Steve Kent's volunteer role as Chief Commissioner of Scouts Canada has become a major distraction to his publicly funded job as a Member of the House of Assembly.
This morning, the top headline in many national newspapers, television newscasts, radio newscasts and on-line news is an admission by Kent that the organization had not always gone to the police with information related to sexual abuse allegations.
The revelation comes two months after Kent, dressed in a Scouts uniform, posted a YouTube video insisting that the organization
had always gone to police. “Any information that Scouts Canada obtains
related to abuse allegations is communicated to police...to
our knowledge there has not been deviation from this policy by Scouts
The YouTube video was in response to troubling reports on CBC's Fifth Estate with regards to alleged cover-ups of abuse by the Canadian and American Scouting Organizations. The attempt at damage control appears to have been a failure. A follow-up investigation by the CBC led to Kent's latest admission.
Answering for the past actions of commissioners, members and pedophiles is a tough job. Kent's backpedaling is based on new information, or at the very least, irrefutable evidence from investigative journalism that his December statement was wrong.
Which gets back to the distraction from doing the job as MHA for Mt. Pearl, and as the Parliamentary Assistant to Natural Resources Minister Jerome Kennedy, not to mention the erosion of his credibility. His personal credibility is on the line, tangled up in an external situation that is not of his making.
Another issue, that I think deserves discussion, is the amount of time, and
the distraction that this issue, and role, takes away from the jobs voters,
and the Premier, entrusted Kent with. I would be remiss to state that
other MHA's have taken issue with colleagues that they are moonlighting in other roles.
Is his role of being the chief defender of a scandal plagued Scouts
organization compatible with being an MHA and his party?
Kent is a sincere fella but he needs to make a decision, resign his volunteer role as commissioner or resign his job as MHA. It is time to declare his priorities.
The voters in this province should not be subsidizing Scouts Canada as they are made to atone for their past mistakes.