Thursday, August 29, 2013


Ray Ferris is picking up where he left off yesterday.

“One thing you have to understand. The law protects regional directors from political interference and it also protects them from accountability. The minister is powerless to interfere with their decisions. The deputy minister also usually stays out of it. All they can do is fire a directors or promote them out of harm’s way, but they cannot overrule. The provincial head honcho was a guy called Ross Dawson. He embarrassed the government by refusing to heed the advice of a watchdog called the children’s commissioner who used his privilege of going public. The minister could not overrule him, so then premier Usal Dosanjh took over. He passed a special order in council removing Dawson as director for that case only and appointing someone else, who obliged with a more sensible decision. After that they did away with the top job and returned all power to the regional directors. Of course one of the first things the liberals did when they came to power was to scrap all the watchdog branches of government. Also when they eventually initiated the current re
presentative for children and youth , they were careful to make her a toothless watchdog.

    One of the first changes that Christie Clarke made as premier was to replace minister and deputy minister and to reinstate the position of head child welfare bureaucrat. The wheel had returned full circle, but this was generally hailed as a new move. Yes Ron you too greeted the appointment of Stephen Brown with some optimism. How do you feel now he has been moved out?

    What this means is that the responsibility for all these court cases rests ultimately on the shoulders of the director of child welfare and the deputy minister. When these cases are perversely pursued beyond all reason, who makes this decision? Who makes the decision to provide all the special funding? Funding for special foster home care, funding for psychologists, private practice social workers and registered clinical counsellors. Well district supervisors, who are now called team leaders, have a certain spending authority. Regional directors have certain budgets, but if the demands of a case exceed those budgets, they must be authorized at the top level. So in these very costly court cases, there is the additional need to pay contract councils a lot of additional fees and the top brass are bound to be kept informed of what is going on. Not only that they frequently get complaints from client and public about these unjust cases. So we know perfectly well that when the ministry decided to bow out of this case that the decision involved the two top bureaucrats.”

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