Tuesday, January 4, 2011

JOSEF FISHER / Part 408 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

Josef Fisher has sometimes written comments on this blog site. At times I have taken exception to his angry writing. Recently, Josef requested that someone convert thousands of words from his sometimes incoherent English writing into a compelling introductory page for his blog.  I don't know why, but I took it on. He needed help. In gratitude Josef contributed a financial gift to the Bayne Trust Fund.  What you read now is a longer post than usual but it is a poignant fifteen year story of brokenness. MCFD is involved in breaking the man. 

Josef did not foresee that his dream of a free and happy life in Canada would turn out so tragically. Josef Fisher was born in Czechoslovakia in 1954 and in 1987 he fled communism to come to Canada. He is a naturalized Canadian living in Vancouver today. He is a broken man.

As an army officer in a small Czechoslovakian town Josef met a Cuban worker named Milene. Milene became pregnant and in 1985 returned to Cuba for their baby's birth. They named their son Yosef (later called Joe). Sadly Milene died eight days after Joe's birth. Milene's two sisters and mother took care of the boy until he was twelve.

Meanwhile Josef met a fellow Czechoslovakian named Iva in Italy where he was in a refugee camp for two years. He emigrated to Canada first and when she arrived ten months later, they were married. They briefly lived in Toronto where their daughter was born and they then moved to Vancouver in August 1991. In time, a son was born. After some interviews in 1995 Josef and Iva became foster parents receiving children from MCFD. They could not have known how MCFD involvement would change their lives. Some foster children from abusive backgrounds exhibited sexually aberrant behaviour which the Fishers reported and satisfactorily handled.

When his grandmother died in Cuba in 1997, Josef's son Joe requested to live in Canada with the Fishers. Fishers were still fostering children when they received Joe. After five months and on his first Christmas Eve in Canada, the Fishers learned that Joe had touched their six year old daughter indecently on several occasions. Joe was mortified by what he had done. While this sybling indiscretion could have been handled by the Fishers themselves, they trusted MCFD, so the Fishers notified their family doctor and MCFD. MCFD was initially satisfied with precautions taken by Fishers but then made accusations that they did not protect the children and MCFD installed 24 hour homemakers to monitor the family until a police investigation was done. A SW accused the Fishers of potential parental sexual exploitation which the social worker later acknowledged to be untrue. The frightened boy was interrogated by a Vancouver Police Sexual Offenses Squad detective who concluded the boy was remorseful and there was no risk of re-offending and no charge would be laid but also that counseling was needed for the boy's threats to harm himself.

Joe was twelve and terrified by social and psychiatric professionals. All members of the Fisher biological family were ordered into counselling. Josef and Iva felt victimized by a system that did not listen, assumed falsely, repeatedly made accusations and shut them out of consultations with their son. Their family future was being planned without them. Having fled communism, they were experiencing government interference and were helpless. They delivered requests for help to officials in early 1998. Their foster home was closed in 1998. Fishers were not permitted to say goodbye to the last foster child removed on Mother's Day in May 1998. Iva and Josef had to have mental health assessments. They refused. They cancelled the voluntary care agreement. They were threatened that Joe would be charged with sexual assault and their own children removed. Fishers were perceived as being unwilling for their children to receive therapeutic help.

They made appeals to anyone and everyone. Josef repeatedly complained to police and MCFD, the Attorney General, the Representative of Children, to MLA's, to MPs, the Civil Liberties Commission and the Canadian Human Rights Commission alleging Human Rights violations. Initial sympathy always resulted in disappointment. Their children's teachers and their family doctor commended the Fishers and deplored MCFD's treatment. Sympathetic professionals sought to intervene but were squelched by MCFD. Young Joe needed a Spanish translation to understand. Mr. Fisher's own ability to express himself in English was always a challenge and his growing anxiety was expressed in ways that social workers felt offended and threatened. For the first time his mental health was questioned and the audio recording of the police interrogation is on his blog. As his helplessness increased, Mr. Fisher acted irrationally and he was arrested for uttering threats, then released. Josef's complaints were seen as inflammatory, harsh, libelous and slanderous. Judges would not listen to the Fishers' charges. Josef was viewed as a risk, obsessive and mentally unstable. Josef's communications were prolific and relentless until his letters and faxes and emails were viewed as criminal harassment. By 2000 all agencies closed their ears to Josef. He was arrested once again, charged, found guilty and placed on probation. Over the next eight years he was arrested nine times, was incarcerated for many months, was detained for psychiatric assessment and was diagnosed as narcissistic, obsessive, compulsive, paranoid with antisocial traits. The issues were always related to Criminal harassment, Breach of probation and Uttering threats. On March 14 2005 Josef hit the news as an Emergency Response Team was summoned to prevent him from lighting himself on fire at the CBC Plaza in downtown Vancouver. By 2007 his son Joe had already experienced tasering, arrest, become drug dependent and homelessness. He was eventually placed in a group home.

