Purposeful Evasion of Accountability at MCFD

RIP Nick Lang.. This one is for his parents, Peter and Linda. They want to be part of the solution.

Whoever forms the new government, this needs to be fixed. I’ve been on a tear for two years now about the myriad ways the Clark cabal evades true accountability…. Busted for triple delete? Change the law (May 2015) so that the Offenses Act no longer applies just before George Gretes is charged for perjury.. Health Firings? Delay. Order endless reviews. Never say who or why.

Peter Lang  is involved in a lawsuit over his son’s death vs the Ministry of Children and Familes… Peter and Linda gave up their son to get him into badly needed drug rehab. Attendance at the court ordered program was part of Nick’s probation conditions. That effort failed when multiple lines of communication broke down. Nick Lang took his own life.

Peter posted information this morning confirmed through an internal source indicating  that far from learning the lessons from Nick’s death, the Ministry proceeded down a path of making sure accountability for negligence would be further out of reach in future. Here is what he wrote. Bold emphasis is mine where included.

Many of you know our story, losing our son Nick Lang, due to poor communication and utter negligence by the Youth Probation Officer (YPD) and MCFD. The second anniversary of Nick’s death is fast approaching and  want to share how MCFD has become more secretive  since Nick’s death.

Nick fell through the cracks because of gaps in communication starting with Court and finishing with the YPO / MCFD.

Some examples: a) Judge was NEVER told our son was indigenous. b) YPO  wouldn’t use email to communicate with us, just texts. I would text and not receive a reply for hours, sometimes days. c) Nick’s mom phoned the YPO and left messages and never received a return call for days. d) The (treatment) program staff were never told of Nick’s suicide threat.

When the MCFD internal investigation was being done, the YPO tried to claim I didn’t share important medical info. My saved text messages showed the YPO and I discussing that exact document. He was caught in a lie but thank God I had those messages saved. There was no plausible deniability anymore.

It was immediately after this that MCFD brought down the edict FORBIDDING text messages about Youth clients to parents and guardians. Emails were already verboten. Phone calls, or face to face discussions now being the only way (if you are lucky) of asking questions, reporting concerns, etc.

MCFD’s ONLY aim is to minimize the chance of being caught in a vulnerable position when the next child dies. They have built in the plausible deniability when it happens again.

BCLibs have never been open and honest in their communications to citizens. It’s always been “Lie, Deny, Delete” and that culture has permeated ALL Ministries, including MCFD. Simply put, they are putting our Youth at higher risk of harm and death with this “no paper trail” policy. This is why we fight. RIP Nick Lang.

The fight to change the hyper-partisan culture within the political branches of government must take place whatever new government forms.. The fact it has got to this state where a Ministry response to a child’s death is actively reducing accountability and eliminating paper trails calls for urgent review wherever this pattern is manifest in the civil service.

Lastly, it’s a damned shame Peter Lang and Linda Tenpas need to drag MCFD into court to be part of the solution.

 

If Dams Are Built in the Forest

Past and future.. We are in between This blog began as an attempt to hold what I perceive to be a biased pro-corporate media accountable. More and more, it became less that and more a running critique of Clark’s government. For this post I want to return to the root.

This hiatus as BC awaits the true results of Election 2017 feels like the beginning of a new book…. I’m not going to speculate on the shape of the new government here, or who the Greens will help or hinder. What I will do is call for the amplification of buried and lost news, and more than that, amplification of voices who advocate and activate for a good purpose.

Politicians, media, partisans, ordinary people, bloggers..Big news sources, small independents. Like the old book, we will all write it together. Most of all…those who stand up for something just and for the broader public good will need amplification to compete with the noise. Many of the voices.. bloggers, activist groups, will be different.. Where they are honestly trying to achieve some balance they need your help.

Put simply, it’s not that there is too little for Global BC or the older denizens of the Press Gallery to criticize in the way Clark’s 100% power minority has operated in the  past four years. There is far too much.. but so many stories don’t reach public consciousness… One example I refer to in the title. Read the link.

https://www.desmog.ca/2017/05/03/dam-big-problem-fracking-companies-build-dozens-unauthorized-dams-b-c-s-northeast

The story here is of Progress Energy (subsidiary of Malaysian state owned Petronas) building large dams (16 of them) around the northeast. Progress has done this over years without any permitting, inspection, or environmental review.

But because the source is Desmog.ca , only bubble-wrapped readers of Desmog.ca know about it. I use the term bubble-wrapped in a non-pejorative sense.

If we are tuned in to politics, or related subjects , a bubble forms. When the Press Gallery sips bad coffee watching Question Period on a monitor in a basement room of the legislature together, a bubble forms.

