EDITORIAL: More than ‘non-threatening’ review needed

This is not about politics. This is about children who need our protection.

This is not about politics. This is about children who need our protection.

Children and Family Development Minister Stephanie Cadieux (MLA for Surrey-Cloverdale) says an independent and unbiased review is needed in a case where the ministry left four children in the unsupervised care of a sexually-abusive father.

She’s right – terribly right – but perhaps the word ‘review’ is not nearly strong enough.

Whatever the justifications or excuses offered, her ministry ultimately failed these children. And the ministry’s failure is also, ultimately, our failure as a society.

In 2009, Supreme Court Justice Paul Walker accepted evidence that the father had physically and sexually abused the three eldest children in awarding sole custody to their mother.

In spite of that ruling, ministry staff permitted the father unsupervised access.

The father subsequently went ahead and did what he might have been expected to do – sexually abuse the youngest child.

Just as we have zero tolerance for crimes that outrage our sensibilities, there can be no excuse for bureaucrats ignoring a Supreme Court ruling and turning over four children – children they were supposed to protect – to the hands of an abuser already noted as such in court evidence.

In his second ruling on the case, released last week, Walker took staff to task for “having a closed mind” and concluding – even before the children were interviewed – that there was no merit to the original sexual-abuse allegations, and that the mother had concocted them and coached the children on what to say.

Perhaps, as NDP Leader John Horgan suggests, Representative for Children and Youth Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond would be a better choice to compel testimony. Cadieux’s appointment of former children’s ministry deputy Bob Plecas to do the review – given that he has said it will be “non-threatening” and won’t consider individual culpability – smacks less of fact-gathering than is needed.

Whatever comes of this exercise, the fact remains that we – and the system we maintain – were not there when the children needed us.

We – and the ministry – don’t simply need to learn from this; we need to, collectively, hang our heads in shame.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

QUIZ: Put your knowledge of Canada to the test

How much do you know about our country?

Stayte Road housing project rejected by White Rock council in 4-3 vote

Councillors heed residents’ emphatic opposition voiced at electronic public hearing

Building heights on White Rock’s Marine Drive to be reviewed

Public information meeting to describe proposed zone for West Beach area

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

‘This year is unlike any other’: Trudeau delivers Canada day address

Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and the Prime Minister release video celebrating the national holiday

PHOTOS: Dual rallies take over Legislature lawn on Canada Day

Resist Canada 153 highlighted colonization and genocide, Unify the People called COVID a hoax

Gov. General honours Canadians for bravery, volunteer service

Five categories of winners presented on Canada Day

COVID-19: Should non-medical masks be mandatory in Canada?

New poll shows Canadians are divided on the rules around mandatory masks

Northbound lane of Coquihalla closed after vehicle incident near Hope

A northbound lane is closed just north of the Great Bear Snowshed, according to DriveBC

‘A little bit scary for everybody’: Air passengers wary as new rules take effect

Masks or face coverings have been mandatory on flights since April 20

River centre says heavy rains could bring flooding to central, northeastern B.C.

Water levels are already unusually high and river banks can be extremely unstable

Most Read

l -->