Recently, media reports exposed a disturbing and heartbreaking story. Documents show, since 1999, the Alberta government failed to report 89 deaths of children in provincial care and then barred parents from speaking publicly about them.
Since this issue was first made public, Wildrose has been steadfast: Alberta needs a full, public inquiry to find out why children are tragically perishing in provincial care and to determine how future deaths can be prevented.
This issue is uncomfortable. It’s dark. It’s sensitive. Thus, opposition MLAs from all parties have joined forces in the spirit of non-partisanship to request the PC government launch a full, public inquiry into the deaths of children in care.
“Let me be clear,” Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith said in an emotional plea to the legislature Monday. “This is not a partisan issue.”
Indeed, this is not a partisan issue. This is an issue of who we are as people – of honesty, of accountability, of basic human values.
If children are dying in provincial care, we must know why.
A full public inquiry, and nothing less, is how we get to the bottom of this issue. Albertans have questions – and this will provide answers.
Unfortunately, however, calls for an inquiry have been met with insensitivity and inaction from the PC government. At first, Human Services Minister Dave Hancock tried to say the number of unreported deaths in the system was “not significant.” Officials in the Premier’s Office called public outrage over the deaths “dribble.” Their latest tactic has been to attack the media outlets that broke the story.
All the while, they’ve refused to call a public inquiry. They’ve instead announced they will hold a roundtable discussion on the matter, a positive step to be sure. But only a public inquiry with a broad mandate and judicial oversight can get to the bottom of it.
This is the problem: A government in power for too long loses touch with real-world problems. Most would agree a one-day roundtable discussion down won’t solve this problem. But after 43 years in power, the PC government believes it is the answer, causing ongoing frustration and disappointment for those seeking real solutions.
Wildrose fears the PC government is putting its own interests in front of the interests of children in care. The fact is the government fought the release of this story in for four years. The truth finally came out, and now, Albertans have more questions than answers.
To be clear, this issue is neither about politics nor is it about partisanship – It’s about doing the right thing.
It’s time for the PC government do the right thing, put aside their personal hesitations and call for a full public inquiry into child care deaths immediately.
What do you think? Please contact me at RimbeyRockyMountainHouseSundre@assembly.ab.ca or (403) 630-5025 and let me know!