Josef has not stopped telling his story and he will never get over his destroyed life. I don't condone all that Josef did. Had I known him I would have advised him on different courses of action many times. So, while Josef is responsible for his own responses, all government systems failed him and his family. His daughter has gone on to be successful at university. Josef and his son Joe (now 26) may find an apartment together. Josef and his wife Iva will be divorced in January 2011. I truly hope that all their lives are happier in 2011.

I have Josef's permission to tell this story. You can read Josef's own journalled account of his long ordeal in his linked blog. As you read all of his pages, bear in mind that the writing reflects Josef's agony, anger, confusion as well as English being his second language.


  1. A little specification: Despite all our experience and excellent record of caring for foster children with special needs, three days after Sexual Offences Squad cleared Joe, the MCFD blackmailed us to either 1. sign Voluntary Care Agreement and sent Joe into foster are, or 2. keep Joe home and watch our two children and three foster children being abducted into State custody. After 273 days of Joe's horrible emotional torture in foster care I responded to another blackmail - to sign six months long Supervision Order. Otherwise, Joe would have been further mentally tortured in foster care for another six months! I signed it, after publicly announcing at the |Courthouse that I will kill anyone who tries to harm my children or wife again. Few days later I was for a first time arrested. Since then, the State repeatedly declared and treats me as a mentally ill habitual criminal. I profoundly hate myself, whole Canada and all Canadians who are not second class citizens, wishing to die and be buried in my homeland. Comparing to other MCFD horror stories, this one seems like nothing, exceptional only due to mountains of irrefutable evidence of public servants' deliberately committed cruel and grossly illegal acts against innocent children and families. Paul and Zabeth's family suffering is the most blatant example of the same, perfectly orchestrated horrendous cruelty, imposed upon innocent children and family by public servant's sworn, appointed and paid to protect them! Thank you again, Ron!

  2. Nothing surprises me any more. Last week I mentioned that I had been trying to get my head around understanding what sort of human beings could do some of the awful things that ministry staff do to children and adults. I asked myself whether they were capable of showing decency or humanity. Well, in order to try to stimulate some sensitivity in the breast of the Fraser director, I wrote him a personal letter. It had been my intention only to share this with a tight confidential circle and certainly not to put it on the blog. Then something very surprising happened. When the director filed an affidavit on December 22nd opposing the Baynes' request for unsupervised access, he attached a copy of my letter as an exhibit. This has now entered my letter as a court exhibit and is placed in the public realm, which almost anyone can access. Thus I feel that the director has agreed to my putting it on the blog. It is long and will need three entries. I would be most grateful to any bloggers who read this and who can explain why the ministry staff would want the judge to read this letter. It sure beats me.
    To Mr. Bruce McNeill
    December 14th, 2001
    Dear Mr. McNeill
    I am writing to give you some information and to explain my reasons. I have strongly advised the Baynes to sever all contact with you and your staff, with the exception of necessary contact regarding accesses visits and court appearances. My reasons are as follows. As you know Mrs. Bayne has a history of premature births and the current pregnancy is quite fragile, with a good possibility of premature delivery. She must make a high priority of protecting this expected child and she must take every precaution to carry him as long as possible. In order to do this she must avoid all possible stress. Stress hormones play an important role in premature delivery.
    What you seem to have great difficulty in grasping is that for a long time you have been the major stressor in her life. I explained why this is the case in detail in my letter to Mr. Robinson. In brief you have had a major responsibility for actions which have kept the Bayne children in limbo for over three years. Every important guideline of the CF&CSA has been trampled on, while the best interests of the children have become far from paramount. Mr. & Mrs. Bayne regard you as a menace. Any communication from you sends her blood pressure over the moon. Having your staff hammer at her door first thing in the morning terrified them. Why cannot you understand that you are the greatest danger to the expected child having a full term delivery?
    Don't you understand Mr. McNeill that you cannot skewer people for three years and then say to them “Come to me I want to help you to find ways that I can help you with your pregnancy.” All you will do will be to scare them. Honestly, tell me why they should trust you? One day you are telling them that you want to make sure they have resources with the pregnancy and the next day you are sending them threatening letters, or having other staff do so.
    Just look at the letter you wrote and the wording. You use phrases like “Given the child protection concerns the director has for your children.” And also “In terms of a less disruptive plan we wish you to take a parental capacity assessment etc.” “We have concerns” is manipulative and almost meaningless language. Your concerns have no value unless you can specify factual evidence on which they are based. You and I both know very well that you have not one shred of factual evidence. What you have is one piece of controversial and unreliable medical opinion. The only possible evidence that you have to cause “concern” about the expected child has been put before the court and tested under due process. It is not an indicator of risk unless the judge says it is.

