The ministry of hair splitting

Last week, the ministry of children and family development's top bureaucrat told MLAs she's "never refused" to meet with the government's independent child protection watchdog, despite having recently rebuffed the watchdog's request for a briefing. But the bureaucrat's political boss, Mary Polak, didn't find any fault with Lesley du Toit's contention because, according to her, there's a difference between a meeting and briefing.

Ms. du Toit made the statement just three months after notifying the watchdog she wouldn't be giving her "any further briefings" on a massive effort to overhaul the way children are protected in British Columbia.

The minister of children and family development has seen that correspondence, including children and youth representative Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond's request for such a briefing.

Nevertheless, when interviewed on Monday about Ms. du Toit's contention, the minister stated, "I'm not aware of a meeting request that the representative has made that she's declined."

But wouldn't Ms. du Toit's refusal to give any further briefings to Ms. Turpel-Lafond count as a refusal to meet?

"No, that's a refusal to give a further briefing," alleged the minister. "And I'm sure you know, Sean, the difference between just having a meeting and actually preparing and presenting a briefing on substantive ministry work. Those are two very different things."

"A briefing is where you prepare materials, you prepare content, you prepare an agenda such that you're going to be able to instruct the person you're briefing with regard to that information, you prepare question and answer materials for them - there's all manner of work that goes into a briefing," she explained.

"It's a completely different setting then having a meeting where you might dialogue about a range of topics. So I have no doubt that anyone who's ever experienced a briefing would know the difference between a briefing and a meeting."

Er, yeah...

And, since the minister opened the door, here's our view: a briefing is always a meeting, while a meeting might not necessarily be a briefing.

But we'll be happy to meet with the minister and brief her about that view whenever she likes - although we doubt it will require much preparation.

8 Comments

Gosh, Mary Polak looks great! She's nuclear! Wearing tweed... with hair outta place to split! Never a dull moment in BC Politics.

Let's remember what the latest & greatest Premier said about his upcoming replacement: “We need to have people of the quality of Mary Polak serving in the legislature of B.C.” ... “B.C. will own the podium in the 21st Century because of the quality of people like Mary!”

Perhaps the new MCFD Deputy Minister needs to be neither du Troit nor the Polakite "Nobody Does It Better" who comments here named me but you Sean!

That said, don't know or get why BC Gov't needs blackout, whiteout and the like. Gosh, when you got a "Top Gun" for a MCFD Minister who volunteered for political hazard instead of glory... just win, baby. Just win and own the podium MCFD like Sidney Crosby, Mary Polak, Sean Holman, Joannie Rochette, Gordon Campbell, Christy Clark, Kevin Falcon, Judith Reid, BCLibFan, et al!

Checking in for replies/return fire, I have an idea for Lufond: File a public records request for all data she needs from du Troit.

Now let's see how du Troit handles that. That is going to hurt like a Polak Attak and make du Troit's hair fly more than Mary's and split so much better! That'll get the briefing because for those not in the know public records requests are a millionth more easier to file than to process - what with document searching, copying, removal of privleged information by legal personnel and finally cleaning up.

Not the textbook way to get a briefing but the pain and irritation will force du Troit to honour the threat. Sidney Crosby forced that goal in right behind the back of the Olympics' Hockey MVP, why not Lufond (& Polak) past du Troit? Like I said: JUST WIN, BABY. JUST WIN.

Sean, maybe Mary Polak would also like to teach you the difference between the truth and a fabrication. Oh, wait a minute, it's doubtful she would know about the word "truth" as it seems to be missing from the Official BC Liberal Party dictionary.

Sometimes the "truth" hurts.

I'm curious Crankypants when did Mary Polak lie exactly?

Also she did give a briefing on BCNDP actual assertions that were "absolutely not true", just for reference. This YouTube is by BCLib HQ which prefers Macs to CF-18s.

So let's see what else Crankypants has to say.

I'm going to have to agree with Mary Polak on this one, but for different reasons.

Here's my understanding of the terminology that is being debated:

Briefing - one person talks, others listen. Questions and Answers optional but not likely. (Often provided in written format only)

Meeting - A chairperson follows an agreed upon agenda. Attendees speak on a number of set topics to exchange information and obtain consensus. Many questions and answers, accompanied by follow ups / to-do's.

With that in mind I have to say that I seriously doubt that Lesley du Toit ever conducts or participates in meetings.

Meeting/briefing... to us laymen, who hear that a member of our government has refused a meeting/briefing. It's the same thing. Mary did explain what the difference was - now I know. Most of the sheep out there don't know the difference.

Whether the official version is a meeting or briefing is irrelevant. The operative word is really avoidance. This government always has and always will employ bafflegab to avoid accountability.

Crankypants, bafflegab, BCNDP, they all merge together into one. BCNDP and supporters too immature to govern, period.

Also no Polak lies as alleged by Crankypants. Thank you for your cooperation, your silence was deafening.

Some say I ruin debate, but I say: Enuf said.

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