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Legislative Report (14 September 2006)

Legislative Report

14 September 2006

Premier Should Remove Minister Belanger

This past week, the Children’s Advocate released an investigative report into the Oyate Safe House in Regina and a broader report on issues regarding the sexual exploitation of children. To say that they are a scathing indictment of the NDP government is an understatement. The reports were written by Children’s Advocate Marvin Bernstein following a request by the Saskatchewan Party for an investigation into the Oyate Safe House.

The report states that the Oyate Safe House did not meet its obligations to staff the facility with personnel capable of delivering the services needed to protect children in the sex trade. Further, the report says staff did not prohibit the further sexual exploitation of children in their care, and did not prevent dangerous articles and drugs from entering the safe home.

These children were sent somewhere to be safe. They weren’t.

As for the Department of Community Resources, Mr. Bernstein says officials knew of serious problems at Oyate, yet continued to put children in the safe house. Also, the department continued to close files on children with the full knowledge they continued to be victims of sexual exploitation.

The Saskatchewan Party is calling on the Premier to remove Community Resources Minister Buckley Belanger. Instead of apologizing to the children and accepting Mr. Bernstein’s findings, Belanger refused to admit there was any wrong-doing.

A government and a society can and should be judged by the protection they afford to the weakest, most vulnerable members of that society. Tragically, in this case, everyone seemed to turn a blind eye to what was happening.

Yet the NDP still has no clear plan to implement the many recommendations in these reports and fix the problems so clearly identified. In fact, the NDP Minister Responsible said “there was no wrong doing, I’m not going on a witch hunt”.

Clearly, Premier Lorne Calvert must show some moral leadership. He must first admit there is a problem, then find a new minister that will set out a plan to fix it.

This story starts and ends with the children. They deserve nothing less than our very best.

If you have a question about this report or any other matter, just Contact Glen.

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