Monday, August 31, 2009

Secure Care was Dead Long Ago: More MCFD Waste

It's too bad when MCFD was reasoning out why they wanted to waste so much money on accreditation that they didn't factor in upholding their actual mandate of protecting and supporting at-risk children, youth and families with their plan to spend millions on "maximizing the quality of the service delivered on its behalf to the public." More wasted taxpayer funds while the system crumbled around the Empresses of MCFD who didn't know, or care what's been happening to the kids. How many years in and how many millions spent? Taxpayers deserve an answer to those questions.


Comments for Public Eye Online, see stories below:

Ms. Sowden hit the nail on the head - this is a matter of great expense. When the BC Liberals came into government in 2001, the Secure Care Act was scrapped. It will cost millions to create the infrastructure for such a program and the money would be much better spent actually funding a functional, ethical and responsible child & youth welfare system. The BC Liberals don't want to do that and they definitely aren't going to move forward right now sinking millions into this.

Within MCFD, they are very quietly scrapping programs which have cost taxpayers millions of dollars. A specific example of this waste and monumental mismanagement of taxpayer funds is the current move to stop accreditation. This money will never be recouped and has essentially been flushed down the toilet by the clowns in charge. Think lots of nice catered lunches, at fancy hotels and money poured into an American accreditation agency for absolutely nothing.

They're also preparing to slash even more frontline jobs and make practice changes that are going to further diminish the capacity of the child welfare system to protect children, they gave up long ago even pretending to care about, or protect youth. Look for even more pain ahead for BC's young people and their battered families.

Most of us will thankfully never know the pain and heartbreak of watching helplessly as our child becomes addicted, getting sucked into the underworld, the street, getting sexually exploited and losing their innocence, becoming one of "those people" you see on the 6'o clock news. Those parents and family members who have been through it find out quickly that the government will not lift a finger to help. You get what you vote for. Remember that next time.

Listen and learn

Earlier this month, Public Eye reported the provincial government could introduce legislation allowing authorities to detain at-risk youths against their will. But the Liberals gave no indication they might pass such a law during the election campaign. When asked by the Children of the Streets Society whether their party would "advocate and assist in the development of regulations, policies and procedures to implement a Secure Care Act," the Liberals stated they would be "prepared to listen" to the group's "perspective on this issue."

Ministry of Children and Family Development Accreditation Policy (revised August 2006)

The Ministry of Children and Family Development (the ministry) is committed to maximizing the quality of the services delivered on its behalf to the public. Accreditation indicates that the accredited organization has achieved an appropriate level of organizational competence and that it has reliable mechanisms in operation to continually improve the quality of its service delivery.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Playbook to the BC Liberal Plan for Destroying BC?

To the victor belong the spoils.

- New York Senator William L. Marcy

To the vanquished goes the suffering.

Spoils System

In the USA, the granting of offices and favours among the supporters of a party in office. The spoils system, a type of patronage, was used by President Jackson in the 1830s in particular, and by Republican administrations after the Civil War. The practice remained common in the 20th century in US local government.

The term is derived from a speech after an election victory by Democratic Senator William Marcy: ‘To the victor belong the spoils of the enemy.’


Comment to Paul Willcocks story:

No, Gordon Campbell has not lost his mind

Disaster capitalism at its core. The purposeful collusion of parties to construct as much public disorder as possible in order to ram through the biggest gutting of a society, aka OUR province, as demonically possible.

"how do you assess a premier who defines climate change as an enormous threat to mankind, then loses interest within 24 months?"

A fake, opportunist, political hack, flaky, self-interested, well-managed? I could go on...

BC Liberals Suck

P.S. You can’t lose something you never had.

Taking their cue from a Kiwi, the Liberals have embarked on a tidal wave of change so mighty that opponents won't be able to keep their heads above water
Paul Willcocks, Vancouver Sun. Wed Jun 20 2001.


Mr. Douglas' book Unfinished Business, popular in Liberal circles.

