Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Is it the responsibility of our government to protect children? Yes, I believe our expectation of democratically elected officials is that they will formulate policy and practice that builds protection for the vulnerable members of our community. Therefore, we must accede to the wisdom of state responsibility for apprehending into public care those children who are being neglected or abused within their own families. There must be suitable criteria for child apprehension and acceptable obligations attached to such action.

When you consider the political future of British Columbia, the rapid decline of favourability of the Liberal Party and our premier Christy Clark, and the mounting support for the New Democrats and increasing popularity of the Conservatives, you must determine which party will deliver the best child protection platform. Do journalists ever ask candidates about their convictions and policies concerning this area of our community life? I have rarely heard this subject addressed. It is not on the front burner of public consciousness. Only those of you who have been troubled by Ministry of Children are acutely aware of the importance of a political party’s view on child welfare and child protection. If you have been directly affected by what you perceive to be intrusive and imperious action against you as a parent, then you are looking for a political candidate who will seek to understand and advocate for you. Is your current MLA a listener? An advocate? A sensitive and informed representative concerning child welfare and child protection?  


  1. Questions to politicians must be posed carefully, and with the appropriate lead up.

    I listened to George Abbott's views before Christy was elected liberal leader. His answer to the question of what to do about the problems RCY discovered with MCFD's brand of child protection. He stated closer communication with Turpel-Lafonde (is she NDP?) would be beneficial. (Translation: she is a troublemaker that needed to be appeased. MCFD is not broken, it needs to continued to operate as it is without interference.) It was very clear to me he was not comfortable with the question. This is an answer in itself.

    Value for the money and results needs to be the criteria for any government ministry or Crown corporations. Large numbers of children kept in care does not equate to successful results. It is the wrong measurement of a successful outcome for children to suggest that more children in government equates to them being saved from a worse fate if they were NOT in care.

    The successful formula for ousting political figures is fairly clear, point out their failings and stir up the masses in anger and hope the replacement won't make things worse. Perhaps the same approach is needed for MCFD, yet I see no improvement despite rapid turnover of Ministers appointed to oversee MCFD.

    So, if you pose the question to say that, "Mr. Politician, approximately xx,000 children remain in government and relative care removed from their families and are kept there by virtue of a $1.3 billion dollar annual budget. Yet, 300 children per day in Canada go missing each day, approximately x,000 yearly just in B.C. What measures do you see being take to address this problem, and how do you quantify the $xx,000 per child cost to keep them in government care when they could be living with their families assisted by government aid?

    We have heard Christy's plan to "strengthen families" that apparently does not address the question of how best to protect children. What would your plan entail Mr. Politician?

  2. Hi Ron; Please let me tell you about politics and child protection. Point by point. No political party has done well with the child protection services. Members of the legislative assembly get just as frustrated as anyone else in trying to deal with the children's ministry. Ministers are very restricted in what they can actually do. There must be no question of political interference in child protection decisions. The law keeps them at arms length. A minister can only paint with a very broad brush. They have no power to overturn the decision of a bureaucrat. The deputy minister has a certain amount of power, but the deputies are usually creatures of the bureaucracy and they close ranks. A minister cannot overturn a decision, but can fire, or shuffle the deputy. They can allocate funding, or pass legislation, but they cannot tell the civil service what to do.
    Even strong and determined ministers like Grace McCarthy and Joy McPhail---two of the best ministers we have seen and from opposite parties--could only make wholesale changes. When they do this the effects can be drastic and they can actually make things worse.
    When you ask an MLA a question, or even a minister, they will not know the answer and often they will not really know how to find out. Ask away my friends. No harm can be done and they may actually try to find the answer. Like how many millions are spent by and adverarial childrens ministry on legal fees in protection cases. I bet they do not even know how to find out. Both the human resources ministry ( income assistance)and the childrens ministry take an adversarial and often hostile approach to the people they should be helping. What is an MLA going to do about that?


I encourage your comments using this filter.
1. Write politely with a sincere statement, valid question, justifiable comment.
2. Engage with the blog post or a previous comment whether you agree or disagree.
3. Avoid hate, profanity, name calling, character attack, slander and threats, particularly when using specific names.
4. Do not advertise