A government amendment seeking to strip the children and youth representative of her unrestricted legal right to access cabinet documents would "strike a negative blow to the heart" of efforts to restore confidence to British Columbia's child welfare system. That's the assessment of Ted Hughes, whose 2006 review of that system recommended the creation of that office, which is presently held by Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond. In a letter delivered to the legislature today and addressed to Premier Gordon Campbell, Mr. Hughes called on him to withdraw that amendment - or, at the very least, wait until the next sitting of the legislature to pass it. In doing so, the former conflict of interest commissioner expressed hope the differences between the government and the representative's office could be resolved through mediation. Mr. Hughes also weighed-in on children and family development deputy minister Lesley du Toit's troubled relationship with Ms. Turpel-Lafond.
According to his letter, "this unfortunate and unacceptable relationship is standing in the way of the full repair of the child welfare system of this province which my Report was intended to achieve." Again, Mr. Hughes suggest mediation as a solution - offering his services to help resolve that dispute at no cost to the government. And he encouraged the premier to "take a leadership rule in such an initiative." The following is a complete copy of Mr. Hughes's letter.