The real insight into the Liberals' tactics comes in Chapter 10, which offers a battle plan for small-government reformers. Douglas outlines 10 principles for successfully pushing through radical change in a way that overwhelms opponents.

[Ed. Ummmm, would that be US, the CITIZENS of BC?]

"first principle is that for quality policies, you need quality people...

"Implement reform in quantum leaps, using large packages,'' advises Douglas in his second commandment.

His third is just as dramatic: ``Speed is essential,'' he writes. ``It is almost impossible to go too fast.''

Incremental reforms, especially unpopular ones, leave groups within society feeling unfairly treated. If everyone is being affected at once, at least they can't complain of being singled out.

Rapid changes also allow governments to link both the positive and negative aspects of reform.

``Do not try to advance a step at a time,'' Mr. Douglas writes. ``Define your objectives clearly and move towards them in quantum leaps. Otherwise the interest groups will have time to mobilize and drag you down.''

``One you build the momentum, don't let it stop rolling,'' Douglas counsels.

Monday, August 17, 2009

BC Liberal Spin Machine: Party of One

"To say that these centres are not receiving adequate service funding from the province is irresponsible and not true. We all have the best interests of the province's children at heart and our success is demonstrated in the leadership we have shown."

Mary Polak, minister, Children and Family Development

Oh Mary, Mary, Mary, the spin machine can't help you explain this away. There isn't a soul alive in BC who isn't aware of the "leadership" the BC Liberals have demonstrated re: the best interests of the province's children, who are firmly in the parties' cold, dead hearts, of course.

isn't exactly the way most of us would describe it and maybe before you start throwing around words like "irresponsible" and accusing stakeholders of not telling the truth about the adequacy of funding you better find out what the truth is, or stand accused yourself. So soon into your new post and you're already doing your own credibility and integrity a disservice, you don't even need the DM for that, although I'm sure she'll be there help.

Let's review some of the "successes," shall we, I know it's hard to get up to speed when you take on a new portfolio, especially when you have the likes of what you have to work with in MCFD doing the briefing. Seems a bit of a political career killer that gig, just ask your predecessors.

BC has led child poverty for 6 years in a row in all of Canada. And guess what, that probably doesn't even capture all of the Aboriginal children who live in third world conditions on BC's reserves.

Under BC Liberal leadership and the cluster bomb that is Community Living BC, thousands and thousands of developmentally disabled, adults and their families have been hung out to dry and forced to sit on waitlists for services they desperately need.

As the Representative for Children & Youth found in one of her reports, BC's foster children, a la BC Liberals, are more likely to graduate to jail than graduate from high school. Way to go.

Kids, Crime and Care: Youth Justice Experiences and Outcomes.

In BC, children and youth with mental health issues, including children, yes children who are suicidal and those who have been sexually abused, raped, had incest committed against them,
will often wait months and months for any type of counseling, if they ever even receive it
. Now that is leadership.

Housing, Help and Hope: A Better Path for Struggling Families.

Representative for Children & Youth.

A struggling young family needed short-term housing assistance so their baby could be safe, but instead the child was taken into government care. A Representative for Children and Youth investigation into a First Nations baby’s critical injury finds that many of the systemic factors that played a major role in the infant’s removal from his parents still exist today.

Child care has not fared better under this administration, the one that introduced such a complicated child care subsidy form it was more complex than applying for a passport.

UBC prof gives four reasons B.C. isn’t delivering childcare

BC Government makes cuts to child care - TAKE ACTION!

BC government should heed its own report on childcare

Expanded Early Learning in British Columbia for Children Age Three to Five

Early Childhood Learning Agency

Cuts to scholarship awards to BC's hardworking young people AFTER they've applied and worked their butts off. Classy. NOT. Who cares, they don't vote yet anyways, eh?

A sleazy attack on some of B.C.'s best kids

Paul Willcocks, Paying Attention.


Children best investment for future
With respect to the Trafalgar daycare, important details have been overlooked. Prior to the eviction notice given to Trafalgar by the Vancouver School Board for seismic upgrades, the ministry provided Trafalgar with $500,000 in major capital funding to create new childcare spaces within their neighbourhood.

