Community Services Minister didn't show up for debate
HALIFAX, NS – The Community Service Minister didn't show up for yesterday's debate of a PC Bill aimed at the protection of children. The bill ensures that no excuses outweigh the Minister’s responsibility to act in a situation when a child, or children, could be in harm’s way.
The Progressive Conservatives' Child Protection Intervention Act states that if there is a risk of harm, the government can seek a judicial order to ensure someone have no contact with children and to stay away from places frequented by children.
Recent events have come to light concerning an alleged abuser that remained in contact with children while working at a Halifax-area daycare. The Minister of the Department of Community Services was made aware of the situation on November 15, 2010, but did not inform the daycare’s board of directors. The board found out through media eight months later.
“The Minister made a terrible mistake when she decided against picking up the phone and calling the daycare where an alleged abuser was known to be working,” said PC Community Services critic Keith Bain. “This law makes sure the right thing is done, no excuses.”
For the last two weeks in the Legislature, PC MLAs have pointed out that nothing prevented current Community Services Minister Denise Peterson-Rafuse from exercising common sense and informing the daycare’s operators that an alleged abuser was working for them.
“The NDP’s Community Services Minister should have acted to protect children above all else but instead she has given excuse after excuse as to why she said nothing,” said Bain. “She clearly has learned nothing from what has happened. This law makes it clear to the Minister that there is no excuse for failing to look out for children.”
The NDP’s Minister of Community Services and Minister of Justice have not answered questions as to what was discussed in regards to the government’s legal defense of a lawsuit brought forward by former residents of the Home for Colored Children. The inaction from the NDP suggests the government may have been concerned about the lawsuit.
The Progressive Conservative legislation can be read here: