Thursday, November 25, 2010

PROUD MARY KEEPS ON BURNING/ Part 378 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

Mary Polak has been treated fairly on my blog. I report what is to be reported. I have not taken unkind shots at her. Perhaps I am like one hundred other journalists who are politically polite. Not so Alex G. Tsakumis, an insider, politically savvy writer, whose blog is easily the most straight-shooting prose you will find in cyberspace. So if you want another good way to fill five minutes of every day, check out his Rebel with a Cause site.

Some days ago, when Bill Bennet was getting axed by his Liberal Caucus amigos, Alex wrote a post. Mary Polak had been tiptoeing to explain the Cultus Lake incident in which for nine days a disabled girl was stuck with her dead mother's body. Straight-shooting means that sometimes the target gets wounded or dead. Tsakumis' target was proud Mary and the article was entitled, 'Bill Bennett Booted but Mary Polak Rewarded?! Democracy in B.C. Politics–Non-Existent.'.

I have pasted the article in its entirety here because I am very concerned about the governance of our province, and particularly now as it relates to the welfare of children and their families.
“Think about this. On all the news programs and in the papers this morning, and for the last week, we are consumed with the story of a 14 year-old Down syndrome girl, who for nine days, soaked in her own urine and excrement, was trying to nurse back to life her mother’s rotting corpse.

But this is apparently of no interest to presumptive Premier Kevin Falcon, or contender Rich Coleman, or dreamer George Abbott and the deeply delusional, ‘Basi-Virk’ excuse pinch-hitter Mike DeJong. NOT ONE of them stood up in Cabinet today and demanded Children and Families Minister Mary Polak be immediately fired.

Why should Proud Mary, Gordon Campbell’s chief loyalist in caucus be fired?

Read on.

After the young girl’s two courageous brothers begged the Ministry of Children and Families to intervene two months ago and extract the girl from her alcoholic and drug addicted mother, the Ministry, in turn, left the child in a definitively at-risk position, where if she had not been discovered when she was, within two days, she too would have perished.

In subsequent interviews, Minister Polak, in what I can charitably describe as a woman suffering from the most severe case of PMS in the history of the menstrual cycle, mouth frothing with indignation, high-gloss manicured claws growing, proceeded to provide the most disgusting display of media deflection and excuse-peddling I’ve seen in years–angry, defiant and nasty. Sound familiar?

But Polak’s Campbell-fueled fib factory is rewarded with the crown for winning ‘Survivor of the Dimmest’. Not a single Cabinet member went after her for such a despicable display. Not one of them cares about the fact that Judge Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, MCFD watchdog, has written a letter to the Minister complaining that the incident with the Prentice family was not only NOT reported to her, but never even booked by the Ministry.

That was a week ago.

No response from Deputy Minister Lesley DuToit (a hand-picked Campbellite) or Minister Polak herself whose is content to gloriously writhe under the cover of the Campbell tartan.

She doesn’t care. She fabricates conditions upon which this near double tragedy unfurled. She takes a position most offside of an honest word.

And yet Bill Bennett is jettisoned by his Cabinet colleagues for telling the truth. Mind, if Bennett felt the throne was occupied by the wrong royal, what was he doing sitting at the round table for as long as he did?

Only in Gordon Campbell’s universe do you survive for being a rube or a charlatan. If you tell the truth, they rip the phone from your hands and send a disgraced Cabinet member to display your head on a stick.

While Mary sits, laughing…”
Clearly Alex doesn't want to sit with her to fix things. He merely thinks she and others deserve to be gone.
Post title suggested by the song Proud Mary, written by John Fogerty and made famous by Credence Clearwater Revival and by Tina Turner, and the Post theme derived from Mary Polak, Minister of Children, B.C.


  1. This case will actually work in the favour of the child protection industry. What it will accomplish is this: more sympathy for the notion that the child protectors would be able to do their job, if only government would support them (as if MCFD isn't government), and give them more workers, more money, and more power. It will be presented - as these cases are - as a failure due to lack of resources.

    The tone of righteous indignation taken by the various journalists who act as if they are "in the know" is exactly what the child protection industry loves to hear, as this is exactly the tone will stir up those who are are heart pro-government, and exactly the crowd who will cheer on more inquiries, which will in turn lead to more laws and more funding for child protection, or rather the industry.

