Larivee claims op­po­si­tion, me­dia have ‘out­dated facts’

Edmonton Journal - - FRONT PAGE - STU­ART THOM­SON sx­thom­son@post­media.com twit­ter.com/stu­ar­tx­thom­son

A day af­ter news broke that chil­dren were still liv­ing in a home where a girl died while in gov­ern­ment care, Chil­dren’s Ser­vices Minister Danielle Larivee said the op­po­si­tion and me­dia have been us­ing out­dated facts.

Larivee, how­ever, wouldn’t pro­vide new in­for­ma­tion to cor­rect the record, cit­ing pri­vacy laws.

Me­dia re­ports and ques­tions from the Op­po­si­tion in ques­tion pe­riod stated that six chil­dren were liv­ing in the home where Seren­ity, who was in gov­ern­ment care, suf­fered from mal­nu­tri­tion and even­tual death from a trau­matic head in­jury in 2014.

Larivee said that in­for­ma­tion is “years old.”

But she wouldn’t say how many chil­dren now live in the home.

She said au­thor­i­ties were in “in­ter­mit­tent” con­tact with the fam­ily and they had been con­tacted as re­cently as Wed­nes­day.

But she wouldn’t say ex­actly how of­ten child-wel­fare checks were made.

“I un­der­stand that’s it’s frus­trat­ing that in cases of child pro­tec­tion I can’t al­ways pro­vide you with the de­gree of in­for­ma­tion you are look­ing for.

“I un­der­stand Al­ber­tans’ frus­tra­tion and I am frus­trated, too,” Larivee told a news con­fer­ence at the Al­berta leg­is­la­ture on Wed­nes­day.

Larivee said this in­for­ma­tion has to be ap­proved by the le­gal de­part­ment and she is work­ing to get some of it re­leased.

“It feels like the minister is run­ning and hid­ing from the facts be­cause the facts are in­con­ve­nient to be out in the pub­lic for the minister. That’s what it feels like,” said Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tive cau­cus leader Ric McIver.

“We are de­ter­mined to get some an­swers. We don’t in­tend to let up on this pre­mier and this minister be­cause we be­lieve it’s in Al­ber­tans’ best in­ter­ests to have more facts put on the ta­ble,” said McIver.

Seren­ity’s death led re­cently to a min­is­te­rial panel on the child in­ter­ven­tion sys­tem to help fix what Pre­mier Rachel Not­ley de­scribed as “sys­temic” prob­lems. A crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion into her death is still un­der­way, but no charges have been laid.

Seren­ity’s story dom­i­nated ques­tion pe­riod last fall and Wil­drose Leader Brian Jean attacked the gov­ern­ment over the new rev­e­la­tions Tues­day and Wed­nes­day.

“There is a muz­zle on the facts, and that muz­zle is this gov­ern­ment not telling Al­ber­tans what’s hap­pened,” said Jean.

LARRY WONG/FILES

Chil­dren’s Ser­vices Minister Danielle Larivee says of­fi­cials with her min­istry are in ‘in­ter­mit­tent’ con­tact with the house­hold where Seren­ity died in 2014.

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