Criticism from within may lead to change

Once in a while, a politician takes issue with his or her own party's policies. Sometimes it's motivated by personal ambition, sometimes by conscience.

We believe that MLA Randy Hawes' decision to blast his own Liberal government earlier this week for failing developmentally disabled adults is a plea from the heart. As Hawes said, "there's no issue that's caused me more loss of sleep or more concern than those most vulnerable people."

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He was speaking during a discussion about an NDP motion calling for a halt to further closures of group homes pending a review. Hawes rightly said that he would have preferred a top-tobottom review of Community Living B.C. But the Liberals were having none of that - and no wonder. The Liberals were caught lying about the issue and, while Premier Christy Clark demoted Harry Bloy, the minister in charge of the agency (which falls under the Ministry of Social Development), one can assume they sure don't want any behind-the-scenes dirty laundry aired now.

Their solution to the problem of vulnerable people being mistreated and neglected by the government? Step one: get rid of the minister in charge, Bloy; step two: remove CLBC CEO Rich Mowles; step three: hope it all goes away.

But a quiet end to this issue is, thankfully, unlikely at this point: earlier this week, a second Liberal MLA spoke out, joining ranks with Hawes. Abbotsford South MLA John van Dongen - a former solicitor general - said there's been "an absence of the right kind of leadership."

Time will tell how many others will line up behind them, but the damage - from a political perspective - is done.

We can only hope that their decision to speak out will force the premier's hand and lead to a significant review and changes that will protect and support those most in need.

After all, that would be putting "families first," wouldn't it?

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