The revelation that bonuses for executives at problem-plagued Community Living B.C. were rolled into their salaries, instead of being eliminated like the minister promised, shows the Liberals simply can't be trusted to put the interests of CLBC clients and their families ahead of short-term political fixes.
New Democrats have been calling for an external, independent review of the organization since families first started coming forward with concerns about how their developmentally disabled loved ones were being forced from their homes.
It's no wonder the public was outraged when they learned CLBC executives were getting paid bonuses for forcing vulnerable people from their homes. And the public has every right to be upset that instead of getting rid of these bonuses like they promised, the Liberals quietly allowed the bonuses to be rolled in to their base pay, resulting in permanent raises of between 4.9 and 9.6 per cent for more than 60 executives and managers.
We still don't have answers about why the Liberals thought it made sense to force through 64 group home closures that jeopardized the health, safety and inclusion of clients. We still need to assess how many people are stuck on long wait-lists for services or are not being provided the services they need to live healthy, supported and fulfilling lives.
The Liberals have repeatedly promised to fix issues at CLBC, but it is hard to believe anything they say when so many of their promises turn out to be misleading. That's why New Democrats won't be satisfied with anything less than an external, independent review that deals with the problems plaguing CLBC. External reviews, such as the one undertaken by former judge Ted Hughes on the state of B.C.'s child-welfare system, have the potential to be powerful tools for meaningful change.
After years of B.C. Liberal mismanagement of CLBC, including a near-constant shuffling of ministers, more empty promises and excuses aren't enough. We have a responsibility to treat developmentally disabled people and their families with respect, and right now the Liberals are failing to take that responsibility seriously.
The executive bonus fiasco at CLBC is just more evidence of the fact that the Liberals have lost sight of what really matters. Instead of constantly fighting the next election, the Liberals should be focussed on actually doing a good job of governing. Vulnerable people and their families depend on these services to lead happy, fulfilling lives.
If the Liberals wanted to improve public opinion about the job they were doing at CLBC, they should have simply done a better job.
MLA Raj Chouhan, Burnaby-Edmonds,