Parents of children who have died in provincial care can now make the names and faces of their deceased loved ones public after an automatic publication ban was removed last week.
On July 23rd, the Alberta government approved Bill 11, allowing parents like Crystal Crier to do something they have wanted to do for a long time, to put a name and face to their children’s story rather than have them exist as a nameless shadow.
Kyleigh, Crystal’s daughter, was placed in an Edmonton group home in October of last year because of her struggles with suicidal thoughts and addictions.
Despite doing this in an attempt to help her daughter, Crystal was heartbroken when she learned that Kyleigh hung herself in April.
Crystal wanted to make what happened to her daughter, who Crystal has said did not get the help she needed, public, but couldn’t do so until now.
While the media was able to report on the unfortunate death, they were prohibited from printing Kyleigh’s photo or name despite the wishes of her mother.
What happened to Kyleigh is a terrible incident that cannot be undone, but perhaps a small silver lining can come out of this situation now that Bill 11 has been approved.
In fact, Crystal said that she wept tears of joy when she heard the bill had passed.
Considering the desires of parents should always come first when it comes to their children; the government never should have been able to trump the desires of parents who wanted their children’s names made public in the first place.
Now that this error has been corrected however, the government should be applauded for its efforts.
Too often, we tend to focus on the negative decisions made by our governments. While it’s easy to say that is because governments make more bad decisions than good ones, more likely the truth is bad things are always easier to find than good ones.
Governments are made up of people too, so they make mistakes like everyone else, a lot of them.
That is why it is so important to recognize when the leaders of our communities make the right decisions.
Alberta’s government has definitely made the right decision by approving Bill 11. This is a step towards government transparency, something everyone in this province supports and something we have seen far too seldom in our provincial government lately.
With the Alberta PC Party leadership race underway and all three candidates pledging for a more transparent government, let us hope it is the first step of many.