B.C. ministry wants to stop Metis foster parents' petition to keep toddler

VANCOUVER -- The British Columbia government is fighting an attempt by Metis foster parents to stop the province from moving a two-year-old girl to Ontario to live with her older siblings.

See Full Article

The caregivers in Ontario are not Metis, raising questions about whether the child is better off with her siblings -- who she has never met -- or with parents she shares a cultural background with.

Keith Henry, president of the Metis Federation of B.C., said Thursday that sending the girl several provinces away to a non-Metis family is "completely inappropriate."

"What we believe needs to happen is Metis children being brought up and raised in culturally aware families, so they know the culture," he said.

Henry's organization, which represents more than 1,600 Metis members, filed an application to intervene in the case in B.C. Supreme Court on Thursday. The judge did not make a decision on the application.

By law, the Ministry of Children and Family Development must give preference to placing aboriginal children and youth in aboriginal homes. When that's not possible or in the child's best interest, a social worker must seek approval from a committee made up of First Nations, Metis and child-welfare representatives.

The Metis Commission for Children and Families of B.C. said it sits on that committee as the official authority that acts on behalf of Metis children in the child protection services system.

Commission CEO Eva Coles said a cultural plan has been worked on for several months to ensure that the Metis community remains involved in the child's life.

"It is our view that a placement with biological family (siblings) and preserving their family bond is one form of keeping the Metis community intact," she said in a statement.

In court on Thursday, a lawyer for the ministry argued that a judge already dismissed a petition filed by the foster parents to keep the girl in the province last December.

Leah Greathead said a second petition filed earlier this month is an attempt to relitigate a case that's already been decided.

"What's at stake is respect of the judicial process," Greathead told the judge.

"Their remedy is in the Court of Appeal. It's not to ask another B.C. Supreme Court judge to weigh in a second time."

The foster parents, who can't be named, say the little girl has bonded with them.

"There's overwhelming evidence that my clients are excellent parents," their lawyer, Jack Hittrich, said in an interview. "There's essentially no reason why this little girl's life should be disrupted.

"My clients are the only parents that she's ever known. They've had her since she was three days old and they've had her for almost two and a half years."

Hittrich said the second petition is not an abuse of process because it raises a constitutional argument that was not in the first petition.

He said the child did not have standing in the first case and the court did not consider her charter rights to have the adoption process based on her best interests.

"As of now, there is no real mechanism for a court to look at what is in the best interests of the little girl," he said. "That discretion is essentially assigned to (the ministry). That's profoundly unreasonable."

The soonest the petition could be heard is March and Hittrich is in court this week to seek an interim custody order to prevent the ministry from relocating the girl in the meantime.

The Ministry of Children and Family Development said a child's best interest is the first and foremost consideration in planning for their permanent accommodations.

"The ministry is legally responsible for making placement decisions for children and youth in care that are in the best interest of those young people," said spokesman Bill Anderson.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Sask. RCMP charge man in abduction that sparked Amber Alert last Sunday

    Canada News CTV News
    NORTH BATTLEFORD, Sask. -- Saskatchewan RCMP have arrested a man following an investigation into the abduction of a girl who was in a stolen vehicle that sparked an Amber Alert last Sunday. The girl had been left in the back of her parents' running Mercedes that was taken from outside a strip mall in North Battleford. Source
  • Ontario couple reunited with child's missing ashes

    Canada News CTV News
    A homeless couple in London, Ont., has been reunited with a missing teddy bear that holds their son’s ashes. “Whoever did have him, thank you for putting him somewhere that somebody could find him and bring him back to me,” Mandy Clewlow told CTV London. Source
  • Six siblings of Arizona Republican urge voters: don't re-elect our brother

    World News CTV News
    It’s hard to get six siblings to agree on anything. But the family of Republican congressman Paul Gosar, who is running for re-election in a deeply conservative Arizona district, has offered a unified message to voters in a blistering political attack ad. Source
  • U.S. to increase pressure on Venezuela, secretary of state says

    World News CBC News
    The U.S. is preparing a "series of actions" in the coming days to increase pressure on the Venezuelan government, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News on Friday. CBC IN COLOMBIALeaving Venezuela: How Colombia is shouldering a migration crisis Source
  • B.C. premier apologizes for removal of 1950s totem pole

    Canada News CTV News
    SURREY, B.C. -- Three First Nations in British Columbia gathered Friday to raise a restored replica totem pole at a Canada-U.S. border crossing -- a decade after it was removed by the province without notice. Source
  • 'I want to lose my fear': Toronto Danforth shooting victim still haunted by what he saw

    Canada News CBC News
    For one month, Ali Demircan was left without support, reliving the moment a gunman tried to take his life along Toronto's Danforth Avenue. He claims a city program set up to assist people in the aftermath of mass casualty events failed to promptly arrange the counselling he needed to come to terms with what he saw. Source
  • Trump reverses course, delays Russia probe documents

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday delayed his own order to declassify and release documents from the FBI's Russia investigation, saying the Justice Department and U.S. allies have raised security concerns about their disclosure. Source
  • Tornado tears through Ottawa-Gatineau

    Canada News CBC News
    At least three homes were levelled in Dunrobin on Grasshopper Lane Friday afternoon as storms tore across the Ottawa-Gatineau area. The capital region has been under several weather warnings, including a severe thunderstorm warning and a tornado warning. Source
  • 'Devastating' tornado tears through Ottawa-Gatineau

    Canada News CBC News
    A tornado tore through parts of Ottawa and Gatineau, Que., on Friday, seriously injuring four people, flattening buildings and knocking out power for almost 150,000 homes and businesses. The twister touched down in Dunrobin — a rural community in Ottawa's west end, where multiple homes were severely damaged — before heading east across the Ottawa River toward Gatineau Park, according to Environment Canada. Source
  • Airliner has 'near miss' with drone on approach to Vancouver

    Canada News CBC News
    A Jazz airliner flying into Vancouver had a "near miss" with a large drone on Tuesday, prompting renewed safety calls and an appeal for information from the RCMP. The plane, inbound from Saskatoon, was flying at 7,000 feet when its crew spotted the drone. Source