  3. Letter to Bruce McNeill part two.

    You also offer as a “service” a parental capacity assessment, so that you can be sure that the child is not at risk. Well there are two or three big problems with this. To start with, it is intrusive and inappropriate to demand a parental capacity assessment, when you have no direct evidence of risk. Other wise you could just knock on any door and demand people take an assessment. Such assessments are supplementary to evidence and they are in themselves not evidence. The other problem is that you are still in a very adversarial position with the Baynes. Just because all the evidence and arguments have been heard that does not put you at peace with them. They are still afraid that if the judge denies your request for CCO, you will try some other way to get back at them You could appeal, or try to concoct other charges. You have also been consistently opposed to their having any increase in access. This means that any assessment that is within your power could be used as a weapon against them. Just look at the risk assessment you had Mr. Humeny prepare for the trial. It could not be considered professional work by any stretch of the imagination. It had no forensic value at all and was just a blatant attempt at character assassination. Is this how you propose to complete a “parental capacity assessment” as you call it? I am sorry to be so blunt with you, Mr.McNeill, but I think that you must admit your track record begs these sort of comments. The Baynes are in a very tense situation while they await Judge Crabtree's decision. When you pile on the stress to a pregnant woman by sending threatening letters, this is so insensitive and abusive that it can only be construed as a serious abuse of your authority.
    If you want a recent example of hostility, we look at the arguments for extended access. In your papers to court, Humeny and Grey continued trying to smear the Baynes. Any fractious behaviour by the children, reported by the supervisor was interpreted in the most detrimental way in court. It was all due to memories of abuse etc. Fortunately the judge did not buy it and said it was due to the continual disruption in their lives. When ordered to arrange home access visits, was it really necessary for the worker to declare that he did not even know if the address existed? Don't you see how the hostility keeps showing through? Perhaps you think this is normal.
    You mention the staff changes as beneficial to relationships. We know from disclosed documents that you have been closely directing this case and you will continue to do so, so the staff changes are of no encouragement to the Baynes.
    Well I have some good news for you. You wanted to know how you could help the Baynes with their pregnancy. Indeed you can help in a big way. Keep away as far as possible from the Baynes and tell your staff to do likewise. This will greatly reduce the dangerous stress in their lives. When they must have contact, please try to get them to do it with slightly more sensitivity than a monitor lizard.

  4. Letter to Bruce McNeill. Part three
    Furthermore, I would like to say that it is possible that the new baby will be delivered before Judge Crabtree delivers his ruling. Should this happen, it would be most unwise of you to attempt any action against the new baby before the ruling. You must realise that should the judge find no need for protection and returns the children to the parents, you would have no case with the new baby. To move before the ruling would be very disrespectful to the court and this would be to presume the court's ruling, just as you seem to have done for the last three years. Not only would it be inappropriate, it would also be highly unethical. It would also put you in a very awkward position should the order go in favour of the Baynes.
    I am led to wonder at what sort of concept and what sort of philosophy you hold about social work and child welfare and protection work? What sort of ideology says that it is okay to leave young children in limbo for three years? What sort of ethic says that it is okay to fight a prolonged court battle which leaves the parents penniless and deep in debt with legal costs and unable to afford counsel? Should the judge return the children home, how will this serve the best interests of the children? I hardly think that you qualify as the right person to write about “seeking less disruptive measures.” If this is your “less disruptive” approach, I wonder what your disruptive one is like?
    If you were a registered social worker, I would consider the letter you wrote to the Baynes to be grounds for a complaint under the BCASW code of ethics. This leads me to my next suggestion. I have noticed two large gaps in the training of your staff. First they do not seem to have the most rudimentary knowledge of what constitutes good evidence and bad evidence. This wastes a huge amount of court time and squanders money. I suggest you get a good lawyer to hold staff development sessions on evidence. When I was family court co-ordinator, neither our counsel, nor I would have permitted the sort of stuff we saw at Chilliwack. Secondly, I think your staff members need a much better moral compass. I suggest you distribute copies of the BCASW code of ethics to your staff and ask them to use it as a guideline. I am sure that the executive director, Linda Korbin would be happy to send you copies.

