B.C. Children and Youth Representative Bernard Richard. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

B.C. children’s representative resigns after a year and a half

Bernard Richard says he was always a ‘transition’ appointee

Bernard Richard, B.C.’s second Representative for Children and Youth, has given notice that he is quitting this summer and returning to his native New Brunswick.

Richard, 67, informed the legislature’s children and youth committee of his decision Wednesday, saying he made it clear to B.C. MLAs he is a “transition representative” after the departure of Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond. He is less than halfway through a five-year appointment, having been unanimously selected by MLAs in February 2017.

Richard told committee members he intends to leave this summer, giving them five months to find a replacement. He is returning to be with his 93-year-old father and to take up a job working with Indigenous leaders in New Brunswick.

Richard said B.C. needs to do a better job of dealing with the over-representation of Indigenous children in government care, and to provide better services to parents and young people in need. Teens are “aging out” of care systems and going onto the streets to fall into addiction, he said.

“I talk to parents almost on a weekly basis, and it breaks my heart every time,” Richard said. “They can’t access services when they need them. They’re assigned to wait lists for treatment. The treatment centre says because they’re in a particular health region, they don’t accept children from other regions.”

Committee members thanked Richard for his service to B.C.

“I think your approach has been appreciated, and your words of wisdom are appreciated,” said Powell River-Sunshine Coast MLA Nick Simons.

A lawyer and former social worker, Richard served in the cabinet of former New Brunswick premier Frank McKenna, including the aboriginal affairs and education ministries. Richard was appointed New Brunswick Ombudsman in 2004 and was appointed that province’s first child and youth advocate in 2006.

Just Posted

Robert Barron column: Lower speed limits could save lives

That’s annoying, but at the same time, I think it will save some lives.

Andrea Rondeau column: I’ll beg if I have to, to get you to vote

Please, please, please mail in your vote in the proportional representation election.

Sarah Simpson column: Cowichan sure knows when to step up to help

Shortly after my birthday last year I wrote a column about gifts.… Continue reading

Cowichan United seeing positives despite results

U21 team falls to Lakehill, but coaches see improvement

REPLAY: B.C’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week across the province

NEB approves operating pressure increase to repaired Enbridge pipeline

The pipeline burst outside of Prince George on Oct. 9, now operating at 85 per cent

B.C. VIEWS: Setting speed limits in a post-fact environment

Media prefer ‘speed kills’ narrative, even when it fails to appear

Controversy erupts over Japanese flag in B.C. classroom

Online petition demanding removal has collected more than 5,700 signatures

Death toll rises to 76 in California fire with winds ahead

Nearly 1,300 people remain unaccounted for more than a week after the fire began

Trump says report on Khashoggi death expected in a few days

Jamal Khashoggi was a columnist for The Washington Post who was slain Oct. 2 inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul

CUPW requests mediator as deadline for Canada Post offer expires without deal

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau weighed in Saturday night with a last-minute plea to the two sides

Trudeau says he won’t negotiate in public on future of LGBTQ rights in USMCA

Legislators urged Trump not to sign the agreement unless the language was removed.

Search for contaminant continues at Little Qualicum Cheeseworks

Island company ‘blown away’ by support after E. coli recall of Qualicum Spice cheese

Most Read