Turpel-Lafond: "I was very disappointed with both parties..."

Children and youth representative Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond said yesterday she was "disappointed" neither the New Democrats or the Liberals focused on child welfare issues during the recent campaign. In an interview on Public Eye Radio, Ms. Turpel-Lafond stated, "I'm a non-partisan officer of the legislature. But I watched the election campaign from that perspective of who's talking about kids. Because I know British Columbians care deeply about the well-being of their own children and children in state care, children in poverty, children in marginalized communities. But I was very disappointed with both parties - their candidates and their leaders - in terms of not making commitments or a key focus these issues around children. That doesn't mean they may not be commitment to them. But they certainly didn't have a public discussion."

So why was that? "It might be, in part, because we have an independent office. So people say, 'It's being handled somewhere,'" said Ms. Turpel-Lafond. "I think the other challenge was kids are powerless. And particularly the most vulnerable kids in poverty - kids out of the parental home. These are kids who, tonight, can be moved to another location. And they don't vote. They don't have a lot of say. And they don't get a lot of traction. So it really depends on that reach out by the political parties, candidates and leaders to them. Because they can't really create the kind of interest they may want to create. So the lack of power is a factor. And the recent campaign indicated to me again that young people and children in that circumstance don't get a natural audience without some help."

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