Shelve report say some First Nations leaders

'The Plecas report and its recommendations constitute a danger to the many thousands of Aboriginal children care,' says a Sto:lo leader

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs (left) and Grand Chief Doug Kelly of First Nations Health Council stand in support of the provincial Representative for Children and Youth Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs (left) and Grand Chief Doug Kelly of First Nations Health Council stand in support of the provincial Representative for Children and Youth Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond.

Some Sto:lo leaders are calling for the immediate dismissal of Bob Plecas, and Grand Chief Ed John, from their roles as advisors to the B.C. Ministry of Children and Family Development.

In a letter fired off last week to Premier Christy Clark, Grand Chief Doug Kelly, president of Sto:lo Tribal Council (STC) said the just released recent report on child welfare by Plecas, a former deputy minister, “demonstrates a calloused and ignorant opinion” about indigenous and aboriginal children in government care.

The report should be shelved right away, he said.

A resolution approved by STC members on Dec. 18, is calling for Plecas to resign, and well as for Grand Chief Edward John to step down from his MCFD advisor role, — but for different reasons.

The issues they raise about Chief John have more to do with the irreconcilable contradiction between his role as MCFD advisor, as well as a B.C. Leadership Council and First Nations Summit Task Group member.

Ernie Crey, newly elected chief of Cheam First Nation, backed the STC resolution calling for the resignations, along with Seabird Chief Clem Seymour.

Crey said First Nations leaders should be consulted directly about issues relating to aboriginal children in care, and how MCFD resources should be spent, rather than the province allowing all that work and responsibility to fall solely on the shoulders of Chief John.

As co-author of the book, Stolen From Our Embrace: The Abduction of First Nations Children and the Restoration of Aboriginal Communities, Crey a former social worker, has a very strong interest in issues around kids in care.

“While there is a great deal of respect for Grand Chief Ed John, he should consider stepping away from his role as advisor,” Crey wrote on his Facebook page.

“The Plecas report and its recommendations constitute a danger to the many thousands of Aboriginal children in B.C. government care.

“The Grand Chief should not let his good name be sullied by the cynical manoeuverings of the Clark government,” Mr. Crey added.

The letter offers a scathing indictment of the report titled “Plecas review, Part One: Decision Time.”

According to Kelly, Plecas’ report “ignored the needs of vulnerable children and families immersed in poverty” and said the advisor “reserves his self-serving empathy for MCFD social workers, Ministers, and senior executives.”

Among other criticisms, the letter says many First Nations are fully supportive of the work of Representative of Child and Youth Mary Ellen Turpel Lafond, and object to what they view as an unjustified attack on the independent representative by moving toward the phasing out the role.

Kelly said STC members want the premier to work with the Representative for Children and Youth, the First Nations Leadership Council, the First Nations Health Council and First Nations “to transform” children and family services.

“We want to keep our children safe and our families together,” he wrote.

Many Sto:lo hold Turpel-Lafond “in the highest regard” as an advocate.

“She is a hero to us. We respect and love her courage and her dedication to improving children and family services.”

Turpel-Lafond has been highly critical of some ministry actions, and has pushed for increases in the number of front-line workers, and more MCFD funding.

“When the Representative gives you this advice – you ignore it,” Kelly wrote to Premier Clark. “When Plecas gives you the same advice – you promise to act immediately. We are left to wonder about your motives and your promise to put families first.”

The STC resolution states: “The Minister and Deputy Minister have stated in writing and in public that they are not required to consult First Nations leaders and organizations such as the First Nations Health Council because they hired Grand Chief Edward John, adding that his advisor role to MCFD “cannot be reconciled” with positions as a member of both the First Nations Summit Task Group and the BC Leadership Council.

It points out that a huge number, roughly half of the 8000 children in the care of the ministry, are aboriginal, and the interests of these children “are best served” by the independent voice and oversight provided by Turpel-Lafond’s position as the Representative, rather than the job being collapsed into the work of MCFD.


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

Just Posted

The Salvation Army is open for applications for their Christmas hamper program on Nov. 30, and applications are due by Dec. 12. (Chilliwack Progress file photo)
Christmas hamper application process starts in Chilliwack

Hampers available for individuals and families who apply before Dec. 12

The Abbotsford Police Department is investigating a shooting on Adair Avenue on Saturday night. (Photo by Dale Klippenstein)
Drive-by shooting in Abbotsford targeted home with young children, police say

Investigators believe home was mistakenly targeted by assailants

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
Abbotsford care home looks to hire residents’ family members amid COVID-19-related staff shortage

Family would get paid as temporary workers, while having chance to see loved ones while wearing PPE

Trustees Darrell Furgason (right) and Barry Neufeld at a January 2019 board meeting. (Chilliwack Progress file)
Chilliwack trustee responds to teachers’ call for censure

Furgason: ‘Unions exist to make demands from an employer for their members’

Morning mist clears over the Hope Slough at Camp River Road on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. (Jessica Peters/ Chilliwack Progress)
WEATHER: Sunny skies in the forecast for Chilliwack and Abbotsford

Rain and wind expected Sunday night through Monday morning, then clear skies

(Dave Landine/Facebook)
VIDEO: Dashcam captures head-on crash between snowplow and truck on northern B.C. highway

Driver posted to social media that he walked away largely unscathed

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Top doctor urges Canadians to limit gatherings as ‘deeply concerning’ outbreaks continue

Canada’s active cases currently stand at 63,835, compared to 53,907 a week prior

A Canadian Pacific freight train travels around Morant’s Curve near Lake Louise, Alta., on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths along the railway tracks in Banff and Yoho national parks in Alberta and British Columbia has found that train speed is one of the biggest factors. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Study finds train speed a top factor in wildlife deaths in Banff, Yoho national parks

Research concludes effective mitigation could address train speed and ability of wildlife to see trains

A airport worker is pictured at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C. Wednesday, March 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canada extends COVID restrictions for non-U.S. travellers until Jan. 21 amid second wave

This ban is separate from the one restricting non-essential U.S. travel

Langley RCMP issued a $2,300 fine to the Riverside Calvary church in Langley in the 9600 block of 201 Street for holding an in-person service on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, despite a provincial COVID-19 related ban (Dan Ferguson/Black Press Media)
Updated: Langley church fined for holding in-person Sunday service

Calvary church was fined $2,300 for defying provincial order

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(File photo)
Vancouver police warn of toxic drug supply after 7 people overdose at one party

Seven people between the ages of 25 to 42 were taken to hospital for further treatment.

A man walks by a COVID-19 test pod at the Vancouver airport in this undated handout photo. A study has launched to investigate the safest and most efficient way to rapidly test for COVID-19 in people taking off from the Vancouver airport. The airport authority says the study that got underway Friday at WestJet’s domestic check-in area is the first of its kind in Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Vancouver Airport Authority *MANDATORY CREDIT*
COVID-19 rapid test study launches at Vancouver airport for departing passengers

Airport authority says that a positive rapid test result does not constitute a medical diagnosis for COVID-19

Most Read