The Panel heard from experts like the Chief Medical Examiner, the RCMP, the Edmonton Police Service, the Child and Youth Advocate, the Fatality Inquiry Board, the Council for Quality Assurance and the Family Violence Death Review Committee. Each presentation walked the Panel through how they individually respond to the death of a child in care. I was impressed with the dedication and passion these individuals showed and it was clear that each of them cared deeply about reforming and improving the child intervention system. A number of these experts were happy to provide Panel members with suggestions for what they thought needed to change. For example, I asked Edmonton Police Chief Rod Knecht if he would be willing to provide some suggestions on how we could amend privacy legislation to better enable law enforcement to share information with other agencies, to which he eagerly agreed. I look forward to hearing back from Chief Knecht and the other presenters.
From the moment I stood in the Legislature to ask Premier Notley to establish an all-party committee to take an in-depth look at Alberta’s child intervention system, I envisioned an open and transparent process that would be completely open to the public. Instead, we have a Panel whose meetings, while open to the public, are far from open and transparent. All Albertans deserve the opportunity to follow these proceedings and participate if they choose to – not just those in Edmonton who are able to attend in person. Along with the official opposition I have been a vocal advocate for live-streaming the Panel meetings and creating official transcripts, which is why our caucus has provided a live video feed of the first two meetings on our Facebook page when the government refused. Although I was pleased to hear that the Minister of Children’s Services has agreed to provide a live audio stream of future Panel meetings, it doesn’t go far enough. We will continue to live-stream the proceedings until the government agrees to do the right thing and use the technology it has at its disposal to make this a truly public process for all Albertans.
The next Panel meeting is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, February 22 where we will continue our examination of the child death review process and look for ways to make it much better than it is today.