Peterson-Rafuse passes the buck

Liberal MLA Kelly Regan put two questions to Community Services Minister Denise Peterson-Rafuse in the House of Assembly yesterday:

MS. KELLY REGAN:  Mr. Speaker, for 53 years Talbot House provided residential addiction treatment for men in Cape Breton. Talbot House recently, abruptly closed its doors and left the people of Cape Breton with a whole lot of questions. Will the Minister of Community Services lift the shroud of secrecy and tell the men and their families who rely on these services why the minister closed the doors and removed this vital service from this community?

HON. DENISE PETERSON-RAFUSE:  Mr. Speaker, we know that the recovery houses that we have throughout the province are vitally important and we have supported those. In fact, we were not responsible for closing it, so I would think the honourable member should get her information straight. Thank you.

MS. REGAN:  Mr. Speaker, it is the responsibility of this minister to ensure that her department can properly manage its programs and guarantee a continuity of service. People in Cape Breton are wondering what other local, accessible, comparable programs have been made available to men needing these services?

MS. PETERSON-RAFUSE:  Mr. Speaker, I would like to say that every person who was in that recovery house was well taken care of. They have a placement that they are satisfied with and the fact is that is another organization that is run by a board of directors. The board of directors made the decision, not Community Services.

In short, the closure of this valued treatment centre is not the minister’s problem, and really didn’t cause much harm anyway. See the happy residents, all “placed” elsewhere.

It would be hard to imagine a minister more deeply out of touch with sensibilities, sentiment, and history on the ground in the area affected by the bureaucracy she heads.