Read more here if you can stomach it.

Children best investment for future

Vancouver Courier

Published: Friday, August 14, 2009

To the editor:

Thank you Tom Sandborn for outlining the current crisis in the lives of some of the most vulnerable families in this city and Strathcona area.

The combined bureaucratic responses from both Premier Gordon Campbell, coupled with the denial by Mary Polak, minister of Children and Family Development, that the dropping of three early childhood development workers from the Ray Cam Community Co-operative staff does not constitute a cut in service, are nothing short of disgraceful.

Noel Herron,


BC Government makes cuts to child care - TAKE ACTION!

Coalition of Childcare Advocates of BC. August 2009

The provincial government once again signaled its lack of support
for parents who need child care in order to hold jobs and go to school.

The August 2009 cut comes to the small grants that child care centres use
for basic safety and quality repairs. It is one more example of a provincial
government that seems determined to dismantle and destabilize already
fragile daycare in BC.

Without these Minor Capital Grants, child care centres will have no choice
but to raise parent fees again - just to cover the costs of meeting
provincial licensing requirements for health, safety and quality standards.

With no warning, the small, but significant repair grants, were cut from a
maximum of $5,000 a year to $2,000 a year.

We encourage you to email Premier Campbell at to say his government must invest in a child care system - and to start by reversing this cut.

E-mail Minister Mary Polak and let her know the truth about leadership of her government for BC's kids:

Phone: 604 514-8206 or 250 387-9699

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Criminalization of Poverty: Part 25

“The true measure of whether we live in a just society is not how much we talk about protecting the poor and the weak, but rather what actions we take to ensure it," said association president Robert Holmes.

“It is clear that we are doing less and less to protect the weakest members of society and that we are eroding justice as a fundamental value."

- Robert Holmes, Trial Lawyers of BC

We have to be asking ourselves at this point, can we, as a society, afford to have the BC Liberals in office anymore? For several long, devastating years I've been elaborating (some might saying ranting) on these pages about the small and large abuses of the public trust, about the erosion of the social contract and safety net in BC. It gets tiring, believe me.

Now comes word of the BC government's latest plan to marginalize and dump people into the abyss - more cuts to legal aid, particularly poverty law.
We don't even know what else is on the chopping block. I guess it's too much to ask that the vulnerable, the indigent, the disenfranchised and the multi-generational socially excluded victims of failed government policies and practices retain at least some civil and human rights.

Is there really such a thing as having too many civil and human rights?
I didn't think so, but apparently I'm wrong, our esteemed government and government appointees think it's time to cut them back some more. How timely, heading into the Olympics.
Hmmm, sensing a theme here. Cut here, snip there, slash under here.

Why soon we won't even remember when we had those lovely social and public services and rights, they will be a mere figment of memory buried in the gray matter in the back of our chipped heads. Lucky us. But of course, it's easiest to start with the poor, they don't matter anyways, right BC Liberals?

It's really just so damn bad that the brain trust running this show is not looking at what's happening in the UK and France with the generation of YOB's they've been raising and the public disorder that's been fomented there with many of these same neoConservative strategies.
Seems to me, here in Beautiful BC, the administration has done everything they could over the last 9 years to create chaos and public disorder as well, as they get out of the work of serving the public good. Most people are removed from it, but it's reaching it's tentacles out to more and more of us.
Be very, very afraid of what will come of this.

"... according to an internal memo by society executive director Mark Benton, a higher-than-projected provincial deficit could threaten the agency's government funding for fiscal 2010/11, which was forecasted to be $68.5 million." (Public Eye Online).

Welcome back Mr. Christensen, I guess the family didn't need to spend that much time with you, eh? You ain't no dummy, exit stage right, time to get the hell outta MCFD.

"First, I would like to welcome one new board member. On Friday, the Law Society appointed Tom Christensen, the former Minister of Children and Family Development, who is returning to legal practice after several years in the Legislature..." (Mark Benton, July 16, 2009).

Tom Christensen becomes seventh Liberal cabinet minister not seeking ...

