EDITORIAL: Strong advocate for kids

It would be very unfortunate if the all-party committee discussing the appointment of the province’s representative for children and youth does not agree to keep Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond in the role.

It would be very unfortunate if the all-party committee discussing the appointment of the province’s representative for children and youth does not agree to keep Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond in the role.

Turpel-Lafond, a First Nations woman from Saskatchewan who is a former judge, has done an excellent job in what is a very difficult and highly-stressful job. It is her job to let the light shine in cases of child neglect, child deaths and other truly disturbing incidents involving children.

As an independent officer of the B.C. legislature, her role is to make the situations public and suggest solutions. It is not to kowtow to government policy or close her eyes to some truly challenging and difficult situations.

Turpel-Lafond, as both an aboriginal woman and former judge, has unique skills which put her in a good position to speak up about this. Her   background is a real help in this position.

Far too many of the children who are in foster care in B.C. are First Nations children — a much higher proportion than the First Nations share of B.C.’s population. There are a wide variety of reasons for this, but it remains a fact. Someone who comes from a First Nations background, and has dealt with those situations both personally and professionally, is in a far better position to help make real change than a complete outsider.

It is important to remember that the initial suggestion of an independent children’s commissioner came out of the inquiry presided over by Judge Thomas Gove. This was set up after the tragic death of Matthew Vaudreuil in 1992. The five-year-old spent his short life in government care.

The NDP government followed through on the recommendation. The BC Liberals​ abolished the position in 2002, shortly after they first came to power, but created the independent representative’s office after Ted Hughes​ was asked to report on what was becoming a serious problem involving children in care.

Turpel-Lafond took the new position in 2006. While she has made politicians squirm on many occasions, she is doing so because she is speaking on behalf of children, families and the general public.

These children need an independent voice. They will never get that by relying solely on the existing child welfare system.

Turpel-Lafond has demonstrated that she is truly independent.

~ Black Press

Just Posted

Chilliwack Chiefs erase three goal deficit in overtime win

Down 3-0 to the Cowichan Capitals, the Chiefs came back to win 4-3 in the BCHL Showcase match.

Chilliwack man feeling helpless about puppy stolen while at church

Evidence of neighbour trespassing and accusing him of dog neglect not enough for RCMP

UPDATE: Missing Chilliwack man has been found

Chilliwack RCMP is thanking the public for keeping an eye out

UPDATED: Chilliwack councillor’s expenses being sent to the RCMP

Decision to have expenses audited and shared with RCMP taken at special meeting of council

Risk of thunderstorm this afternoon for Vancouver Island and Lower Mainland

A special weather statement calls for heavy rain and wind over the next 48 hours

VIDEO: Neighbours fear impact of B.C. tent city residents

Greater Victoria residents opposed to campers voice concerns at provincial campground

B.C. premier apologizes for removal of 1950s totem pole at Canada-U.S. border

First Nations say pole was raised at Peace Arch but removed to make way for tourism centre

Tornado touches down in Ottawa and Gatineau, Que.

Environment Canada says cars and homes have been damaged by severe thunderstorms and high wind gusts

An unexpected sight: Bear spotted eating another bear in central B.C.

Cheslatta Carrier Nation Chief finds bear eating another bear’s carcass

Free vet clinic caters to pets of homeless, low income people

The first such clinic in Langley will take place later this month.

RCMP confirm death of missing BC teen Jessica Patrick

No details on cause were given. Case is under criminal investigation and police are asking for tips.

Extradition hearing set for Lower Mainland developer accused of fraud

Mark Chandler will go before the B.C. Court of Appeals early next year.

CUTENESS OVERLOAD: 2 sea otters hold hands at the Vancouver Aquarium

Holding hands is a common – and adorable – way for otters to stay safe in the water

B.C. teen with autism a talented guitarist

Farley Mifsud is gaining fans with every performance

Most Read