Chewed, swallowed and digested

Last month, the province's children and youth representative announced she had found "too little evidence...of a coordinated effort" to implement recommendations included in Ted Hughes's 2006 independent review of British Columbia's child protection system. So what does Mr. Hughes have to say about Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond's finding? Well, when the Canadian Press's Dirk Meissner spoke to the former conflict of interest commissioner last month, he hadn't read Ms. Turpel-Lafond's report. Although he was prepared to give the government some slack. "I assume, there would be some reason for that. There may be some sensible reason why it hasn't occurred up to now," he said. But, now, Mr. Hughes is expressing disappointment at the government's apparent lack of action.

Said Mr. Hughes, who has now had an opportunity to read the children and youth representative's report, "The government said at the time of the release (of my review) that they embraced all of the recommendations and they would be acted upon. So I expect them to be. I see in some of the responses (from government) last week it was indicated that there's a target 90 percent of them will be in place a year from now. It's a little disappointing. On the other hand, I realize some of them do take some time. But my wish would have been the matter would have moved faster as I think it could have moved faster."

And why does he feel government could have moved faster on his recommendations? "The commissioner has pointed out things in her report that haven't happened. And it seems to me sufficient time has passed that most recommendations would have had some action by now. And that hasn't happened," Mr. Hughes responded. "There's really nothing more important than the safety and care and the well-being of children who are in care of government and are at risk. And that report was put out to really start the process of solving some very major problems that existed in that whole area. And, once fully implemented, I think the remedy to the past problems was there."

Mr. Hughes couldn't say on why just 60 percent of his recommendations have been acted on, stating "I haven't been in touch with the government since the day I released the report." Asked whether he found the situation surprising, he stated, "I'm not prepared to say that. It's disappointing. And I guess we have to accept the fact that by my calculations, a year from now, 56 of them are going to be in place. I don't know which of the six are that are still going to be outstanding a year from now. But that's where (Ms. Turpel-Lafond) is going to have to direct her attention if those five or six are outstanding."

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