Two dramatically different versions of the relationship between the ministry of children and family development and its watchdog emerged today. In one version, the ministry has stopped directly responding to the children and youth representative's recommendations. Instead, the ministry will only respond to those recommendations through a committee of MLAs responsible for children and youth issues. At least, that's what the representative, Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, told that committee this morning. But, speaking with reporters following Ms. Turpel-Lafond's presentation, Children and Family Development Minister Mary Polak said that wasn't the case. In fact, she repeatedly said she was "perplexed" by Ms. Turpel-Lafond's statements - leaving reporters trying to figure out who and what to believe.
But what we know is that, in the past, the ministry has been uncooperative with the representative, according to correspondence obtained by Public Eye via a freedom of information request. We also know this is just the latest example of the troubled relationship that exists between the ministry and the representative. And it now seems a change in the political leadership of the department has done little to calm that trouble.