I try to pay close attention to what goes on at the ministry of children and family development. But I've got to be honest with you: after six years of covering the ministry I still have a tough time understanding its practices and policies. And I have an even tougher time understanding some of the gobbledygook language that appears in deputy minister Lesley du Toit's emails. So it's difficult to understand what exactly Ms. du Toit has been doing at the ministry and whether the transformative changes she's been making have made the most vulnerable children in the province safer than they were when toddler Sherry Charlie was brutally beaten to death eight years ago.
And if it's difficult for me, I've got to think it's difficult for provincial MLAs too. In fact, the children and youth representatives said as much last week, noting the members of the legislature's standing committee on children and youth don't have the expertise to determine if the ministry has been doing the work it claims to have been doing. Meanwhile, many of those who do have the expertise - other than Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond - won't speak out for fearing of losing favour, funding or contracts with the government. So reporting on the ministry of children and family development has become a she said, she said contest between Ms. Turpel-Lafond and whoever is speaking on behalf of the ministry's top bureaucrat - leaving reporters and British Columbians struggling to figure out who and what to believe.