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B.C. children's watchdog takes province to court Add to ...

B.C.'s watchdog for children and youth is taking the provincial government to court over its refusal to provide cabinet documents.

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond has been battling for access to material she believes she needs to complete an audit of a government program involving vulnerable children.

Last week the province sought to deny her request by introducing a new law that would abolish her right to obtain documents related to the Child in the Home of a Relative program.

In a petition filed Tuesday, Ms. Turpel-Lafond asked the B.C. Supreme Court to force the province to hand over the documents, alleging Premier Gordon Campbell's government is ducking its legal obligation to provide her with the information she needs to do her work.

"The government's intention to pass a retroactive law is not, as I understand the law, an excuse for an ongoing failure ... to comply with their present legal duty," Ms. Turpel-Lafond stated in an affidavit.

Mary Polak, the minister responsible for children and families, said the legal action is a waste of money and suggested Ms. Turpel-Lafond could do her job without asserting her right to access cabinet documents.

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