CALGARY, AB (December 9, 2013): Newly appointed Human Services Minister Manmeet Bhullar must ensure children in government care, and the 89 children that tragically died in government care only to be forgotten and not even publicly reported, don’t get lost as a result of the cabinet shuffle, Wildrose Human Services Critic Jeff Wilson said today. Premier Alison Redford attempted to shake some cobwebs off her faltering government with a major cabinet shuffle announced late on Friday, but has been unclear how removing Dave Hancock from Human Services will affect the fatal care roundtable in January.
“Although we trust Minister Bhullar has the very best of intentions, he has much to catch up on in this massive portfolio, over and above the very real problems in the child welfare system as exposed recently,” Wilson said. “We hope the new Minister agrees that in order for him to truly address the issues in children’s services he needs to fully understand every aspect of what is working and what is not. An MLA roundtable is simply not going to provide him with this critical information.” “This is why we continue to believe the best way to assure Albertans that this system is protecting the children and youth it serves is through a public inquiry.” The PC government has so far been steadfast in its refusal to conduct a full and open public inquiry to identify what steps can be taken to immediately improve the quality of care in the child welfare system. “I just hope the very real issues of publication bans on child deaths in care, not tracking recommendations from fatality inquiries, and not having a coordinated approach to reviewing all child deaths does not get lost in the shuffle,” Wilson said. “It would add to the tragedy for these injustices to be exposed and then overlooked and forgotten again.”