Liberal MLA attacks own party over group home closures
Published Tuesday, October 18, 2011 8:11AM PDT
B.C. special needs advocates found a new ally Monday as Liberal MLA Randy Hawes put his own party's feet to the flames over the closure of dozens of group homes in the province.
Hawes spoke out in the legislature during a debate over NDP MLA Nicholas Simons's motion calling for a moratorium on any further group home closures.
"I would like to see us do a top-to-bottom examination here because there's a lot going wrong," Hawes told CTV News. "I just want to hear us saying we're going to address those problems and I want to see those families get some hope right now."
"Today, I don't think they have any."
The former cabinet minister also accused his own party of misleading British Columbians and causing unnecessary suffering to some of the province's most vulnerable citizens.
For months, complaints have mounted that services for the developmentally disabled in B.C. are lacking. Meanwhile, 65 group homes, where many special needs adults have lived for years, have closed and left 2,600 people on waiting lists.
Advocates say Community Living BC, the agency responsible for developmentally disabled B.C. residents once they reach adulthood, needs about $70 million to meet the immediate needs of those affected by the cuts.
During Monday's question period, Simons called on Christy Clark's government to "recognize the crisis," and the stress that closures and uncertainty are causing families.
Clark assured that change is coming to CLBC, which ousted CEO Rick Mowles on Friday.
"The organization is ready for change and we certainly welcome the change and we look forward to what that will bring in the future," Clark said.
CLBC was created in 2006 and has an operating budget of $600 million per year.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Jim Beatty