Community services minister wants N.S. to have child and youth advocate

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Karla MacFarlane is Nova Scotia's community services minister. (CBC - image credit)
Karla MacFarlane is Nova Scotia's community services minister. (CBC - image credit)

Community Services Minister Karla MacFarlane says Nova Scotia needs a child and youth advocate.

Other than Ontario, this is the only province without such a role. MacFarlane, who was sworn in on Tuesday, said that needs to change.

"It's certainly something that I will be bringing forward and discussing," she told reporters following a cabinet meeting Thursday.

Advocates and opposition parties have long called for the establishment of such a position.

Now that she's in government, MacFarlane said creating the role would give young people a voice that connects them directly to government, while showing the government cares "and that we want to listen to concerns that they have."

NDP 'very happy' with proposal

NDP Leader Gary Burrill welcomed the news.

"This is something that we have been advocating for and calling for in the NDP and presenting legislation for for a number of years," he said.

"I'm glad to hear that this is something that minister MacFarlane is interested in pursuing, and we will be very happy to see a proposal along this lines brought to the House."

More generally, MacFarlane said reducing child poverty in the province is her No. 1 priority.

The minister was scheduled to meet with her deputy Thursday and would begin her briefings on the matter.

"I promise that I will work diligently to reduce poverty in Nova Scotia," she said.

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