Mysteries of the Dark Continent

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.


Ah yes. Off to South Africa for good fresh ideas. Because nobody in BC or even Canada - certainly not you or me knows what the ell is going on for children and families. This lady I am sure will really shake up the ministry, really make them think about their mistakes and how to improve and "transform" the child and family development ministry. Yes, transformation: i hope she can transform the moneyfat clowns at the legislature into something that looks more like a government.

What a shame. Although Leslie is a creative and insightful woman, do we have no expertise here at home? Why not dust off the Gove report and implement it? Why not wait till the Hughes report is ready in April and at least wait for his recommendations prior to implementing change?Where is the leadership? Where is the strategic planning?

Here's part of the announcement and by the way, the agency she works for in South Africa was funded by the Canadian government through CIDA to do some of the preliminary work a few years back. Since when does BC do ANY planning? THAT is what is unbelievable.

VICTORIA, British Columbia - The Office of the Premier announced this appointment:

The Premier's Office will retain 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. Ms. du Toit's advice will focus on the regionalization of child and family services, including the development of new Aboriginal authorities. Government's objectives are to bring services closer to communities, making them more effective, and targeting them on early intervention to ensure children are able to remain within their families and communities, while also ensuring their safety and well-being. In addition, Ms. du Toit will assist the government in developing a response to the recommendations of the Child and Youth Review Panel, headed by Ted Hughes, Q.C.

If this person can do her work for BC in an office in South Africa, why is it that Gord and brother in law have to go to Europe to hear what is readily available here? Simple answer is Gordo was looking for some press coverage at the games. Look for it in Liberal communications stuff. It's bound to show up
The Tyee has an article today worth reading on the subject.
Wonder what Stan the Man is really doing back east? Keeping away from the critics maybe?

If Ms Du Toit is "creative and insightful", as I'm sure she is, bring her on, and bring on our own experts too! But what bright results can anyone expect to emerge from the cloud of gloom that envelopes MCFD if Premier Campbell insists on keeping people in the dark?

MCFD invited all sorts of international experts to evaluate Doug Walls' devolution plans for the Ministry back in 2002--a great move, except they were given barely any time to study the plan and the Premier ignored every one of their warnings anyway, forging ahead and plunging the Ministry into exactly the crisis they had predicted. He managed to do so because there was no transparency--those reports were never made public (and yes, I still have the copies!).

Since then MCFD has had a revolving door for the expert consultants, as for senior Ministry staff. Unless they're prepared to sing the company anthem, they get ignored, shuffled out, all their work whitewashed. From Day 1 of Mr. Campbell's restructuring, Doug Walls warned us: "The train has left the station; if you're not on board, you're in the way." And we're still hearing the same message today.

As the Ministry lurches from crisis to ever deeper crisis, the Premier continues to count on his ever-expanding communications squad to keep a lid on things via "issues management". I've yet to see any evidence of a genuine desire to achieve any actual issues *resolution* for the benefit of those who may experience these issues as matters of life or death, not political liabilities!

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