Desmog, Dogwood, CommonSense Canadian…environmental or activist education and childcare groups. These all get dismissed by attacking the source instead of the information contained. In a way, this contains the bubble at a safe distance from the centre of power. To be fair, I tend to dismiss the Fraser Institute and view with deep suspicion anything from the Canadian Taxpayer’s Federation. I’m sure I have company.

But when large media ignore significant stories because of the source, it damages governance. Mary Polak to my knowledge hasn’t been asked on CTV or CBC or Global what she’s going to do about these dams nobody monitored tested or even knew about. To push the case to the limit, a foreign government owned company has been operating lawlessly in our forests. It should matter…I could list many other examples.

But one thing about certain members of the Press Gallery that’s consistent is  a disdain for anything left wing and especially a disdain for activism.

When I began being a social media pain in the ass, I was called an egomaniacal nobody by a prominent TV personality. In the middle of Victoria’s Tent City crisis, I engaged with Tom Fletcher of Black Press about the homeless …He tweeted at me (yes, a joke in poor taste at best) “The important thing is not to feed them”.

At the beginning of the Triple Delete scandal we were assured by Les Leyne and others that it was all “inside baseball” and no one cared.

At one of the many peaks of crisis in the MCFD over deaths of children in care we were assured by Vaughn Palmer that Bob Plecas would soon set things to rights. Does anyone think that’s happened?

In a few days we will have a new government beginning to take shape. If it’s a left coalition of any description the investigative skills of many in the corporate media will reawaken. Mark my words. And that’s not wrong in itself. Government should be under pressure.

But where have you been??

What I really want to do here is encourage anyone who reads this post to do a few things:

a: Read widely. Sourced factual news is everywhere . So is fake news. You’re smart enough to discriminate.

b: Don’t think your voice doesn’t matter… I’m proud of this blog, (though I’m probably more aware of it’s faults than anyone. I’m not the most technically proficient blogger)…. I’m proud though, not because I’m read by more than a few thousand at the best of times. I’m proud because of who reads…Politicians, journalists, activists and other voices I so respect.

c: If you have an issue in your community that needs to be raised, don’t underestimate the power of your voice. Collective is stronger than individual it’s true, but don’t underestimate an honest, fair, public minded raised voice. It’s powerful.

d: Share the good stuff….Don’t assume because you learned about these unauthorized dams in the wilderness today that anyone else did. Many things I’ve learned from small sources deserve to be front page news. Amplify.

The unknowns of the new reality in BC are enormous. The new government will have an extremely difficult job, but the election result guaranteed one thing. The vice grip of the BCLiberals has been broken. Even if they gain one more seat they will no longer have a blank cheque to do whatever they or their donors want without regard for consequences.

That’s huge. How media covers the new reality will be fascinating. Enjoy the ride. I will.

 

 

 

 

What Now? Post Election Thoughts

Cash for Access is what it’s all about.

Did you see the mood at BCLiberal HQ on election night as late results rolled in painting Surrey and Burnaby Orange? Did you see Andrew Wilkinson, ashen faced?

Yes, Vaughn Palmer nailed it.. Christy Clark lost on Tuesday night. The high contrast between celebrations at NDP and Green Venues and the quiet shock and murmured conversations at the Liberal venue said it all… And Vaughn mused about what was in the thoughts of the attendees. “I paid $10,000 a plate for this?”.

Did you see Press Secretary Stephen Smart putting out the absurd line that because Clark had supported no brainer popular moves on high heels in the workplace… that somehow translated into common ground with the Greens and room for cooperation on far larger issues (hello..Kinder Morgan, LNG, Campaign Reform, )?

A story: back before the official campaign began, Clark’s cabal was hosting a cash for access private dinner in the Okanagan.. Some of us want to know who is at these things. We want to know what is tacitly or overtly promised. One reporter tried to get pictures, but failed as the diners were driven to the event in a blacked out van. I don’t think rubber chicken was on the menu.

Think about our press. Without Kathy Tomlinson of the Globe and Mail we wouldn’t know the slightest about shadow flips in Real Estate. Further, there would be no federal RCMP investigation into lobbyist donations. Kathy is recently from Toronto and works paid from there.

Now think about the blacked out van and imagine Trudeau, or Harper, or Notley inside it driving with a half dozen cash rich donors to a secret location. The story was ignored here. What would the press do on any other stage?

Well… whatever chaos ensues from recounts and absentee ballots. That is over.  Horgan and Weaver will find a way to end it.

We have an unstable government of some sort for the next year or more and we don’t know how it will configure, but ending Pay to Play starts now.

To Mr. Horgan and Dr Weaver… great campaigns… Dr Weaver accomplished the end of the vote-split argument.. The Green vote thought about it, stuck with their choice and grew..

