Mary Polak isn't yet saying whether the government will withdraw legislation seeking to strip the children and youth representative of her unrestricted legal right to access cabinet documents. This, in response to a letter from Ted Hughes encouraging Premier Gordon Campbell to do just that. In a scrum with reporters, the minister of children and family development also continued to insist last week's legal fight between government and the representative "wasn't about access (to cabinet documents) for us" - even though the judge who heard the case stated otherwise. During that fight, the representative, Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, successfully petitioned the court to enforce her information rights after the government refused to hand over such documents without strings attached. Supreme Court of British Columbia Justice Susan Griffin also found those rights - which were enshrined in section 10 of the Representative for Children and Youth Act - included cabinet confidences. "This could not have been an oversight," she added. Yet the minister claimed there was "ambiguity" in the legislation regarding that very issue. Mr. Hughes, British Columbia's former conflict of interest commissioner, had conducted a review of the child protection system in 2006 which recommended the creation of Ms. Turpel-Lafond's office.
May 17, 2010