  5. Ron, thank you for getting yet another account of MCFD and government abuse to the public. There is probably nothing more traumatic than losing your children, in such a manner. Even losing your child to accidental death or illness is probably not as devastating, as it is something that you can learn to live with, and you will get support and sympathy from everyone.

    A parent who has lost their child to illness or accident will also know that their child is no longer suffering, which is not the case for victims of MCFD, who are often condemned for the rest of their lives to exist with tormenting thoughts - is their child being abused, is their child suffering?

    What could be a worse form of torture? Inflicted by the state, paid for by the taxpayer.

    If anything could drive a person mad, MCFD and their counterparts around the world could. A person would have to be almost superhuman not to collapse under the weight of such suffering.

  6. It should not a surprise anyone in the midst of MCFD litigation to see 'private' communications appear in an affidavit. The more detail included, the more that can be used against the parent. It is a basic tenant that the 'right to remain silent or anything said or written can be used against you' applies here, and giving up that right can have negative consequences.

    Josef is a case in point. The state deliberately, and successfully made him angry in order to get a negative response that allowed them to escalate matters in order to disable his valid complaints.

    My impression the intent of the Director in bringing the letter before the judge was to illustrate that the Baynes have no intention of working with the Director under any circumstances, and they are being advised by non-legal personnel.

    There is no context provided for the court record as to the qualifications of the writer that would permit the judge to perhaps sit up and take note of how well qualified the author is to make such statements.

    It is a great letter if the target audience are readers of this blog. Legally speaking, I think there are too many holes in it and allows too many ways to misinterpret it. Personal attacks against an entity "just trying to do their job" never works.

    The letter did not appear to have any bearing with the matter that was to be discussed, which was unsupervised Christmas night access. What was missing from the letter, if there was a chance the judge would read it, was a demonstration by the Baynes of an attempt to first "work with" with director and present logical array of alternatives for him to counter with suggestions of their own. THEN, failing that, it would be reasonable to call Judge Crabtree to rule on the matter. The justification of resorting to court would be that all avenues of communication were tried and failed.

    Anything laced with emotional content will always be used against parents so that the Director can illustrate the challenges he and his staff face in order to "move forward" with parents. The Director's communication is very clear in that 'moving forward' means doing a PCA, and reviewing available services, and that ball was left in the Baynes court.

    Bouncing the ball back into the Director's court means saying something like "could you please list the services, costs and timelines you would believe would be appropriate..." and "please submit a list of names of psychologists, collaterals and documents for review." This way, there is no agreement or outright rejection, but a request for clarification.

    The letter as presented is far too loaded, and in my opinion, the timing of it was not good.

    I have not the slightest doubt that when the Director read that an unannounced knock on the door was a source of stress for the Baynes, that put a bit smile on his face. Mission accomplished! Their whole POINT is to be unrelenting and intentionally inflict stress in hopes of breaking parents. Confirming their tactics are working sends them leaping into the air for joy.

    Only by reviewing the Ministry affidavit that describes the exhibit, and reading through the chambers transcript would there be enough clues to comment further.

  7. With respect to cleaning up Josef Fisher's communication, I note that MCFD staff are trained in identifying marginalized parents they believe have little fighting power. They goad them into anger then capitalize on this to escalate matters in order to have justification to disable the parent's credibility in the eyes of any observer.

    Removal and retention is the objective and social worker training focuses on this. The path to returning children are matters social workers are not trained for according to the Pivot report Broken Promises.

