Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
|Premier Christy Clark said the government first wants to make sure it structures|
the review properly “so that we can make sure that we get the outcome that
families in this province deserve.”
Photograph By ADRIAN LAM, Times Colonist file photo
“My view is, ‘Yes, it’s going to have to be independent,’ ” she told reporters Tuesday.
Clark said the government first wants to make sure it structures the review properly “so that we can make sure that we get the outcome that families in this province deserve.”
She was unable to elaborate on the specifics except to say the review “has to be done by someone who isn’t inside government.”
The case, along with questions about the firing of eight health researchers, dominated a short summer sitting of the legislature. The session wrapped Tuesday with passage of a bill designed to enable a liquefied natural gas project in northern B.C.
The Opposition devoted all of the summer’s final question period to the child abuse case.
NDP children’s critic Doug Donaldson said the Opposition has no confidence in the government’s ability to organize a proper or independent review.
“I mean, you had a non-government employee appointed to do the review of the health firings, and then the government set the terms of reference for that and we weren’t able to get to the bottom of that,” he said. “We’re still waiting. So I don’t want to see this drag on for months and months.”
Donaldson said the government should turn the review over to Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, the province’s independent representative for children and youth, and have the select standing committee on children and youth set the terms of reference.
“I think that would be truly independent and get some answers,” he said.
In a decision released last week, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Paul Walker found the ministry liable for negligence, misfeasance and breach of fiduciary duty.
He said social workers sided with an abusive father in a bitter custody battle, failed to investigate the mother’s allegations of sexual abuse, wrongly apprehended her children and then provided false or misleading information to the judge to support the apprehension.
Walker also concluded that social workers tainted a police investigation by inaccurately portraying the mother as mentally ill, and went so far as to disregard a court order and allow the father unsupervised access to his children, during which he sexually abused his youngest child.
Overall, the judge concluded that ministry employees in this case “lost sight of their duties, professionalism and their objectivity.”
On Tuesday, NDP Leader John Horgan asked how Clark can continue to have confidence in Children and Family Development Minister Stephanie Cadieux “based on the complete absence of responsibility and accountability from the minister over the past three days.”
Clark defended Cadieux, saying she takes her responsibilities “extremely seriously.”
“This is never an easy ministry in government,” Clark said. “It’s never one where the problems are simple to solve. Nonetheless, it’s absolutely necessary.
“The minister understands that. She’s worked hard to try and find that balance. Through this review and through the regular reviews that the ministry conducts, we are going to continue to work hard to find the balance and make sure that we are doing the right thing by those vulnerable children who depend on us.”