Open letter: First Nations leaders support re-appointment of Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond

The First Nations Leadership Council has issued the following open letter:

July 27, 2011

Premier Christy Clark
Province of British Columbia
Victoria, BC, V8W 9E1

OPEN LETTER: FNLC Support for the Re-Appointment of Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond as the Representative for Children and Youth in BC

Dear Premier Clark,

We are writing to express our full support for the reappointment of Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond as the Representative for Children and Youth in British Columbia.

The BC Assembly of First Nations, First Nations Summit and Union of BC Indian Chiefs have supported Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond ¡ ¦s comprehensive work since her appointment in November 2006. During this time, Ms. Turpel-Lafond has provided much-needed critical insight into the current state of the child protection system through a number of in-depth reports and investigations, and has provided recommendations to both the federal and provincial governments regarding issues such as child poverty and the Youth Criminal Justice Act. As a judge, lawyer, mother, professor, and Aboriginal woman, Ms. Turpel-Lafond possesses incredibly unique and highly skilled experience for the position of Representative for Children and Youth.

Importantly, Ms. Turpel-Lafond has acted as a strong advocate for Aboriginal children, who are disproportionately over-represented among children in care, and who comprise the most vulnerable sector of society in BC. We continue to recognize Ms. Turpel-Lafond's unwavering commitment to address the underlying and cross-cutting root causes of the inter-generational poverty that characterizes a tragically high percentage of Aboriginal families in BC. Her tireless passion to work in partnership and make change has resulted in an accord with the provincial government to work cooperatively together and, most recently, has resulted in a Memorandum of Understanding with the First Nations Education Steering Committee. She refuses to accept that any child should be in an unsafe and unsupported environment, and also continues to clearly articulate the need for adequate supports to be provided to caregivers.

The enormously important and valuable work of Ms. Turpel-Lafond is just beginning, and she must be able to continue her effective advocacy for improving the lives of children and youth in British Columbia. Further, she must be able to continue providing much needed oversight and recommendations to the Ministry of Children and Family Development, and to establish opportunities for joint dialogue. Once again, we strongly urge you to reappoint Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond as the Representative for Children and Youth.

Yours truly,



Honourable Mary Polak, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation

Honourable Mary McNeil, Minister of Children and Family Development

Mr. Adrian Dix, Leader of the Opposition, BC NDP MLA

Select Standing Committee on Children and Youth:

Chair, Joan McIntyre, BC Liberal MLA
Deputy Chair, Claire Trevena, BC NDP MLA
Member, Mable Elmore, BC NDP MLA
Member, Kash Heed, BC Liberal MLA
Member, Gordon Hogg, BC Liberal MLA
Member, Douglas Horne, BC Liberal MLA
Member, Leonard Krog, BC NDP MLA
Member, Kevin Krueger, BC Liberal MLA
Member, Richard T. Lee, BC Liberal MLA
Member, Nicholas Simons, BC NDP MLA

Special Committee to Appoint a Representative for Children and Youth:

Chair, Colin Hansen, BC Liberal MLA
Deputy Chair, Mable Elmore, BC NDP MLA
Member, Rob Howard, BC Liberal MLA
Member, Maurine Karagianis, BC NDP MLA
Member, Ben Stewart, BC Liberal MLA
Member, Dr. Moira Stilwell, BC Liberal MLA
Member, Claire Trevena, BC NDP MLA



Mark Fornataro

Jul 28, 2011 at 10:28am

I can't imagine a better Representative for Children and Youth; I don't think the provincial government would dare not appoint her.With her smarts, compassion and hard-work ethic Ms Turpel-Lafond is worthy of the highest praise.

monty/that's me

Jul 28, 2011 at 2:14pm

Families First? Turpel-Lafond needs her contract extended or the Families First policy is nothing but a crude, rude joke.

james green

Jul 28, 2011 at 4:13pm

This women is the only true and effective children's advocate this province has in office. Should the premier not re appoint her, it is clear this government places child safety and care low on their priority list.
We should all be calling on the premier to take the right step.

glen p robbins

Aug 1, 2011 at 6:20pm

It would be a terrible mistake to change course now. Confidence that vulnerable children in the province may finally have a voice is upon us after many years of disaster. Iain Black - how callous was that?

Didn't Christy Clark leave as Minister of Children. Her recent statements about the importance of Children and Families -- puts her in the political position of not needing something to go wrong here - smartest move she can make politically (and of course for children at risk) is to work with TL ongoing. Otherwise the NDP will kick the left liberal side of her tent in and take another 5-6%.

Clark can't risk 1% with Cummins - coming.

There - easy