Update: I said below that Bobbi Plecas, daughter of Bob Plecas, was an ADM in an unrelated Ministry. NVG noticed that she was moved to the Office of the Premier on July 30. http://www.llbc.leg.bc.ca/public/pubdocs/bcdocs2015_2/588707/2015PREM0054-001211.pdf
Also, Bobbi Plecas was cited in a Bob Mackin piece with something of a connection to the Quick Wins scandal http://thetyee.ca/News/2013/06/12/Quick-Wins-Docs/ Particularly .. “on March 1, Citizens’ Services assistant deputy minister Bobbi Plecas ordered several senior bureaucrats to search for “multiculturalism AND outreach, strategy, contracts, consultant”; all content related to Bahia, Nuguid, Woo and Chow; any and all records associated with community liaison tendering; communications plans on ethnic media; decision and briefing notes, Treasury Board and financial documentation consistent with the keywords; and any documentation on the Draft Multiculturalism Strategic Outreach plan. …. The Tyee”
A couple of days ago, Vaughn opined online in the Vancouver Sun that the referral to Bob Plecas of the scandal in the Ministry of Children and Families is a good move. It will avoid the mistakes of the hasty health firings. http://www.canada.com/news/metro/Vaughn+Palmer+Liberals+take+considered+approach+with+review/11247142/story.html
But isn’t it completely redundant? And isn’t Plecas really an insider, not an outsider, in the following sense? Plecas has worked as an appointee at the highest level under various governments, some left, some right.
What high level political appointees like Plecas do, is advise, and help clean up messes for their less capable and less experienced bosses (in this case Stephanie Cadieux).
There are problems with this appointment. Here are a few, but before reading further, consider that the court’s finding is that children were abused over a couple of years due to the MCFD workers disputing the judges previous finding that there was risk of abuse, due to MCFD misleading police, and ignoring an existing court order to enforce supervised visits only for the father:
1) Plecas will have no power to subpoena or force testimony
2) Plecas will be reviewing policy and practice, not fault finding. If what I noted in the last paragraph constitutes policy and practice, that would be evil. I don’t believe it for a minute. So what’s the point?
3) Plecas has a daughter who is an ADM in an unrelated Ministry. Like Marcia McNeill, who, it’s been reported, is married to an OIC appointee within government, this does not presume bias, but it adds to an atmosphere of “insider-ism”. Never mind, Plecas has been on the inside of government so much it hardly matters. Norman Spector was kind enough to expand on this, pointing out there is also a grandfatherly relationship more distant , with John Horgan’s Chief of Staff’s kids.
Add to this donations to BCLiberals (and a smaller amount to NDP) plus Darryl Plecas’ campaign. (Note: Darryl is not related . I was unsure in first writing and should have left that out) Links are in the comment from NVG below. I’m admittedly cranky about this stuff. Victoria is a small city. Sometimes it’s too small. If I make too much of it in anyone’s opinion, I accept that judgement.
4) Anything Plecas does is redundant to what the Representative for Children and Youth is already mandated to do. Mary Ellen-Turpond is the right person to review this. Otherwise, why have statutory watchdogs at all?
Former West Van School Trustee Reema Faris took issue on twitter with Palmers defense of the Plecas review here. I agree with all her points:
Oh, and the title above? Well, I compliment Palmer for rare disclosure in his July 24th piece that Plecas is indeed a friend (below). But I can’t help thinking that the leading figures in our Press Gallery have been around nearly as long as Plecas. And I believe that’s a serious problem. Because long-standing relationships that develop between journalists and politicians or civil servants appear to lead to an affection for the status quo.
Experience is a double-edged sword