Last month, the provincial government announced it had retained "the services of Lesley du Toit, the executive director of the Child and Youth Care Agency for Development in South Africa, to provide advice on transforming services for children and youth in British Columbia." The information bulletin also noted she "will work from South Africa, but will visit British Columbia to consult and gather information as needed." In fact, according to our operatives, Ms. du Toit has been on the ground in Victoria for at least the past two weeks, interviewing senior bureaucrats at the ministry of children and family development - as well as members of the service community. But how much no longer will she be here and what other work will she be doing on this file?
Those were just some of the questions we wanted to ask Ms. du Toit. And, when we spoke to her Friday morning, the South African contractor pleasantly said she would talk to us later in the day, providing a cell phone number she could be reached at. When we phoned that number, though, the individual who answered told us Ms. du Toit wouldn't be speaking with jthe media. And any further inquiries should go through public affairs bureau headquarters, which later declined to give details on the contractor's schedule.
That seems somewhat strange, given that Children and Family Development Minister Stan Hagen has repeatedly boasted "we are the most transparent ministry of our kind in Canada" - challenging Opposition members "to find another agency like this in the United States or Europe." But then we remembered Ms. du Toit isn't working for Minister Hagen. She's working for the premier, whose promise to run the "most open and accountable government" in the country evidently expired following the last election.