The government ministry commissioned with the responsibility of care for children erred gravely on this one. The MCFD didn't stumble or bungle it. MCFD planned this. Here again is the way that I view this case. A small Métis toddler was ripped from a distraught Métis foster family and from her supportive Métis community and she was sent to Ontario to a non-Métis home, a wounding action that has left a bewildered, sorrowing and furious Métis community as well as a crowd of others, like me with systems sensitive to inequality and injustice.
Like I said yesterday, not all Métis have felt the anguish of uprooting a three-year old from the only parents she knows, living with them since she was three days old. The Métis in B.C. who were asked by the government for an opinion on this matter, are the Métis agencies that receive government funding, and they all approved the MCFD child-plucking. Those service groups are the Métis Commission for Children and Families of BC, the Island Métis Children and Family Services Society and the Métis Nation of British Columbia. Yes, I know. Make of it what you will. I know how that sits with me. Money talks, an old axiom remains exact.
The B.C. Métis Federation that supported the Métis foster family and their application to adopt the child, vigorously expressed to the Premier and to the Minister of Children, their opposition. The Foster parents did all that they could. They had one of the most committed and competent family lawyers in Jack Hittrich. They appealed to the Attorney General. The Press in telling the story expressed the obvious; the Ministry's plan was distasteful.
The Ministry did it anyway. Minds were made up. Due diligence be damned. I can imagine this worst-case scenario behind closed doors as MCFD colleagues converse.
"The Foster family can't continue to fight this in the courts if we quickly put her on a plane and send her off. The family has already dropped half a million dollars down the hole."
"We've got the majority of Métis in our pocket anyway."
"No one else is going to pay attention to this case in a few weeks."
"If there is any flak at all, we can promise that in the future we are going to give Indigenous people much more control over placements and adoptions."
"Yea, promise, promise, promise, that always works to diffuse present noise."
The princely side of me wants to believe that conversation has not transpired within the MCFD. It doesn't lessen or pardon the professional miscalculation. The lawful and the considerate choice was to permit that child not to experience the heart-wrenching experience of having her mommy and daddy disappear from her life without so much as a goodbye.
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