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

COLUMN: Search for Grace shows community’s true nature

As Chilliwack searches for missing woman, a writer looks back 61 years at a similar story

Serious police incident unfolding at Sts’ailes

Small reserve near Agassiz surrounded by police vehicles, helicopter, ERT

Weapons, drugs, cash, vehicles seized from downtown Chilliwack house

July 5 raid at Princess Avenue address led to one arrest and charges so far

OPINION: Victims too often pushed aside in B.C.’s criminal justice system

What do the complainants in criminal cases want to see done? No one is asking

Trial starts Monday for Chilliwack pastor facing child porn charges

Main Street Church’s former executive pastor John Vermeer set for seven-day trial

VIDEO: Wet weather kicks off Lower Mainland toad migration

Thousands of small western toads were making the trek from pond to woods

Olympic softball qualifier gets $150K boost from provincial government

2019 Americas Qualifier to be held in Surrey from Aug. 25-Sept. 1

Gas price inquiry questions Trans Mountain capacity, company denies collusion

The first of up to four days of oral hearings in the inquiry continue in Vancouver

‘Benzos’ and fentanyl a deadly cocktail causing a growing concern on B.C. streets

Overdoses caused by benzodiazepines can’t be reversed with opioid-overdose antidote naloxone

RCMP release sketch of suspect in SFU assault, appeal to witnesses who helped woman

The RCMP want to talk to two women who helped the victim after she got to the parking lot

Will you be celebrating national hotdog day with any of these crazy flavours?

The popularity of hotdogs spans generations, cultures

Former home of accused Penticton shooter vandalized

Ex-wife of man who is accused of murdering four people had her house vandalized

Survivor of near-drowning in B.C. lake viewing life through new eyes

“If I died that day, the baby wouldn’t know his dad,” said 31-year-old Mariano Santander-Melo.

‘Beyond the call’: Teen in police custody gets birthday surprise by B.C. Mountie

Unusual celebration started when Staff Sgt. Paul Vadik went to visit the teen in his Coquitlam cell

Most Read