Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, B.C’s representative for children and youth, tabled her final report on Oct. 24.
She proved to be bright and thorough in her critique of government failure to fulfill its responsibilities to children: consistently speaking truth to power and discomforting those in power.
Turpel-Lafond served under premiers Gordon Campbell and Christy Clark and four Ministers of Children and Family Development, the last four years under Surrey-Cloverdale MLA Stephanie Cadieux.
Despite her successes, Turpel-Lafond believes more could have been accomplished had Cadieux actually done her job as minister (Youth rep cites MLA as she exits early, Oct. 26).
Turpell-Lafond helped reduce the number of children in care from 11,000 to 7,000 over 10 years, but believes a reduction to 4,000 was possible had Cadieux “brought more spirit of change.”
Turpel-Lafond noted Cadieux “has been very slow on improvements.”
Despite Cadieux’s sworn oath “to the best of my ability fulfill the responsibilities and trust granted to me,” and despite the fact her ministerial responsibilities specifically required her to meet quarterly with the representative for children and youth, Cadieux excused herself from the last four meetings.
Turpel-Lafond stated: “At times I felt there was a spirit of retaliation towards me,” and that she was treated as “a member of the opposition and intentionally targeted me in that regard to destabilize my work.”
Cadieux seeks to represent the voters of Surrey South this spring. She will no doubt promise to represent us to the best of her ability, just as she promised to protect B.C.’s vulnerable children and youth to the best of her ability, but didn’t.
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me!
Jef Keighley, Surrey