    If Turpel-Lafond was really doing her job, and not just trying to capitalize on a juicy story (disabled girl sits in her own urine, trying to nurse mom back to life), she would be dealing with all the families like the Baynes and all the children in foster care who are living a hellish existence. Turpel-Lafond either was, or claims she was, subject to an abusive childhood, with alchoholic parents. Just like so many others who enter the child protection industry, she sees everything through her past, and therefore can much more easily identify with the idea of parents as losers and abusers, than good, loving parents such as the Baynes who are falsely accused. Turpel-Lafond's term is up next November. She needs something to move on to - she needs to make her mark. This case will help her do that. Let's watch and see where she goes from here (after November 2011 that is). You can bet she won't turn out to be any Nancy Schaefer.


  2. The referenced site has little visibility on the problems of MCFD. People should post comments similar to the one I just left:

    Lets not dump on poor Mary Polak too much, as she IS doing the job Mr. Campbell intended her to perform. Replacing her will make no difference as she has no control over her own Ministry.

    Just two examples include the penile testing process of children that went on unnoticed for dozens of years, and a news release MCFD would just make a new law to prevent the release of MCFD's "private information" to Ms. Turpel La-Fonde.

    SOME children are protected -- to the hilt. Those 50% of aboriginal chidren removed from their poverty-stricken parents to name one example. This figure is 85% in other Provinces. Quebec is really nasty.

    The site that referred me to today's blog that quotes the entirety of today's article:

    If you want to know where all that child welfare money is going and whose children are being "protected" at the expense of other more needy childen, take a look at this blog and its single-subject examination of how MCFD is treating just ONE family MCFD has intervened with.

    The parents of this family are accused of shaken baby syndrome (SBS) resulting in the removal of all three children three years ago. They have been in legal limbo since. A 22-day trial completed in October, with three of those days occupied by MCFD proscecutor in his closing argument. This is not a complex MURDER trial, this is a case of one doctor diagnosing in instance of suspected SBS.

    All three children are fine, exceptionally healthy, and amazingly still strongly attached to the family after this ordeal, and the parents regularly post photos on their facebook site.

    The Province (not just the MCFD Ministry) cannot afford to lose this case because so much is invested in anti-SBS campaigns. Hence, the million-dollar plus expenditure and 3+ years of litigation. The funds spent on this one case alone would keep all those schools open the Education Ministry insists on closing.

    If you want to know where all that child welfare is going, and what Proud Mary has been hired to keep "private," it is necessary to dig deeper.

    If you search this blog [] for "Ministry of Children and Family Development" there is no visibility on the fundamental problems, as there are only two stories, today's and one this past June. I would be expecting more coverage to further justify a call for Mary's head.

    The question I have is, how is it that Mary Polak, head of the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) has gotten this far relatively unscathed?

    Ms. Polak inherited a Ministry whose focus is on the "protection" aspect that feeds the majority of their 1.3 billion dollar budget to foster care costs, legal battles, and third party services such as supervised access, counselling, psychologists and abuse specialists, NOT for the benefit of poverty-stricken parents for which this Ministry has but one solution, removal.

    Privacy, as one commenter noted, primarily protects the Ministry, not the children who do not have jobs and a reputation that needs this level of protection. A very few brave parents, such as the Baynes forgo this privacy to bring attention to government abuses. I count eight public protests, many in front of Gordon Campbell's office. That must have made him angry.

    The newly appointed Provincial Chief Justice, Thomas Crabtree presiding over this case decided in this case to lift publication ban, which is a nice precident to see. Is this judge immune to someone like Mary Polak, who might call him up to hear in advance what his ruling might be, and how the case might somehow be spun to put a positive light on MCFD?

    I submit that this is Ms. Polak's job, to serve the Premier who hired her first, not the children and families of this Province.

  3. The first commenter is correct in their assessment of how the Ministry can spin the abandoned girl case to protect their budget, and perhaps even to have it increased.

    A "focus on the child" as noted by a Times Colonist guest social worker will indeed spawn a new quest to remove MORE children at the mere thought of the mere chance of Harm, which is exactly what happened to the Baynes.

    The fault of the social workers is not that they did not remove, it is that they did not listen to early concerns and provide remedial and preventative services, and made no effort identify and reduce risk. Just providing respite care would have allowed an observer to report back on the family situation.

    One commenter revealed the home had no telephone so people could not even contact the family. The house was not tidy. The mom was anti-social with family and neighbors. The child was not in school, the mother was not working, and was a substance abuser. There was no way for MCFD to monitor the situation without personal visits, which has to result in a greatly increased risk score. The brothers took action to remove the child on their own and were not supported by the Ministry.

