Friday, November 18, 2005

Defending The Indefensible, Part VI


The new number is 713.

And the current Solicitor-General has this to say about it:

"At this point we do not yet know exactly how this happened."
John Les, quoted by Miro Cernetig
Vancouver Sun, pgA1, Nov 18, 2005

Well, how about this Mr. Les?

First, in the name of ideology your leader, Gordon Campbell, and your government scrapped the Children's Commission to 'save' $4.0 million dollars.

Then you took $3.8 million of those dollars that had once been earmarked to the downtrodden and the unprotected of this Province and you gave it away in tax cuts to the wealthiest amongst us, most of it to the mansion people in Point Grey and the Uplands.

Why the measly $0.2 million differential?

Because that is precisely how much money your leader Mr. Campbell and your government gave to the Coroner's office to pick up all of the slack.

This is an outright dereliction of your public duty with a healthy dose of negligence thrown in. I will leave the qualifier - criminal or otherwise, for others to decide.

Or, put another way, when I explained this to someone who came visiting from away yesterday (they had seen the headlines at the airport), she said "How can these people sleep at night?"



The worst part of all this is the fact that despite how horrifying that number '713' is, I am not convinced that it means anything at all.


Because this is only what Gordon Campbell, John Les and all of the B.C. Liberals are admitting to as of yesterday. Furthermore, they are stating, publically, and on the record, that it is for uninvestigated child deaths that occurred before Jan 2003.

So, first, given their previous public and on the record statements, why should we believe them now (ie. last week the number was zero until Kathleen Stephany kicked up a fuss and earlier this week it was 80, but only because the chief Coroner blew the first whistle)?

Second, for the same reasons, why should we believe Mr. Les when he says that the 'system' has worked efficiently since?

Did the coroner's office receive a sudden $3.8 million dollar budget increase in Jan 2003 that we don't know about?

Or, did the government suddenly hire a hundred new Kathleen Stephanys?

We think not.

For installments I, II, III, IV and V on this issue, please see here and here and here and here and here.
Rick Cluff interviewed Mr. Les on CBC Vancouver this morning on this matter and it was one of the most pathetic bits of investigative interrogation that I have ever heard. For example, after Les told Cluff that everything is now OK, Cluff went for the jugular, not!, by asking the S-G if he deserved his pay raise. Clearly, it appears that Cluff gets his questions by jumping betweeen stories on the front page of the Sun. Thus, I'm surprised he didn't ask Les if he liked the new Barenaked Ladies album-on-a-stick. One wonders if the word is out that, while he may not be the watercarrier that Mr. Good is, Cluff is so ineffectual that any interview with him is sure to generate puffed-up deflector spin no matter how dire the situation.


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