John Horgan identified who was primarily disenchanted with a government that had shifted costs from the wealthy to the average. He identified the swing seats where home ownership for the kids is beyond a pipe dream now. He worked them, and broke the grip of those who paid  $10K for dinner because they expected the BCLiberals to deliver exactly the high quality dinner you expect on a gravy train.

Note: My last post was sharply critical of Weaver flirting with the Liberals.. I no longer believe he has any option given his caucus and the Green Base but to work with Horgan… I continue to find some of the things he said disturbing, but events……

The Last Post (of this election cycle )

It’s almost exactly two years since I began building this blog, and before I get to my thoughts on Tuesday’s election, some thanks are due. If I tried to list everyone who has been kind I would fail to remember someone so I won’t. But particularly I want to thank Norm Farrell, Laila Yuile, RossK and Bob Mackin for both their desire to help and their efforts on behalf of a better BC. (I put that in small caps because I don’t mean to confuse it with a political slogan). Huge thanks also to the thousands who have read and shared my musings and those who have commented in the threads. I will try and keep my election thoughts brief and to the point

I have always been NDP leaning as a voter. To disguise that would be disingenuous. I hope for an NDP majority on Tuesday. But above party principles, I place the public interest. Integrity. Honesty. A reasonable degree of open-ness. I don’t believe these things are too much to ask of any government. I will ask for these things from an NDP government if Horgan wins, and I expect them.

But I also won’t disguise the fact that having been redistributed into Andrew Weaver’s riding recently, I considered an “Anybody But Christy” vote. Andrew lost my vote, and here’s why.

On Twitter he has been unhinged frankly. Given to rude and dismissive arguments… I first noticed it over a year ago when NDP MLA Doug Routley would engage him. Neither of them looked good, and I was glad when Routley stopped.

More recently though Weaver has engaged critics personally with deplorable lack of grace and tact… Not constantly I admit. But there was one unforgivable line to an opponent, no matter the context..Weaver asked this person.. “Have you ever had a job?”. I can’t vote for that.

The larger question though has been more or less answered. My strong sense is that Weaver would prefer to prop up Clark and the Liberals in a minority situation.. He denies and deflects the question, but he didn’t mind telling Keith Baldrey at length last night how he preferred Christy Clark as a person to deal with. He didn’t mind telling Keith how Horgan “got mad at him”.

To prop up Christy Clark would be to prop up the party of triple delete, the party of the Health Firings scandal, the Basi Virk plea purchase, the party of LNG fabrications, the party of cash for access unlimited…. the party of environmental abdication and deregulation, of Mt Polley..

In other words, for Weaver to not clearly state that he will not support Clark is an admission that he might betray every principle I thought was Green.

We know Andrew Weaver is not forming government… I mean, the polls are close between the BCLiberals and the NDP, but the Greens miracle hallelujah result would be four seats and official party status and the chance to be king or queen-maker. It may happen, but in a situation where one percent of the popular vote could swing five seats, it’s a narrow target.

The third reason to not vote as “Anybody but Christy” and put an X beside Dr. Weaver was the dismal lack of solid riding specific polling. He’s almost certainly going to be returned to the legislature but both Bryce Casavant and the BCLiberal challenger have considerable support evident in the region.

Other ridings are even closer… Eric Grenier of 308 has only two seats as even “leaning Green”. Those are OBGH, my riding, and Saanich North. Two. To be fair, five days out from May 2013, every polling effort, including Grenier’s was way off, but that proves my point.

An ABC vote is not worth the cogitation required because this election is down to the energy of volunteers now and the “Get Out the Vote” machinery…. To my mind, the workers for all three campaign are sufficiently energized to put out their best effort.

So I’m asking the undecided to think about it… When it comes to the ethical and legal failures I’ve spent the last two years blogging about, no informed voter can possibly accept the BCLiberal record. But the time for me to recount it all and complain of mainstream media laziness in some quarters (not all) ?? That’s over.

The fact the BCLiberals are close to being returned is evidence of a real right-wing and centre right natural leaning of the province.

But consider the NDP…On day one of a Horgan mandate, you get the end of donor dollars unduly influencing government policy to the detriment of 98% of us… You get the end of the Wild West not only of political donations, but also defunding of public education and the Wild West of environmental pillage with shockingly reduced returns to the public treasury..

As soon as big money, corporate AND union donation end, we get a start to a government in which need, and the greatest benefit to the public as a whole dictates public decision making. We get a start to having wide concerns about public accountability listened to and not dismissed.

There… that’s done. I’m not done. Whatever the result next week, I will blog as needed when something I feel is wrong with government. I will agree on policy more often if Horgan wins, so I may get a bit quiet in such as case… But I promise integrity and accountability will remain my top concerns….

Think. Vote. Get others to the polls if you can.

I dedicate this post to Rod MacIsaac, and separately to Nick Lang, Alex Gervais, and all of the other 100s of kids who have died in government care..And their families.