our fortieth wedding anniversary and then all of us released forty red helium-filled balloons. Here every Christmas has known an extravagant amount of joy and happiness. It is a reliable, solid and substantial property.
This past week, an offer was placed on our home. We countered and the purchasers accepted. SOLD.
A building inspection is not mandatory in British Columbia. This is an optional action and purchasers generally initiate and pay for this inspection to protect themselves. That of course opens a door for potential shifty business dealings. More than one person has informed Christine and me with stories of inspection outcomes done to assist the purchaser to get a price reduction from the vendor. So today, five days after both parties signed the contract to purchase; an inspector will be coming for what may be a three-hour inspection of our home. We are told that the inspector will be in the attic, in the crawlspace, taking off electrical faceplates, turning on and off every switch and tap in the house, checking for moisture, for insulation values, for foundation cracks, for who knows what else. And we are supposed to get lost for the afternoon while this inspection is carried out in our home.
If you have gone through this, then you know the anxiety that this verdict creates. It is actually more worrying than waiting for word about housing sale negotiations.
Our realtor assures us that he will only let this inspector in the door if he/she is a bonded and certified inspector.
There is a certified inspector assigned to scrutinize the Ministry of Children and Family Development and that is the Representative of Children and Youth, who is Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond. She was retained this year for a second five-year term. Child Welfare in British Columbia and child protection did not have such a watchdog until recently. It was 2005 that the Honourable Ted Hughes was appointed to conduct an independent review of British Columbia’s child protection system. He submitted to the provincial government his “B.C. Children and Youth Review" in April 2006. Among his 61 recommendations was one to create a new watchdog of the child protection system. In May 2006 the Legislature passed the Representative for Children and Youth Act authorizing the appointment of a RCY. Then on Nov 27, 2006 Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond was appointed to a five-year term. Within the mandate of her job the Representative is authorized to hold the system of care to account by conducting independent audits, and monitoring and reviewing government services.
She issues periodic reports but I am among the many people in our province who believe that a comprehensive inspection of the Ministry of Children is needed, one that is so scrupulous, so rigorous that the entire management sector of the Ministry should become panicky about the outcome. Far too many families and far too many parents are being bureaucratically molested by callous social work that has lost sight of its objectives. Hon. Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, you must go into the MCFD house and do a full-scale inspection, lifting up every rug and removing every faceplate in order to bring this Ministry up to the code that satisfies a population that is incensed by the extent of cruelty inflicted upon children and families in the name of service that is in the best interests of the child.