Polak versus black and white?

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.

6 Comments

Good work, Sean.

Mary, trooper you need to ditch the jerk of a minder. Key point as you said in last few secs was not leaking stuff against a cabinet confidentiality doctrine over 100 years old. Heaven knows Premier Campbell tried to quash it in 2001, couldn't but sure gave a good go.

Josef the original over and out

Did the Minister really say "balance" more than 20 times?

(This one needs to be saved for the "Staying on Message, No Matter What" Hall of Fame, Sean.)

"Balance," apparently, being code for finding some other way to restrict Ms Turpel Lafond's access to Cabinet documents, since the courts have confirmed that this is was very much about access and that the Rep is entitled to access, and Judge Hughes backing that up with an unequivocal endorsment of the need to allow such access if she is to do her job.

It was a rather weird line of defence put up by Minister Polak but as we all know she has marching orders from Gordo and if she wants to keep the job and perks she will just have to suck it up, look foolish and hope it will all die down. But it won't. I wonder why Ujjal, ex NDP Premier, now federal liberal was doing sitting behind her in the guest row? Was he wondering why he was there?

I don't think that she is continuing to fight this ruling because she's worried about losing her cabinet post. Campbell's talent pool is so thin thathe couldn't even come up with a replacement for Heed other than doubling up DeJong's responsibilities.

Polak is just showing her true colours. She obviously has no respect for the law nor the children her ministry is supposed to be helping.

Let's be honest here, no matter what MCFD Min Mary Polak does it's wrong. Yes, Her Maryesty can screw up and no matter what she will in this case.

If she breaks her oath to cabinet and starts leaking stuff from there w/o authorization from colleagues & counsel, she'd be most certainly dis-Honourable in two ways. I'm sure regulars know which two I speak of.

If she keeps the oath, every left winger lobs hateful comments on blogsites because that's what they do, the media and FOI fans like I get upset and she looks like the bad guy to most people because the public isn't educated on cabinet confidentiality issues. Yup, so while Premier Campbell's outta the country she's getting whacked for keeping the faith.

No, what's needed is mediation and if need be judicial arbitration. What's also needed is new minds in the BC government who will pare back cabinet privleges & perks.

The honourable thing to do would be whatever is best for the children, with no consideration for the stuff that flows downhill from the Emperor's office - or resign because you're incompetent to fit the job or too partisan to do what's right.

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