BURNABY, BC The resignation of Children and Families Minister Gordon Hogg and community living authority CEO Doug Walls have left community social services leaderless and to continue restructuring under these circumstances would risk the health and safety of people with disabilities, says Barry ONeill, president of CUPE BC.
The ministry is under investigation, the Minister and CEO have resigned, and the deputy minister has been replaced how can the Liberals continue? said ONeill.
CUPE BC is calling on the government to halt the massive restructuring at least until the independent audit of the Ministry of Children and Families is complete.
On June 1, 2004 the newly created Community Living Authority is scheduled to assume responsibility for almost 10,000 people with disabilities from the Ministry of Children and Families.
In less than four months, the government plans to offload responsibility for community living to an arms length agency, said ONeill. This plan has enough holes to drive a truck through. There are serious concerns about peoples safety as the Liberals cut and restructure at the same time.
Now the Minister responsible and the CEO have resigned under a cloud of scandal. To continue with this flawed initiative under these circumstances would recklessly risk the health and safety of people with disabilities, said ONeill. They need to put the brakes on this before someone gets hurt.
Independent reviews, including the Sage Report, have found major problems with the governments plans. Documents from the BC Association of Community Living outline the risks of the cutbacks including concerns about services and safety of clients.
ONeill notes that trust in government is diminishing rapidly as rumours of scandal continue to plague the Legislature.
These scandals dont just hurt the government, they impact those who receive services and count on the government to do their job every day, said ONeill. As the scandal sheet grows longer, British Columbians are rapidly losing trust in the ability of the government to function properly.
CUPE BC is B.C.s largest union representing 69,000 workers including approximately 2000 community social service workers who care for people with disabilities, children, women, and families in need.
Barry ONeill, president of CUPE BC at 604-916-8444