The unmasking of Liberal MLA Randy Hawes as a member of the human race shocked no one more than the people controlling the thinking, and speech of the Liberal party.
To have someone break publicly within the party ranks on any issue is very rare. It is not without precedent but usually occurs in times of social upheaval such as the decimation of a political party.
As the standing MLA for Abbotsford-Mission, Hawes has been inundated with parents pleading for their children, and the elderly, desperate for stability concerning closures of group homes.
These are the mentally challenged, caught in a web of mistrust and government-sponsored stupidity. In their elected voice, the people have actually achieved that rarity of a politician doing the bidding of the voters, not the party.
This Liberal MLA actually had the audacity to put forth a call to his own government to endorse a full investigation of the Community Living BC agency.
Top to bottom Hawes declared, is the level of investigation required. Needless to say his own party dismissed him and denounced his efforts. Newly appointed social development minister Stephanie Cadieux saw fit to totally reject his plea for an investigation. No consultation, no compromise, just no. A perfect opportunity for the Liberal party to step up and turn the moment from confrontational, to control. New minister, new puppet?
The situation that this government has found themselves in is one generated by its own stupidity.
As an agency, Community Living BC is a relevant concept and needed in today’s society. Unfortunately as with many of Christy Clark’s ideas, this one came out half-baked.
This portfolio was being administered by Harry Bloy, whose only claim to fame is that he was the only MLA to back her in her party leadership campaign of this spring. Harry had neither the intellect or the inclination to administer this portfolio and has since been replaced by Cadieux. He took the honourable route and left everything to his staff. The principal scapegoat was Harry, yet his demise also resulted in the takedown of Community Living BC CEO Rich Mowles. He was fired after appearing on TV reciting a short speech best described as mush, sharply portraying the government’s lack of concern with both his manner, and urgency. His public execution left one with the impression that the wash had been taken out and left to dry.
The intent of the Liberal community living program was to be the long term resolution of basic care, and housing levels for the disabled and mentally challenged members of our province.
The efforts were to be a template of social justice, affording all peoples the means and resources for living standards expected within our province.
The actual result was that the government took this opportunity to directly attack our most vulnerable members of society.
Their actions, dubbed relocation, in fact minimized the cost of services to people most in need. The actions of Christy Clark’s ministers show only disdain, and ignorance, in endorsement of a program which the government created. Once again, the job of MLAs to speak as the voice of the people is ignored.
It was Rich Mowles who said “no one gets moved without it being their choice, without them agreeing.” The Liberals have once again responded with total disregard for the very policy they put to the voters.
This action reinforces once again the true value this government places on its word being its bond. What is left that we can actually say the government supports? Look at our health care workers, our schools, our tuition levels at university.
By the government’s own admission, there are 2,800 people on the waiting list for services, with another 750 getting no help at all. The reality is that you can probably double that figure.
I have nothing but admiration for Randy Hawes. This is what the people of British Columbia have always wanted from their elected voices. One would think that the HST, BC Ferries scandals, rot in BC Hydro, and the dysfunction of our hospitals would leave the Liberals a message. Voters will no longer tolerate being lied to and dismissed. It is time that the government realized this.
Tony Vincenzi is a writer living in Terrace. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.