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

  • Can an Indigenous police force replace RCMP on Wet'suwet'en land? 'Not tomorrow,' Blair says

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- After the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake offered to replace RCMP officers on Wet’suwet’en territory with their own Indigenous peacekeeping force in order to help satisfy one of the main concerns of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said such a solution wouldn’t happen any time soon. Source
  • Canadians find thousands of dollars in unclaimed cheques on CRA website

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- A little known feature on the Canada Revenue Agency’s website is leading people to hundreds, even thousands, of dollars in unclaimed government cheques. The recently released tool, found in the My Account portal, allows you to view and collect any cheques you may have missed from the tax agency, dating back as long as you have been filing taxes. Source
  • Calgary police now admit 2 officers used controversial Clearview AI facial-recognition software

    Canada News CBC News
    After previously denying they had used a controversial facial-recognition app that harvested billions of personal photos from social media, Calgary police now say some officers did, in fact, use the Clearview AI software. "The Calgary Police Service does not use Clearview AI in any official capacity," police said in a written statement sent to CBC News on Friday afternoon. Source
  • Best director win for Polanski prompts boos, walkouts at César Awards in France

    World News CBC News
    Roman Polanski, who faces accusations of rape, won France's César Award for best directing for his film An Officer and a Spy on Friday, prompting several actors to walk out of the ceremony in protest. Polanski was not at the event, the biggest night in French cinema's calendar, saying earlier that he feared for his safety. Source
  • See you at the Supreme Court, Ottawa responds, after Alberta demands carbon tax be lifted

    Canada News CBC News
    On Monday, Alberta's top court declared the federal carbon tax unconstitutional. On Wednesday, the province's justice minister demanded that the federal government remove the levy and reimburse what Albertans have already paid. On Friday, the federal government responded: See you in court. Source
  • See you at the Supreme Court, Ottawa says after Alberta demands carbon tax be killed

    Canada News CBC News
    On Monday, Alberta's top court declared the federal carbon tax unconstitutional. On Wednesday, the province's justice minister demanded that the federal government remove the levy and reimburse what Albertans have already paid. On Friday, the federal government responded: See you in court. Source
  • Bundle of joy who can't wait for Mom to get to hospital makes grand entrance in hotel lobby

    Canada News CTV News
    HANWELL, N.B. -- Yesterday's storm brought more than snow and ice as a little bundle of joy wasn't waiting for Mom to make it to the hospital. Staff at a Fredericton-area hotel jumped into action when a guest went into labour. Source
  • Dog found with glue in his ears and legs tied together ‘making a quick turnaround’: vet

    World News CTV News
    TORONTO -- A dog left for dead in an Oklahoma field with his legs strapped together and glue poured into his ears has survived and is making a “quick turnaround,” a veterinarian says. The Humane Society of Tulsa was contacted by local police on Thursday about a mutt that was left stranded with chemical burns on his face and food wrappers shoved into his ears with glue. Source
  • U.S., Taliban set peace signing for America's longest war

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- America's longest war may finally be nearing an end. The United States and the Islamists it toppled from power in Afghanistan are poised to sign a peace deal Saturday after a conflict that outlasted two U.S. Source
  • 'Greta' decal condemned in House of Commons

    Canada News CTV News
    EDMONTON -- WARNING: The content below may be distressing to readers. A disturbing decal which appeared to use the likeness of 17-year-old climate change activist Greta Thunberg has been condemned in Canada's House of Commons. Source