    The sheer volume of available information, without looking at further 'private' details indicates a gross level of incompetance by social workers who DELIBERATELY did not do their job.

    There are enough of these type of examples that suggests social workers deliberatley and routinely ignore high risk cases because they know they will eventually blow up and can be capitalized on.

    The Ministry can reap the windfall of publicity to claim they are underfunded and overwhelmed by unscrupulous parents refusing their valiant attempts to provide assistance given their meager resources.

    The point here is Ms. Polak is covering for the people who chose to keep this situation even from her. THIS is the core problem. Removing her will not solve this problem, as her replacement will do the same thing. Tom Christensen, her predecessor had the same problem.

  4. This post above by anonymous is a demonstration of how much effort has to be expended by people of a free society in order to keep any semblance of freedom.
    I checked out the youtube video that was noted on Bayne Campaign for Justice and it, along with others showing interviews with Tony Blair, opens a window to the thinking of these social and political engineers.
    In the past, I had no acquaintances who suffered through a child kidnapping by MCFD until this happened with the Baynes. I knew there was some terrible stuff happening and I tried to persuade people to become educated and involved as much as busy families are able. Herein lies a problem. Universities design courses for unwitting students saying we need to destroy and then redesign society quietly. Only a few don't buy.
    The rest of us are so busy and hand over responsibility for the running of government to ambitious politicians and social revisionists.
    I am grateful for people such as the writer of the above anonymous; for this blog decimating information and providing opportunity for information gathering; for heroes such as Doug Christie and Paul and Zabeth who have the courage to stand and war for family and for righteous judgment; for friends like Ron Unruh, Ray Ferris and the good people who attend court sessions so Baynes do not stand alone and humiliated amongst vicious dogs. We are indebted! Thank you

  5. is an interesting document that outlines the things child protection authorities routinely do in the U.S. that are in violation of the US Constitution.

    This site oddly disables copy and paste. Note even the URL can be copied!

    A Canadian version of this document for how MCFD actions violates the Charter is required.

  6. A useful quote from the Connecticut DCF Watch site:

    "While a virtual blank check is available to prosecute families, programs to aid families are being cut back or withdrawn."

  7. The case of the mentally disabled girl who lay beside her dead mother's body for a number of days is like a dream-come-true for the child protection industry. Here's why:

    1) It reinforces the notion that every single call to child protective services MUST be acted upon, or else;

    2) It reinforces the notion that missing school or home schooling is always to be associated with child abuse or child neglect, and every single child in such a situation should be investigated and preferably taken from their parents;

    3) It reinforces the notion that Child protection workers are overworked;

    4) It reinforces the notion that Child protection is underfunded;

    5) It reinforces the notion there needs to be more laws to ensure this doesn't happen again (for example);

    (a) laws to increase the scope of what are deemed "mandatory reporters;" and,

    (b) laws to increase the punishment of mandated reporters who do not report.

    6) It suggests that all disabled children should be in care, or very closely monitored.

    7) It suggests that all alchoholics should have their children taken from them; the very fact they are alchoholics mean they abuse and / or neglect their children.

    8) It suggest that if you think someone is a-social, weird, different, reclusive, or you haven't seen them or their kid for awhile, you better call Child Protective Services, or you could end up with a guilty conscience, not to mention civil and criminal legal penalties.

    9) It suggests that siblings better not help other siblings, or they could be charged with kidnapping.

    10) Last, but by no means least, this horror story is a dream-come-true for the child protection industry because there will be - as there always is after such stories - a spike in reports of child abuse or child neglect.

    No doubt the list could be longer.

  8. Anon 12:26
    I was able to copy and paste the site content

  9. I thought I would bring something to your attention mabye you can check up on it as the Legislation of the Child Family Community Services Act is bogus what dose it take the government to understand that it isn't working
    give me a brake what it boils down to is enough
    familes inlcuding the Baynes are going to get mad enough and sue the government if you know what I mean because people like my self can only tolerate so much crap from the MCFD there going to say hey you have no right to intimidate me or treat me this way and the MCFD is going to have to deal with that and so will the legislative assembly and the policy under the Child Family and Community Services Act is causing more harm than good and look at the MCFD social workers who follow the stupid legilsation one flaw and one error in judment and family has to go to court for three years because of some social workers lack of judgement or dosent even get the legislation right. Seriously aren't qaulified and I am fed up with the fact the mcfd or government in BC just hides under this falty pice of you know what legislation with their excuses all in all it is burocrap and families will one day have enough we need a legislation that works not this you know what that hasn't for years and I think that is obvious I just really needed to vent and I sincerely look for ward to your response!