Hitting the poverty line
Public Eye Online. August 12 2009.

British Columbia's poor might soon have a tougher time getting free legal aid for their day-to-day struggles. Public Eye has exclusively learned the province's legal services society may have to shutdown its poverty law programs next year. The reason: according to an internal memo by society executive director Mark Benton, a higher-than-projected provincial deficit could threaten the agency's government funding for fiscal 2010/11, which was forecasted to be $68.5 million.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Who Needs Health Care Anyways: The Scurrying Continues

You just gotta know that something Wicked this way comes when so many well-paid, well-fed BC Liberal appointed Health Authority CEO's have left their positions in the last six months. I'm smelling rats fleeing rapidly sinking ships. These are people who have collected hundreds of thousands in salary, bonuses, perks etc. while carrying out the mandate of their masters to help the privatization ideology continue on unchecked within each region, slashing health care services and accessibility for most of us.

So, they privatized food and janitorial services. For years now, there have been reports of lower standards and even substandard cleanliness in hospitals, in care homes, inedible, microwaved food. Laundry sent to Alberta, rather than having workers in BC doing the work and spending income earned in their local communities.

More recently they've contracted out and privatized the supply chain for the Health Authorities. Sounds logical, you order in bulk, get a better price. Let's see the contract with Shared Services to see if the taxpayers are really getting a better deal. Oops, sorry, that's not going to be made public.

Anyone with half a brain left, the other half was of course neutralized to work for the BC Liberals, knows that now with the oh-so-Honourable Kevin Falcon at the helm of MOH that he is going to put the HELL in HELLTHcare like no Minister ever has.

A lot of harm was done under Abbott (and did anyone notice the toll it took on Abbott's visage over the years, that man AGED years while on this file), but you didn't get the sense that he was an uncaring, vicious and bloodthirsty Campbellite, rising up the ranks. Not so the new guy, he has earned his stripes and will continue to snap at his Main Man's heels like one of those yappy dogs you just want to kick so it will shut up.

He's been put in charge of the biggest, most funded and most important portfolio in government and he is good at following orders, no matter what. We're all dealing with the legacy of his work in Transportation. Hell, his own administration and fellow Cabinet Minister, Shirley Bond, are now doing audits of both BC Ferries and Translink to see how much they're soaking taxpayers and where "efficiencies" can be made after his time there, we should all be cringing about what he'll do to health care now.

Suggestion - start axing the most top-heavy government in BC history. Thre is so much dead and useless wood in each Ministry we could burn the government down with one carelessly thrown butt out the window. Slash executive salaries, if they don't like it, quit and leave. And then hire people who know what they're doing and are invested in providing the best services possible to the people of BC.

In what could only be described as some sort of Kafka-esque nightmare oligarchy, while ordering Health Authorities to make cuts, find "efficiencies" which can and will include cuts to frontline health care services and continuing to diminish health care in general, the braintrust in the BC government has also increased executive salaries for CEO's of the Health Authorities. It's hard not to sometimes feel like we're like Alice and we've fallen down the hole into a surreal world where bandits and thieves make off like Queens and Kings with our hard-earned money time and time again.

Watch for more privatization and less Healthcare down the road around BC, as services get downgraded in more communities.
People live in pain on waiting lists and watch loved ones go downhill, unable to access services that make a difference in their lives.

Ask yourself this - do you want to be American? Because this administration and the Shadows behind them want to destroy BC's health care system so it can be turned into the horrific American-style FOR PROFIT medical and health care system. If you haven't seen Michael Moore's Sicko, take a gander at it and take a good hard look at BC's future at the BC Liberals hands.


