Graham Thomson at the Edmonton Journal argues that Alberta Premier Alison Redford’s concern with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) indicates the sincerity of her avowal to change how government operates in the province.
Thomson notes that Redford has been concerned with the impact of FASD upon society since her stint as Justice Minister. A disproportionate number of people with the disorder end up before the courts and in jail. An estimated 25 percent or higher of inmates in federal prisons suffer from FASD. The disorder causes behavioral problems: those who suffer from the disorder act on impulse, exhibit astonishingly poor judgement, and fail to realize the consequences of their actions. As Redford pointed out as Justice Minister in 2010: “If you just continue to recycle people through the justice system and you don’t deal with whatever their underlying problems are, it’s not good for them, it’s not good for the community, it’s not good for the justice system, and it’s not good for the health system.” The premier, thus, is tackling the problem as she is tackling other issues, by getting ministries to work together more effeciently or even amalgamating responsibilities into single departments. Redford’s efforts to address pressing social issues such as FASD helps to disarm the skepticism that generally greets political rhetoric. When the government states that “supporting healthy and strong families and communities is an investiment in Albertans and Alberta’s future,” it might sound like a political cliche, but, Thomson argues, Redford’s motivation is sincere and her restructing of government holds promise. (link to article)