#GOASPIN, #justiceforserenity, #PanelPolitics -listening to this panel complaining about secrecy feels surreal. Here I have been yapping for ages about the lack of information provision in Alberta under the PCs that is now even worse under the NDP and no one does anything about this junk. Worse than this we have the creators of the secrecy fortress--the PCs tell us that there is too much secrecy. What the heck? Is the government of Alberta unable to open the door of the house of democracy and let us in? You betcha.
'If they can't give the answer, then why are we here?': Culture of secrecy prompts outburst at child intervention panel
EMMA GRANEY, EDMONTON JOURNAL 02.22.2017
Progressive Conservative interim leader and panel member Ric McIver said Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017 that he wishes social workers and others speaking to the child intervention review panel would share their opinions.
/ EDMONTON JOURNAL
Opposition members of the government’s child intervention review panel worry a veil of secrecy and bureaucratic protectionism around child welfare will impede changes to the system.
Time and again over the three panel meetings so far, social workers and managers have declined to give their opinions, lobbing the ball back into the court of panel members with, “That’s for you to decide.”
On Wednesday afternoon, Progressive Conservative interim leader and panel member Ric McIver had enough.
Exasperated and shaking his head, he burst out with, “If they can’t give the answer, then why are we here?”
He doesn’t blame workers for holding their tongues, he explained later, but the culture of secrecy and reticence in speaking ill of colleagues or departments is frustrating.
McIver acknowledged secrecy was pervasive when his party was in charge, but said nothing has changed.
“What’s stopping people who clearly know how the system can be improved from telling us?” he asked.
Former social worker Heather Sweet, one of the NDP panel members, said there’s a long history of front-line workers and people within the system being told not to speak about problems.
She said changing that culture is a matter of building trust, and convincing workers the panel wants to listen, learn and improve the system.
Children’s Services Minister Danielle Larivee said Wednesday presenters were asked to give information about the current state of play, not surmise on possible changes.
Her ministry is also working on a tool for front-line workers to share their personal opinions without fear of repercussions.
Talk Wednesday also turned to the importance of aboriginal voices.
While that is likely to come during the panel’s second stage of work, Will Campbell, an elder with Native Counselling Services of Alberta, said it’s vital indigenous leaders and communities can suggest changes.
“We’ve had too many reviews where our people haven’t been informed … and the information has not gotten any further than the walls of this building,” he said.
“It needs to get out there to every Albertan, to each person in the community.”
McIver said kids on reserves are getting fewer services than those off-reserve, and he wants the panel to look at ways to change that.
“Together, maybe we can put pressure on the federal government to give aboriginal kids the same treatment — not better, not worse — than other kids are getting,” he said.