In a shocking display of negligence and systemic failure, Minister Mitzi Dean and the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) have once again failed vulnerable children in British Columbia. What’s even more astounding is that Premier David Eby continues to turn a blind eye to the complete lack of leadership and oversight exhibited by his minister.
During the recent criminal case involving two Indigenous children in the Fraser Valley, one of whom tragically lost their life, Minister Dean and the NDP government have demonstrated a total disregard for accountability. Disturbing evidence presented in court highlighted the ministry’s astonishing failure to check on these children for a period of seven months.
The First Nations Leadership Council has rightly called for Minister Dean’s resignation, emphasizing her inadequate response to this tragedy, which has been described by court as “evil and inhumane.” Moreover, the investigation led by B.C.’s Representative for Children and Youth, Jennifer Charlesworth, should serve as a catalyst for a comprehensive review of all child protection and guardianship policies concerning First Nations children.
This tragic incident is not an isolated occurrence but rather a symptom of a deeply flawed operation of MCFD under the leadership of Minister Dean. Let’s not forget, this is the same minister and ministry that heartlessly put forward the callous policy to end direct funding for children with autism, despite months of protests by parents and experts with direct experience in this field.
The failures of Minister Dean and the NDP government have been further laid bare by this recent and deeply disturbing case of child abuse. The lives of vulnerable children have been jeopardized due to the absence of effective direction, coupled with a glaring lack of accountability.
Public trust has been shattered, and the time for empty promises is over. We need immediate action to rectify this distressing situation. Ensuring the safety and well-being of vulnerable children must become the top priority for the government. Minister Dean must step down, taking responsibility for the catastrophic failures under her watch.
Karin Kirkpatrick is BC United MLA for West Vancouver-Capilano, and Shadow Minister for Housing, Childcare, Autism & Accessibility, Gender Equity & Inclusion.