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Hiring foxes to redesign the chicken coop

Sean Holman at Public Eye says Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond is not the only government watchdog whose suggestions have been sidelined by the ministry of children and family development.

Last week, the ministry’s political boss Mary Polak rejected Ms. Turpel-Lafond’s recommendation to re-screen the adults caring for kids placed in the government’s children in the home of a relative program. This, after the representative found some of those adults had criminal records or previous child protection concerns. But that’s not the only example of the ministry not acting on a recommendation from an independent legislative officer.

In May 2008, the province’s auditor general John Doyle released a report into the management of aboriginal child protection services in British Columbia. In that report, Mr. Doyle made 10 recommendations. . . .

But, as of January 2010, those measures were nowhere to be seen. . .

After making the government angry by preventing distribution of a mailer supporting HST, Chief electoral officer Harry Neufeld was told his term would not be renewed or extended and he was finished Jun 5.  Neufeld’s interim replacement, in a prompt reversal of principle, ruled the government was allowed to campaign in favor of HST using the Internet and other new media.

Pesky officers of the legislature say things that make politicians uncomfortable. These cases demonstrate why the Gordon Campbell government is planning to remove authority from the authorities.  Campbell appointed a watchdog review committee chaired by Ron Hicks, formerly Alberta’s Deputy Minister of Executive Council, that province’s senior civil service position.

New Liberal Watchdog

Hicks’ position on watchdogs is clear. He says they should never criticize government’s policies and programs and must be restricted in how they engage the media. No doubt that view qualified him as an advisor to the Liberal Party as they prepare to de-fang the watchdogs.

Hicks made a silly claim that effectiveness of the Alberta auditor general had “decreased dramatically” because, one recent year, the government had implemented only 77% of the officer’s recommendation whereas other years it was 90% or more. Remember, the person making that evaluation was the senior officer of the Alberta government, the person most responsible for correcting administrative errors and most at fault for their existence. Hicks did not enjoy being under the auditor’s spotlight. Well, too bloody bad.

In British Columbia, Hicks is joined on the review committee by:

  • Brenda Eaton, former Deputy Minister to Gordon Campbell, now chair of the government’s BC Housing Management Commission and a Director of numerous corporations and agencies, including BC Hydro.
  • George Morfitt, Liberal handmaiden who is one of the princes of insider entitlements dining at the public trough.
  • Tony Dean, former Secretary of the Cabinet and Head of the Ontario Public Service, a position that was preceded by appointments as Ontario Deputy Minister of Labour and Deputy Minister and Associate Secretary of the Cabinet.

This committee of four consists of well practiced insiders, not experts in protecting public interests. Nor have they championed transparency and accountability. Quite the opposite. The Campbell Liberals, despite the certainty of their promises of transparency reversed direction not long after they made those promises.

Gordon Campbell’s government has been fighting the Davies Commission for years, seeking to prevent the Criminal Justice Branch from being held accountable for refusing to prosecute police officers involved in Frank Paul’s death in 1998. Despite passage of almost 12 years, the CJB refused to explain its actions, even taking that position to the highest court in the land, where they lost. Yet, despite the Supreme Court ruling, they are still mute on the subject. Liberals must be dragged kicking and screaming toward the position of accountability

    Liberals have support remaining with only one of four citizens in this province. If they have the nerve to weaken the oversight capability of the eight officers of the Legislature, they will regret it because their members soon will be sitting on the opposite side of the house. Whether it is in 2011 through recall or an election in 2013, Liberals in opposition will favor strong watchdogs. For their own sake, they ought to back off Campbell’s current plan.

    Categories: Uncategorized

    1 reply »

    1. Well, BC isn't known as the most corrupt province in Canada for nothing. Campbell and Hansen used lies, deceit and cheated to ensure of Hitler's, I mean Campbell's re-election. The BC Liberals, lie, deceive, cheat, thieve, are corrupt, paranoid, arrogant, pathetic, have criminal offenses. Are full of hate, spite, silly juvenile games, vendetta's, obsessed by fear, their dastardly deeds will be known to the citizens, blacked out FOI papers, to conceal the Olympic debt, missing e-mails re: the corrupt sale of the BC Rail trial, putting the blame on three patsies, who were just following orders. Then there is brain dead Martyn Brown, how does he manage to find his way home. Campbell, is just as evil and insane as Hitler was. Good grief, how many of Campbell's henchmen, have been under investigation now? The BC Liberals are the worst government, in all of Canadian history.

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