The Vancouver Sun had an odd letter to the editor from a former chair of Community Living BC today. (Not the current chair, as the published version indicated.)
Lois Hollstedt was the first chair of the board and served until 2010. She argues in the letter that the Crown corporation is underfunded - undoubtedly true.
And that more problems are ahead as the lack of funding, in the face of growing demand, creates a continuing crisis - also undoubtedly true.
But where was Hollstedt as the crisis developed?
Last year, as CLBC chair, she wrote the introduction to the corporation's annual report and concluded with this:
"Finally, as we continue to serve more and more people, our budget has expanded to meet demand," Hollstedt wrote. "It has been my privilege to be involved in these changes and I want to thank everyone for their roles in bringing CLBC into reality and for continuing to work toward our vision."
That was not true. The budget had not expanded to meet demand, as she now confirms. An honest and accurate report from the board would have raised the issues Hollstedt sets out in the letter to the editor much earlier.
So why did she say the opposite? Is the board representing the people CLBC was created to serve, or acting in the government's interest?
My intent is not to single out Hollstedt. But there has been a striking co-option of advocates, and the results have been damaging.
The published letter is below:
CLBC board chair hopes publicity results in money
BY LOIS HOLLSTEDT
Re: Community Living seeks to restore core values, Oct. 29
While your story presented a good and fair overview of CLBC's creation, it did not discuss the lack of money provided by government to fully fund the mission it gave to the organization.
Simply, the growth in people asking for and needing service has been greater than the money provided.
Demand has grown from four to six per cent a year, inflation is two to three per cent a year, and the money has not kept pace.
The 2010/11 Annual Report (page 26) shows over five years operating money grew 9.4 per cent ($622 million to $681 million) while adults served grew 29.6 per cent (10,400 to 13,481).
2011-12 budgets increased 0.79 per cent and the $8 million announced last month lifts it to a 1.2-per-cent increase for this year.
Your story indicates 2,800 people are on the wait-list. Without substantial new resources, people will not get the services they need, and government was told by me and by the CEO that this would happen.
In 2010-11 the equivalent of $39 million in service changes were redirected to new people, and without this difficult work by a dedicated staff across B.C. the problem would be so much worse.
Let us hope the publicity from this continuing story will result in significant new money for more people to have their needs met.
Lois Hollstedt CLBC Board Chair