Children’s Ministry review puts protecting the minister above protecting children

July 24, 2015 (VICTORIA, BC) - The B.C. Liberals have designed the review of the Ministry of Children and Families to fail, say New Democrats.

“The B.C. Liberals are putting protecting the minister above protecting children,” said B.C. New Democrat Leader John Horgan.

“The Ministry of Children and Families handed children over to a child molester in defiance of a B.C. Supreme Court order and British Columbians want to know how it was allowed to happen. This review will not give the answers that the public deserves and it will not restore confidence in the ministry’s ability to protect children in their care.”

After New Democrats hammered the Minister of Children and Families with questions about her conduct in the Walker case, the minister agreed to call an independent review. Unfortunately, the terms of reference of the review, released today, make it clear that the B.C. Liberals’ priority in this case is ensuring no one has to take responsibility for what happened.

The first objective of the review is to determine if the ministry followed the legislation, policies and standards that govern the ministry. Yet, the Walker judgement already found that the ministry failed on every one of these points.

“The B.C. Liberals may want to retry the trial on these points, but the Walker judgement was clear: polices, practices and standards were not met by the ministry and ministry staff.

“We already had an independent investigation on this point, and we have a court judgement to prove it. What we don’t know is why the minister did not step in and ensure these policies were followed. And the B.C. Liberals designed the review to ensure that question is not answered,” said Horgan.

“The B.C. Liberals have also said they may appeal Judge Walker’s decision. No wonder the investigator in this review wasn’t given the ability to compel evidence and is tasked with reporting to the minister instead of investigating her. We’ve seen this kind of review before, with the health firings. It wasn’t adequate then, and it’s not adequate now.”

New Democrat children and families spokesperson Doug Donaldson also noted that the review fails to examine how the children and their mother have been treated in the wake of this decision.

“The public wants to know if these children have gotten the help they need to overcome the trauma they have experienced. They want to know how the family has been treated by the ministry in the wake of these damning decisions,” said Donaldson. “This review is all about protecting the minister and her ministry – it neglects to put the children first.”