listened to the baloney
and thought about the distortions
introduced by words
wondered to myself
who the heck writes this stuff?
made a way out the bullshit
and into the truth
shaped the container well
out of desire
rushed through the articles
to place the pot in the fire
and when it was hard enough
I put the ashes there
the children burn
yes they burn in Alberta
and everyone in the GOA
stalls as if we are talking about fishes and loaves
split into fragments to feed the hungry
the doors open and they shut
in my head and I wonder at the duplicity of political hires
but this is a matter out of my control
I can only sit here
with the container of this poem
and the ashes of the children
I will lay them to rest in the forgiving river the river of fire
Opposition parties spurn government's child welfare panel
Published on: December 14, 2016 | Last Updated: December 14, 2016 8:04 AM MST
Opposition Leaders Unified
In a rare political move, Alberta’s opposition parties banded together Tuesday to boycott the government’s all-party ministerial panel investigating the child welfare system.
Such a committee was originally proposed to Premier Rachel Notley by interim Progressive Conservative Leader Ric McIver, after revelations about the death of four-year-old Serenity in kinship care and the mishandling of her autopsy report and case file.
The government agreed to set one up, but when it came to the table with a two-page draft proposal for a proposed all-party ministerial panel, McIver balked.
So too did the Wildrose, Liberal and Alberta parties, saying the panel proposed by embattled Human Services Minister Irfan Sabir had no teeth, would be held behind closed doors and would tread the same path worn by previous reviews.
McIver called it “a sham vehicle for a government bent on whitewashing the incompetence of at least two of its minsters.”
Opposition Leaders, left, Progressive Conservative Ric Mclver, Liberal David Swann, Alberta Party Greg Clark and Wildrose Brian Jean held a joint news conference on Tuesday Dec. 13, 2016 to boycott the government’s all-party ministerial panel on the child-death review process. ED KAISER
On Tuesday following question period, McIver filed into a media conference alongside Wildrose Leader Brian Jean, interim Liberal Leader David Swann, Alberta Leader Greg Clark and Wildrose house leader Nathan Cooper to outline the framework they want to see before they take part in any all-party panel.
They want the panel to oversee the implementation of recommendations from past child intervention system reviews, figure out the status of the internal reviews of the 38 children who have died in care since May 2015, hold the meetings in public, ensure there’s whistleblower protection for all front line workers and managers, and remove Sabir as a member so he can be questioned by the panel.
Opposition parties in Alberta aren’t known as the best of friends, but Jean said the fact all opposition party leaders were standing together on Tuesday pointed to their commitment to action.
Serenity died in 2014 after a traumatic head injury. When she arrived in hospital, she was covered in bruises, emaciated and suffering from hypothermia. The RCMP is investigating her death.
That was when the PCs were in power. McIver said his party is willing to be scrutinized about where it felt short when in government, just as the NDP should be.
“This is something we all feel strongly about,” he said. “We’re not playing politics.”
Deputy government house leader Deron Bilous said Tuesday some proposals put forward by the opposition parties have merit, but the government wants to give them due consideration before making a decision.
He will likely be in touch with the opposition parties Wednesday about their proposed framework.
No point in yet another law I guess for the NDPCs. This might be a reason why I don't see Samantha's Law up anywhere on the GOA website. The family friendly folks aren't so friendly to kids.
Notley nixes proposed Serenity's Law bill aimed at protecting children
BY EMMA GRANEY
FIRST POSTED: MONDAY, DECEMBER 12, 2016 05:20 PM MST | UPDATED: TUESDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2016 06:44 AM MST
Serenity, in a photo taken in February 2014, seven months before her death. By then, her arms were already skeletal, and she had cuts and bruises on her face.
A private member's bill tabled in the Legislative Assembly house Monday would have required adults to report to police any child who needs intervention, under the threat of six months in jail or a $10,000 fine.
Progressive Conservative MLA for Calgary-West Mike Ellis called his bill Serenity's Law.
Private member's bills make it into the assembly once a week, on a rotation according to party. Ellis' turn is more than a year away, so on Monday during question period, he called on the government to ask for unanimous consent to stay one more day in the house and pass legislation that can "start saving children’s lives immediately."
Premier Rachel Notley said while the idea was "exactly the kind of practical solution that could help close some of the gaps and loopholes" in the child intervention system, she expects that kind of proposal to come from the all-party panel announced last week.
In response, Ellis called on Notley to stop the house going into recess until the bill is passed.
"I cannot go home for Christmas knowing that more Serenitys are out there being victimized while we wait for a panel to start its work," he said.
Notley said the rules of democracy can't be thrown out of the window to ram a bill through the house in a single day at short notice, particularly when Ellis' party had 44 years to overhaul the broken child intervention system.
Ellis said Monday afternoon that it was insulting to hear his bill, which he called a "common-sense amendment", cast as political point scoring.
It proposed a simple amendment to Alberta's Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act, which already requires adults to inform "a director" if a child is in danger. The fine stands at $2,000.
Ellis' bill would have made it law to inform police and increase the maximum fine for not doing so to $10,000. This, he said, would avoid cases where adults know a child in care needs help, but do nothing.
"As an adult, I think we're not only morally obligated to help — I think there's a legal obligation," he said. "This would have been a minor change (with) a strong impact."
In an email, human services press secretary Aaron Manton said the public already has a strong moral and legal imperative to report suspected or witnessed abuse to child intervention staff. He said pushing that responsibility to police would load them with additional calls, delaying response times and efficiency.
"We want to work to spread awareness and information, so that people know and understand the signs of abuse, and know who to report their concerns to so they can be addressed quickly and effectively," he wrote.