B.C. Public Sector Executive Compensation Disclosure
For the 2008/09 Fiscal year

Fraser Health Authority:
Murray, Dr. Nigel; President & CEO - Base salary - $348,660; Total Compensation: $4 66,176

Interior Health Authority:
Murray Ramsden - Chief Executive Officer - Base: $356,985; Total Compensation: $398,409

Northern Health Authority:
Catherine Ulrich - President & CEO - Base: $265,000; Total Compensation: $302,904

Provincial Health Authority:
Lynda Cranston - President & CEO - Base: $357,391; Total Compensation: $447,045

Vancouver Coastal Health Authority:
Ida Goodreau - CEO - Base: $305,845; Total Compensation: $417,197

Vancouver Island Health Authority:
Howard Waldner President & CEO - Base: $323,341; Total Compensation: $414,657

BC Government Salaries for Top Executive on the Rise
CBC News. June 29 2009.

The B.C. government is paying out more money to top executives, according to figures released by the province Monday.
  • Ida Goodreau, former CEO of Vancouver Coastal Health, $366,621.
  • Dr. Nigel Murray, CEO of Fraser Health $466,176.
Fraser Health Authority finally decides on CEO

After a 30-month vacancy, Dr. Nigel Murray, a physician and health administrator from New Zealand, has filled the key position of president and CEO for the largest health region in the province.

Last fall, Keith Anderson, who has been the interim Fraser Health CEO since the firing of Bob Smith [Ed. Former CEO of FHA] in March 2005, announced he pulled his name out of the running to take over the position on a permanent basis. Anderson, who would not reveal why he took his name off the candidate list, agreed to continue to act as the interim CEO until a replacement was named.

Vancouver Coastal Health president resigns to take new job
Pamela Fayerman, Vancouver Sun. January 19, 2009.


Ida Goodreau, who has led Vancouver Coastal Health Authority for more than six years, is resigning at the end of next month to return to the private sector.

Health industry stakeholders have been speculating for months about Goodreau’s future as a result of an accumulated $100-million health region deficit, but she said there was no government pressure to leave.

“As to the deficit, we have been working with government to bring that down and we have managed to reduce the amount every year, from about $44 million three years ago to a current level of about $25 to $30 million.”

VIHA Chief Operations Officer Leaving for Alberta

Mike Conroy's resignation follows departure of two other managers

Rob Shaw, Times Colonist. May 31, 2009.


Conroy's departure adds to a period of instability in the leadership of the health authority, which runs hospitals, health centres and care facilities across Vancouver Island.

VIHA lost two other managers in the past few weeks -- Heather Cook, director of residential services, and Lynda Foley, director of home and community care, have both taken jobs with the Fraser Health Authority, said VIHA spokeswoman Shannon Marshall.

CEO Howard Waldner announced in late April he was leaving for a job in Wales, but then opted to remain on Vancouver Island.


Vancouver Island Health Authority Scrambles to Cut Costs
Lindsay Kines, Times Colonist. June 24, 2009.


Howard Waldner, president and chief executive officer, said in a message to all staff this week that VIHA faces the same financial pressures as health authorities across the province.

"We're simply not able to meet all the demands that we have."

He said the deficit would be similar to a 3.5 per cent shortfall projected for B.C.'s health authorities generally. On VIHA's anticipated budget of $1.6 billion to $1.7 billion, that would create a shortfall of between $50 million and $60 million.

NDP Misleading Public on Health Care Cuts
CBC. July 28, 2009.

[Ed. That would be misleading the public with FHA's own documents.]

Dix released internal documents that say the Fraser Health Authority is considering deep cuts to make up for a $160-million deficit by closing 5½ operating rooms, downgrading the emergency room at Mission Memorial Hospital, closing diabetes programs in Delta and Mission and cutting 200 acute care beds.

Dix said the documents are evidence the B.C. Liberal government knew about the looming deficits before last May's provincial election. Following the election, Health Minister Kevin Falcon told the province's regional health authorities they would have to cut an estimated $360 million in spending plans to stick within their budgets for the year.

The current B.C. health-care budget of about $15.7 billion is expected to climb by more than $2 billion by 2011, an increase of 87 per cent since 2001, according to ministry officials.


Interior Health CEO Stepping Down
CBC. August 8, 2009.

The head of B.C.'s Interior Health Authority will step down at the end of the year, but the chairman of its board of directors says Murray Ramsden's departure is not connected with the authority's financial problems.