The ministry of children and family development has scrapped a commitment to provide British Columbians with regular updates about an effort to transform the way its services are delivered. It's a decision runs counter to the ministry's long-standing promise to be "fully transparent with regard to plans, funding and achievement of principles and goals." That 2007 promise seems to have been breached more than observed, with the government's independent children and youth representative Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond recently having to drag Children and Family Development Minister Mary Polak and Premier Gordon Campbell to court to obtain records she was legally entitled to see. Nevertheless, in June 2008, the ministry announced it would be releasing a progress report and an updated operational plan for its Strong, Safe and Supported initiative every six months to ensure "continued, effective communication" with "staff and the public."
Those releases happened in October 2008 and again in January 2009, with the time between those updates being shortened to four months. But, after that, they just stopped. So why was that?
In an email, a government spokesperson explained the ministry "made a conscious decision to conclude the formal update process" because Strong, Safe and Supported's direction and targets had been "clearly set" and "established."
As a result, the ministry instead decided to start releasing "key overarching products that would provide more clarity on the different aspects" of that plan.
So what in tarnation does that mean?
Well, as near we can tell that means the ministry has decided to revert to its haphazard practice of only telling the public what it wants to tell the public, when it wants to tell the public - no more schedules to keep, boxes to fill and targets to hit. Which is probably for the best anyway.
After all, the Campbell administration has already fallen far short of its 2001 election promise to be the most "open and accountable" government in the country.
So it wouldn't due for the ministry of children and family development to show up the premier's office.