B.C. ministry bars Metis toddler from attending event in her honour

VANCOUVER -- A foster mother fighting to adopt a Metis toddler she has raised since birth says she's outraged that British Columbia's Children's Ministry has barred the girl from attending a cultural event in her honour.

See Full Article

The Vancouver Island woman, who cannot be identified, said the ministry has told her the girl will not be allowed to attend a fundraiser and potluck hosted by the B.C. Metis Federation on Saturday.

"It made no sense," she said. "Here they are saying that cultural identity is important and yet at the same time, they're not allowing her to take part in this cultural activity and not allowing her to be in a culturally sensitive home."

She and her husband have launched a court petition to adopt the two-and-a-half-year-old girl. The ministry is fighting the adoption because it plans to move her to Ontario to live with her older siblings, who she has never met.

The foster mother is Metis, while the caregivers in Ontario are not, pitting the importance of indigenous culture against blood relatives.

The ministry said the gathering was advertised as an opportunity to meet the toddler, which is a violation of legislation that protects the identity of children in government care.

"Supporting children to participate in cultural events is entirely consistent with B.C.'s child welfare legislation and in their best interests," the ministry said in a statement.

"However, the legislation also has provisions to protect the identity of any child who is receiving services from the ministry."

The ministry retains legal guardianship of foster children, so it does have the power to prevent the child from attending the event.

The foster mother said she has taken great care to keep the girl's identity private, especially in the media. She said the ministry's explanation appears to be an "excuse" and suggested the government was trying to avoid further publicity about the case.

"We go to church every Sunday. Everybody there knows who she is. She lives in the community. Everybody on the street knows who she is," said the woman.

"We are more interested than anyone in protecting her in every possible way, but you can't shelter her and keep her in the house."

The foster mother still plans to attend Saturday's event, which is set to feature Metis jiggers and fiddlers, fundraising for the family's legal bills and a chance for the community to meet and support the family.

Keith Henry, president of the B.C. Metis Federation, has written a letter to Children's Minister Stephanie Cadieux and Premier Christy Clark demanding that they reverse the decision.

"We have every right to share culture with this family," he said in an interview. "What they're doing is basically saying to the rest of the Metis community, 'If you fight us, this is going to be what your consequences are.' That's ridiculous."

Henry's organization has filed an application to intervene in the foster parents' court case.

A B.C. Supreme Court judge has yet to decide whether to allow the foster parents' petition to proceed. The ministry has argued it is an abuse of process since a judge already dismissed a similar petition filed by the couple last year.

If the judge denies the petition, the girl could be moved to Ontario shortly after.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • 'A really important discussion': Trudeau weighs in on name of Edmonton's CFL team

    Canada News CBC News
    Edmonton needs to talk about the name of its football team, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley both said in Ottawa on Wednesday. Trudeau was asked about the name Edmonton Eskimos at a news conference. Source
  • Former IWK CEO removed from 100 most powerful women list

    Canada News CBC News
    The former CEO of the IWK Health Centre has been removed from a list of Canada's most powerful women, an award created by the Women's Executive Network. A spokesperson for the organization that says it is dedicated to the advancement and recognition of professional women confirmed Tracy Kitch was named to the top 100 list before she became the subject of an investigation for charging personal expenses to the IWK Health Centre, a women and children's hospital in Halifax. Source
  • Police release better photos of $86K-Rolex-watch thief suspect

    Canada News CBC News
    Police put out better photos Wednesday in hopes of catching the person who stole an $86,000 Rolex watch from Lime Ridge Mall in July. Rolex refers to it as the "ultimate" watch. Police previously said a man walked into Ashley Jewellers at the mall on Saturday afternoon in July and said he wanted to buy a high end, platinum watch from Rolex called the "Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona. Source
  • Why your child support payments may be adjusted, starting today

    Canada News CTV News
    If you pay or receive child support, you may see the monthly amounts change now that the Department of Justice has updated the federal child support tables. The child support adjustments took effect Wednesday, and reflect new personal income tax rules, which lowered the tax rate for Canadians earning between $45,282 and $90,563 per year and raised the tax rate for those earning over $200,000 annually. Source
  • Canadian general who led UN force in Sarajevo commends Mladic conviction

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- A retired Canadian major-general who led a United Nations force in Sarajevo is commending an international court for convicting former Bosnian Serb general Ratko Mladic to life in prison for genocide and other crimes. Source
  • Search underway for man and child who set out from Igloolik by snowmobile

    Canada News CBC News
    A man and a boy are missing after setting out on a snowmobile to travel from Igloolik to Hall Beach, Nunavut. The two communities are now conducting a joint search and rescue operation for the man, in his 20s, and a 13-year-old boy, says Igloolik Mayor Celestino Uyarak. Source
  • Hope dwindles for families of lost Argentina submarine crew

    World News CTV News
    MAR DEL PLATA, Argentina -- Federico Ibanez clings to a fence crowded with blue-and-white Argentine flags, rosary beads and messages of support for his brother and 43 other crew members of a missing submarine that should have arrived to a naval base days ago. Source
  • Maple madness: Axe-wielding vandal ruins over 1,000 litres of maple syrup

    World News CTV News
    BRISTOL, Vt. -- Vermont State Police are investigating a case of vandalism in which someone used an axe to cut holes into eight barrels of maple syrup, causing about 300 gallons to leak onto the floor of the sugar house where it was being stored. Source
  • White nationalist reportedly banned from 26 European nations

    World News CTV News
    A leading figure in the U.S. white nationalist movement said Wednesday that he hasn't received government confirmation of his reported ban from entering more than two dozen European countries. Poland's state-run news agency PAP says Polish authorities banned Richard Spencer from entering 26 countries in Europe's visa-free Schengen area for five years. Source
  • Wildlife group challenges B.C.'s interpretation of law on destroying bears

    Canada News CTV News
    VANCOUVER -- A wildlife advocacy group is accusing the British Columbia government of not following its own law on the destruction of bears by conservation officers. The Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals, also known as the Fur-Bearers, has filed a court petition challenging an officer's decision to kill a black bear cub near Dawson Creek in May 2016. Source