EDMONTON, AB: UCP Solicitor General Critic Mike Ellis today introduced Bill 216, the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement (Protecting Alberta’s Children) Amendment Act, 2017, which clarifies the responsibility of all adults to contact the authorities if they know of a child that is in need of intervention. However, this Bill was defeated by the NDP.
Dubbed “Serenity’s Law”, after the young Alberta girl whose tragic death in government care shook Albertans to their core, Ellis first brought this common-sense idea forward last fall. Today, the United Conservative Caucus asked for unanimous consent of the Legislative Assembly to waive protocol and pass this important legislation through all three stages in one day. With Serenity’s mother watching in the gallery, the NDP failed once again to do the right thing for Alberta children in care.
“Serenity’s case touched all our hearts and it is imperative that we do whatever we can to help protect Alberta’s most vulnerable children,” said Ellis. “That’s why we asked for the government’s cooperation to pass this important legislation today. This simple, common-sense change clarifies the role that all of us are expected to play in keeping children in our province safe. I am profoundly disappointed to see the NDP waste yet another opportunity to take meaningful action on this critically important issue.”
Bill 216 also proposes to increase the maximum fine for failure to report from $2,000 to $10,000 and adds six months incarceration to the potential penalties.
“We all have an obligation to report suspected child abuse to police and Bill 216 makes it perfectly clear that there will be serious consequences for failing to do so,” said Ellis. “The entire child intervention system failed Serenity from beginning to end, and this small change could mean the difference between life and death for a child in the future. Today, the NDP made it perfectly clear that they are not serious about fixing the broken system that led to Serenity’s death, nor are they interested in providing some measure of justice, however small, for her family.”