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.

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.

 

Just Posted

VIDEO: Christmas Gifts Expo on now at Chilliwack Heritage Park

The annual festive expo features 260 local artisans and small mom-and-pop businesses

SUV on fire on Highway 1 between Abbotsford and Chilliwack

Emergency crews on scene and blocking the right lane

Transport yourself to medieval time with enchanting Winter Harp in Chilliwack

Winter Harp brings medieval attire, intricately carved instruments, spectacular sounds of Christmas

Council approved rezoning for Eddy at the Bridge development

Public hearing on Dec. 3 saw host of speakers both for and against the commercial development

What can $4 million get you in real estate in Chilliwack vs. other places in B.C.?

A 78-acre property with a large house – or you could get a condo in Vancouver or an estate mansion in 100 Mile House

VIDEO: Boys help rescue Cariboo bear cub

The cub, weighing just 24lbs, has been taken to wildlife sanctuary in Northwest B.C. for the winter

Campbell River mom’s iPhone containing priceless photos stolen from Victoria hospital parkade

The phone contained photos, heartbeat recordings of her late son

Miller nets winner as Canucks edge Sabres 6-5 in OT

Roussel, Leivo tally two apiece for Vancouver

‘Norovirus-like’ outbreak interrupts Bantam hockey showcase in Greater Victoria

Several athletes were sent home, quarantined on the ferry

Strong turnout of volunteers to search for missing senior

Ted Vanderveen disappeared in rural Maple Ridge on Nov. 28

$578: that’s how much your first distracted driving ticket will cost with recent premium hikes

Over 50 per cent of Canadians admitted to using phone while driving last year, according to study

SkyTrain strike to begin Tuesday with ‘full shutdown’, CUPE says

BCRTC president says job action is ‘completely unacceptable’ to use SkyTrain users ‘as leverage’

Kelowna man attempts to steal bait bike from RCMP parking lot

38-year-old Brian Richard Harbison is facing several charges

Owners of hotels on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside fight $1 expropriation in court

Vancouver City Council voted to expropriate the properties for $1 each in November

Most Read