BRITISH COLUMBIA

Alex Gervais' Death: No Public Inquiry Says Premier Christy Clark

10/06/2015 08:10 EDT | Updated 10/06/2016 05:12 EDT
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The B.C. government will not call an independent or public inquiry into the death of Alex Gervais, who died while in provincial care, despite an open letter from his family to the premier asking for an "arm's length" inquiry.

Premier Christy Clark said Tuesday the government has started a review, by the provincial director of child welfare — which she called a faster process than a public inquiry.

"We know in this case, there appear to have been some serious issues. That's why the review is underway. We want to get it done as quickly as we can," she said.

Gervais, 18, was left alone in an Abbotsford, B.C. hotel for three months, before he fell or jumped from a fourth-floor window on Sept. 18.

Text messages written by Gervais shortly before his death, provided to CBC News by an adult in his life, describe his despair in the situation — that his social workers wouldn't listen to him or give him money.

"I tell the social workers to help me and they do nothing, he doesn't feed me he's never around," said Gervais in the text. 

In an open letter to the premier yesterday, Gervais's family asked for "an independent inquiry ... one that is arm's length from the government."

"The system is broken ... we implore you to take action to save other young lives from the same fate as Alex," the family wrote.

Clark reiterated Tuesday that it's not government policy to place children in care in hotels, though it does happen, and the review will look at that issue.

"We need to get a clear understanding of what happened, as quickly as we can, so that if there are problems, systemic problems that we need to correct, we can do it fast."

Minister of Children and Family Development Stephanie Cadieux said if changes are made, they will be after that review.

"That review will give us more insights into what happened in this circumstance and whether or not changes or other things within the ministry need to be looked at."

The results of the review will be public, said Clark.

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