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

‘I feel ready for it’: On a BMX, Surrey man is ‘Cycling for Sobriety’ across Canada

Mat Fee will depart Halifax on May 1 to raise money and awareness for John Volken Academy

Surrey prayer vigil planned to honour hundreds killed in Sri Lanka bombings

The event is set for 6:30 p.m. Monday night at Holland Park

Gas prices in Metro Vancouver hit 172.9 cents a litre

And one analyst expects it to only go higher this week

Semiahmoo students to raise awareness about acid throwing

The Grade 11 students are to host a fundraiser for victims

Senior swimmer leads White Rock Wave with world record at provincial championships

Betty Brussel, 95, sets new world mark in 200-m breaststroke at Victoria meet

Sri Lanka invokes war-time military powers after nearly 300 killed in Easter bombings

Sri Lanka’s minister of tourism says 39 foreign tourists were killed in the Easter Sunday attacks

Torched SUV linked to Vancouver’s fourth homicide

Manoj Kumar, 30, was found dead from gunshot wounds in the Kitsilano neighbourhood

Multiple sailing waits as BC Ferries deals with Easter Monday traffic

89 extra sailings had been added to the long weekend schedule

Ex-mayor of northern village claims its drivers are overpaying ICBC $1,800 a year

Darcy Repen says data shows Telkwa households are being ripped off for car insurance

Deadly synthetic drug found in Kamloops that puts users in ‘zombielike’ state

Interior Health warning says substance causes ‘speedy, trippy-like symptoms’ and hallucinations

Chilliwack library hosting Star Wars-themed escape room

Participants asked to summon the force for week-long attraction

Trudeau to be portrayed on ‘Simpsons’ episode

Toronto journalist who’s posted videos of himself doing impressions of the PM voiced him for the show

Elizabeth May’s wedding dress a ‘walk through a garden’ on Earth Day

Green Party leader set to get married in Victoria

5 to start your day

Gas prices soar to new heights, no major incidents at Vancouver’s 4/20, and more

Most Read