Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Open Letter: UBCIC Supports Representative for Children & Youth Petition to Access Cabinet Documents

Union of BC Indian Chiefs

May 11, 2010

Hon. Mary Polak
Ministry of Children and Family Development
PO Box 9057, STN PROV GOVT.
Victoria, BC, V8W 9E2

Dear Hon. Polak,

We are writing to express our shock, outrage, and complete opposition to proposed provincial legislation that would severely restrict the B.C. Representative for Children and Youth’s access to key cabinet documents, and thus restrict her ability to effectively advocate on behalf of extremely vulnerable children and youth.

The independent Representative for Children and Youth (RCY) position was created in 2006. A report on the brutal death of toddler Sherry Charlie prompted an internal review of the government, an inquest, and an inquiry. The work was headed by retired judge Ted Hughes, who recommended creation of the RCY position. Mary-Ellen Turpel-Lafond was appointed unanimously to the RCY position by all parties.

We understand that Turpel-Lafond’s petition will be heard before the Supreme Court Thursday, May 13th. You must prevent the proposed legislation that would censor the RCY’s access to critical cabinet documents. We urge you to work together with Turpel-Lafond in her position as RCY, rather than against her in, order to carry out your overlapping goals of caring for and protecting vulnerable children and youth.

We call on you to place the interests of vulnerable children first.

On behalf of the UNION OF BC INDIAN CHIEFS,

President Grand Chief Stewart Phillip
Vice-President Chief William Charlie
Secretary-Treasurer Chief Robert Chamberlin

Read the whole letter here.

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Government curtails child and youth rep's right to know

Andrew MacLeod. April 30, 2010. TheTyee.ca

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Information for the Uninformed
May 7, 2010, Public Eye Online.

On Wednesday, Children and Family Development Minister Mary Polak accused the BC Association of Social Workers of being "uninformed and inaccurate." This, in response to a social workers' news release criticizing the government for introducing legislation that will ensure the children and youth representative doesn't have an unrestricted right to cabinet documents. But association member Tracey Young couldn't find any evidence in Ms. Polak's letter supporting that accusation. In an email sent on her own behalf to the minister, Ms. Young also expressed hope the representative's recent legal effort to force the release of those documents, would lead to a "greater understanding of the challenges that are impacting the disclosure of information from the BC government regarding child welfare and other related matters." The following is a complete copy of that email.

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