    People trying to communicate their negative encounters with the Ministry after the fact are in very difficult position, as most are not communication experts, and there is so MUCH to say, it is difficult not to overwhelm readers with irrelevant information.

    The one thing I found of the highest value reading Josef's story is finding out that MCFD can provide 24-hour in-home caregivers during an investigation. This is remarkable discovery. Why could the Baynes have not had this service put in place? Zabeth could have continued to breast feed her child and a risk assessment would reflect a low risk of leaving the children in the home. Invasive to be sure, but the high cost would motivate MCFD to 'investigate' faster.

    Such a worker noting no parenting dificiencies would work in favour of the parents they are observing. In Theory. Parents would do well to record events in order to avoid problems of inaccurate reporting by a ministry-paid worker.

    To illustrate the point of how much effort it takes readers to really get a sense of the atrocities a parent (the messenger) endure with MCFD, look at a case of Jon Dow, a Kelowna parent whose newborn child was removed and subsequently returned after many months.

    Jon has posted a very long 2-hour YouTube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mgYSljV9t9k of a hidden camera recording of a pair of social workers working on the mother in his absence, who are working to convince her to move out of the home saying they had concerns with the father.

    This interview is without Jon present, and it cuts off at the end when he arrives home to talk with the social workers (who immediately offer to call police 'if there is trouble')

    I persevered in watching this video, and more than an hour of the very slow built-up to get to the point of what the social workers were doing finally hit like a ton of bricks. I then realized the subtle and insideous tactics they used to get the parents to "agree" to what they wanted, which was for the new and penniless mom to take the child and move out of the apartment for an unspecified period.

    There is only a dozen views, and this may not change over the next few months and years due to the 2-hour length of the "clip." It would need a skilled communicator and video editor a few hours or days of work to chop this video down and show the relevant parts and have a matching web page, blog, or what have you to properly present this so it could be grasped in mere moments, rather than hours.

    Such information needs to be searchable, and a concise summary description created in order that the information not be lost. The huge downside of alerting fellow citizens is that attaching your name to a removal can limit your career potential or otherwise negatively impact you. You can be viewed as a complainer, a troublemaker or a child abuser, and your child can end up suffering down the line.

    This is the challenge that we parents face.

    As a result of this experience, it has turned Jon into an activist and an unpaid advocate for other parents in his area. He has posted several more long interview-style videos on his YouTube channel MrNeoKat.

  8. Jon Dow also has a web page

  9. Mr Fisher is not the Only Person to be put through the Child Protection Ringer,Its common and goes on daily and have seen it happen to others,most however end up Losing It and thier Minds and end up either Drugged up and or on the streets Homeless and Broken or Dead?
    They would sooner it be the last especially if the Person puts up a good fight,wont go against thier Husband and or Wife!

    Remember never let them take Your Soul with Hate! They work in the Dark and have no faith and this is where they want to drag You!

    The services that are supposedly good are usually reserved for thier Own.

  10. The sad story related by Mr. Fisher is just another example of how Child Protection really works instead of the hugs and kittens world that they portray to the world.

    Ray, I have to disagree with part of your letter to MCFD. I think they got one part right when they presented their case in court. "Any fractious behaviour by the children, reported by the supervisor was interpreted in the most detrimental way in court. It was all due to memories of abuse etc." I believe this to be 100% true. How could you possibly believe otherwise. They only got the perpetrator wrong, not the observation. Clearly it was abuse, heinous abuse. The guilty party should be strung up in the town square. The only problem I see is getting a strong enough rope to string up all the MCFD workers who continually perpetrated and encouraged such abuse.

    A writer thought that 24 hour supervision would be good despite some risk of a slanted or incorrect view of parenting ability. The risk far outweighs the possible benefit, as the MCFD still has the upper hand in a parent versus MCFD interpretation in Court, as all who read this blog know all to well. Some MCFD reports on Access visits look like prize-winning science fiction compared to reality. Professionals on the parents side verifying the correct version of the event are battled with character assassinations. Ron, you asked at least once, "Why would MCFD SW's have a reason to lie?" Sorry for paraphrasing. This question may be irrelevant. A better question might be, "Why are they allowed to lie?", or "Why are the courts not enforcing perjury rules?" Do you believe they would lie if it meant they would go to jail and be punished financially?


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