Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Union complains about Sask foster care

Saskatchewan radio show producer Tammy Robert asserts that the Saskatchewan Government Employees Union has shown political bias and shared selective information. It has taken aim at the Saskatchewan Party for poor care of foster children but never cried foul when the same issue was present under NDP government.

The foster home shortage is our province is nothing new. In spring of 2005 it was reported that the number of children placed in care had risen 12% over the past year, with 700 more kids in need in Saskatoon alone. So, I'm just going to take a minute and go back through SGEU press releases from that time period, because surely that would have been an issue for employees then...look at that, nothing.

In March of 2006 then Community Resources Minister Buckley Belanger kicked off a foster family recruitment campaign, looking for at least 150 new families to volunteer in Saskatchewan. You'd think SGEU would have chimed in at this point...hmm. Crickets.

No, it was October 17th, 2008 before SGEU issued a statement, and you'll never guess who they declared at fault.

Yesterday SGEU vice-president Barry Nowoselsky spoke publicly on the issue, wringing his hands about the state of things and pointing all ten fingers at Social Services Minister Donna Harpauer's office and how she refused to meet with him - clearly insinuating that she doesn't care. In the same interview, Deb Davies of the Saskatchewan Foster Families Association - which has been jumping up and down about the urgency of this issue for four years - gently interrupts him and says "we are getting results from Minister Harpauer. Her door is always open...she is solution-focused."

Here's the thing - Barry did have a meeting booked yesterday to discuss the foster care issue with the Deputy Minister of Social Services, but Barry phoned and cancelled it right before it was scheduled to begin. Somehow though, the agreed-to meeting didn't come up in his public statements. Further, Barry held a meeting with Harpauer just three months ago, in which he raised several SGEU issues, but not one mention of the foster care situation.

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