On April 22nd I wrote an OPEN LETTER to Bruce McNeill requesting him to instruct his legal counsel to withdraw the official objection to the Baynes' application to have their two sons returned to them immediately, the conclusion of the court hearing for continuing custody notwithstanding. He responded on April 27th with an expression of appreciation for my interest and concern for the Bayne family and with the explanation that it was inappropriate for him to comment to me about this matter given that it was before the Court.
An Open Letter is one which is addressed to a person but is intended for general readership and for public attention. My Open Letter was not only posted to my blog but was sent specifically to key individuals in Ministry positions and news services. I am pleased to have read it in the Chilliwack Valley Voice April 23rd. (scroll through pages to locate the piece).
I am grateful that so many people in government and MCFD positions in Vancouver, Victoria, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Chilliwack, Prince George and elsewhere consider the issues expressed on this blog with regard to Child Protection and the practices of MCFD, to be important enough to regularly read them. I am appreciative as well that you pay attention to Paul and Zabeth Bayne and their three children as they seek to be restored as a family.
This spot today is not an open letter. It is rather me talking out loud, albeit pretending that Mr. McNeill is with me at a coffee shop.
Mr. McNeill, I know that while you may want to consult with colleagues like Mr. Boon and Mr. Fitzimmons and others, you could return all three children to the Bayne parents today. It is within the purview of your authority to grant this reprieve, this mercy. You are not bound to carry through your earlier directive to Finn Jensen to obtain a Court ruling to continue Ministry care of these three children. You are not obligated to continue to rest the lives of an entire family upon the diagnosis of one respected doctor. That may be customary practice and protocol but it is not mandatory. Have you read the detailed alternate opinions by a dozen qualified professionals? That must tell you that the first diagnosis was plausible but imprecise and not fully informed. Don't let these small children suffer any more. Please don't take them away from their parents for ever. I recognize that you have a team working for you and you are involved only from a distance. I wish that for this case you would do something unusual. I wish that you would visit with Paul and Zabeth yourself, in their home. Sure it would be awkward for you and for them. You would not have to go with offers, conditions or expectations but merely to determine whether in a short visit you could know them. Why would you do that? Because you have more in common with them than many people know. Would it mean that you could know what people are like in private or what they might do in secret? Of course that would be a stretch. Yet I have a sense that once past the manifest awkwardness, you would understand this couple so well that you would reconsider all the information that has defined your decisions this far. I was a pastor as you may know, for forty years. I cannot imagine making life changing decisions with regard to someone else's family without personally spending time with them. You would conclude that they are not adversaries at all but rather a brother and sister. The circumstances create this atmosphere of opposition. Thanks for meeting me for coffee.