|Hon. Stephanie Cadieux|
Really? B.C.'s Children's Ministry (MCFD) says she cannot go. Who? Who is she? A toddler only known as SS. She was not permitted to go to a Métis cultural event being held in her honour. Why would the Métis Federation hold an event to honour her? That's another story. Wow, if you think the first prohibition is an embarrassment for MCFD with respect to political or cultural correctness, then the rest of the story will strike you as an offence. I wish I could call it criminality but the Ministry is all-powerful.
I have told this before but here it is. Since birth SS has been raised by Métis foster parents who want to adopt her. MCFD doesn't have to explain itself but it does not wish to approve this application. Instead MCFD has informed the foster parents that they will remove SS from them, these culturally appropriate caregivers and ship her off to Ontario. Oh it's so stupid. You know I get weary of the Ministry's madness. But of course it can be defended by reason that she will join two siblings in the same Ontario family. The fuller story is that these are non Metis caregivers, non aboriginal. And furthermore, SS had never met nor known the two siblings. The Metis couple who desire to adopt her are the only mom and dad that SS has ever known. She has been raised with a toddler's awareness of Metis culture, sounds and practices, music and foods.
So back to the presenting short story. The foster parents are hurt and outraged and afraid. The Metis Federation is irate. In light of the larger issue, the Metis Federation was holding Saturday’s event to honour the child, with Métis jiggers and fiddlers and an opportunity for attendees to contribute to a fund for the family’s legal bills and a chance for the community to meet and support the family. MCFD said she could not attend. On one hand the Ministry has said, “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 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. That's how confusing inconsistency becomes. “It made no sense,” the Metis foster mom 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.” Further she said, “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."
And the Metis Federation is disgusted with other Metis associations who might have influenced MCFD against the removal of the child but didn't do that. BC Métis Federation President Henry added; “The current Métis child and family agencies throughout BC have contributed to this mess. The Métis Commission for Children and Families BC approved this adoption plan, but why? I spoke with the Métis Commission CEO in January who stated she could have gone either way. Really? You knew this and instead of making sure proper due diligence and working with our Métis community you decided this major life changing decision to move this Métis child after the years of attachment with this current Métis foster family to a non-Métis family in Ontario. The Métis Commission itself has never met the child, never met the family, and so many more serious questions.”