Function and form

Three years ago, former conflict of interest commissioner Ted Hughes recommended the creation of a children and youth representative to audit and investigate the ministry of children and family development. But Mr. Hughes acknowledged it was unusual to have an external body overseeing the functioning of a ministry. So he suggested that function - which is presently invested in Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond - be reviewed in five years time. So does Children and Family Development Minister Mary Polak think Ms. Turpel-Lafond's oversight of her ministry should continue?

Speaking on Public Eye Radio, Minister Polak stated, "Well, whether it continues in its current form or not will be a decision for the legislature, obviously. But, at the same time, I think there's no question that for myself - and I know for my deputy - there's a feeling that there is a role for someone that's in an independent and oversight position. But whether that takes the same format or basis as what we see right now, again, that will be the result of a review. And it will be a decision for the legislature."

That being said, though, Minister Polak added, "It's necessary to say that there's certainly not any thinking going on right now, any plans for some kind of significant change that would come as a result of the review."

So who should be responsible for reviewing that function? "It's an interesting question because Hughes doesn't really go into that. I think right now we certainly do have a committee - that might be an interesting choice. Perhaps one strikes a particular committee of the legislature? There's lots of options...But I think, however that's done, there has to be some involvement of the legislature in it. Perhaps one might wish to involve outside bodies. Lots of options one could take."

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