  10. Your contributors remind us of some good points that repeatedly occur on your blog. Mary Polak is indeed powerless. She is not allowed by law to intervene in any decisions of staff. Nor is Dutoit. All the power is with the directors and is stated in the act. All Dutoit can do is to remove a director, but she cannot overrule.Same for Polak. The previous ministry for social services, later split into the children's ministry became known as a ministers' graveyard. Only two ministers that I can recall could stand up to the top bureaucrats. One was Grace McCarthy and the other was Joy McPhail.
    Polak can only repeat the spin prepared for her by Dutoit. To deviate she would have to get permission from the Premier's deputy minister. Nobody gets to think for themselves if they want to sit at the cabinet table. She could say something like. "I fully share the concerns of Ms. Turpel-Lafonde and I will make a full inquiry as to how this was allowed to happen." She would be off the hook and would be committed to nothing. Instead she made the dumb statement that they had not had time to assess the potential injury.
    The basic underlying problem is that the ministry for children is no longer accountable to the legislature. They also flout the laws passed by the legislature with impunity. One only has to look at the Bayne case to see the proof of this. The only way to start on the long and arduous road to reform is to completely amend the legislation. Give the minister more powers. give the legislative committee more power and above all give the youth and child rep some real teeth. It should be possible to sue the ministry for incompetence and failure in duty of care, without having to prove bad faith. The next problem would be to help the inter-party child welfare committee to figure out how to apply their new mandate.

  11. Anon 4:51 PM
    I would like to respond to your comment but I have had a bit of difficulty, I suppose because you are texting I think from a hand held phone and the comment has no punctuation so is a long run-on sentence. But I made my way through and vent you did. But I fail to see what you thought I should check. The CFCSA is the act that authorizes MCFD to do what it does and yes MCFD takes advantage of it, doesn't follow the rules sometimes, and yes I believe that families will one day rise up and demand changes. In part, that is the reason for a blog like this, to help generate movement. A lot of people are fed up like you.

  12. Ray says above:

    "All the power is with the directors and is stated in the act. All Dutoit can do is to remove a director, but she cannot overrule. Same for Polak."


    The ability to remove a director is quite a bit of power, I would think.

    And if I'm correct, isn't Bruce McNeil a director who has caused a lot of problems for at least 2 families, as well as one individual, that being the Baynes, and the man who ran into problems with MCFD because he was falsely accused of child abuse years earlier and the false allegations were kept on his file (google "Bruce McNeil" and you will find the lawsuit against MCFD and Bruce McNeil, as well as a separate family's case on Facebook).

    And while it may be true that there is nothing (apart from removing directors, which is something, I would think) that politicians can do if they only are interested in keeping their jobs, there are politicians who have spoken out against their party, and, from the looks of it, had great support from the public. If du Toit and Turpel-Lafond really cared about children, they would say the heck with my job, I'm going to tell the truth and save countless innnocent children from a horrible fate.

    Too many people in government only care about keeping their cushy jobs, at the expense and heartache of innocent victims who suffer horribly because of their silence. That's corruption at its worst, and should never be confused with an inability to act.

    The truth must be told when the stakes are so high. Even if only ONE child had to suffer a life in foster care because of a corrupt ministry, it would be worth it for these politicians and child representatives to tell the truth.

    Their hands are not tied. They have the option of exposing the corruption. They chose not to, because to do so might jeopardize their financial situation and / or power.



  13. I lost my faith in Mary Ellen from the recent case of the disabled daughter with the mother. THe case paints parents who are MCFD involved as slovenly and dysfunctional. I would prefer the focus to be on parents who are wrongly accused. Instead it is insinuated that there needs to be even more ministry intervention in families. Obviously Mary Ellen believes in the system. SHe is part of the system herself. I had my children in a kith and kin arrangement. It has been a struggle to keep up my good relationship with my mom as she is very friendly with my social worker and I don't like that. However, it has been good for my children. Of all things Mary Ellen is trying to end this program.

  14. Anon 10:07 PM Nov 29 Monday
    Are you talking about Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond or Mary Polak (Minister of Children)? I get the sense that you are using the wrong name for the person to whom you want to refer and who is referenced in the blog post today.


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