BC Métis Federation customary adoption family of the Métis child known as SS have sent the following letter to Prime Minister Trudeau. This letter is in response partially to the ongoing injustice to Indigenous laws and customs along with the settlement of $10.5 million to Omar Khadr.
Dear Prime Minister Trudeau:
Please help me to understand.
If the Constitution of our great country has protected the laws, customs, and traditions of our Indigenous Peoples and the Federal Government has adopted ten policies in implementing and affirming these rights, why is it that my Métis family has been, and continues to be forced to spend many hundreds of thousands of dollars in court hearings trying to defend the custom adoption of our Métis daughter?
The various Commissions and Declarations of apology for past sins against Canada’s Indigenous Peoples ring hollow when the same abuses are continuing with impunity by “public servants”. Some Indigenous children are still being taken away from healthy and happy indigenous families and placed with non indigenous families. In spite of all the talk, there is no protection from these on-going abuses by some governments in Canada. Some specific, meaningful actions are required to demonstrate that our public institutions of government are serious in their intent for “reconciliation”.
A case in point: The Government of British Columbia, under the Liberal Government, has used every legal tactic possible to infringe upon and deny our rights, and now is attempting to overturn a legal custom adoption of our Métis daughter. The Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD), under the Liberal government of British Columbia, has taken our daughter and placed her in a non Aboriginal home far away from us in another province. They refuse to allow us to see her. We do not have criminal records of any kind and have proven ourselves to be dedicated, loving parents to the child. By accounts of everyone who knew her, including her physicians, she was thriving in our care; a healthy and happy little girl who we had raised since birth.
Please do not allow this infringement to continue. I know that your government cares about Indigenous Peoples. You have made provisions for this in law. So please help me to understand how in a free country such as Canada, where Custom Adoptions are protected by the Constitution and where the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples has been adopted “without exception”, our legally adopted daughter is being held in foster care in another province.
Please urge the province of BC to cease their ignoring of federal statutes regarding custom adoption and to return our child to us. All court proceedings could thus be brought to an abrupt end.
Are we to be held captive, enslaved in lengthy court battles which will cost our family and the Canadian tax payers hundreds of thousands more dollars, and leave an innocent child languishing in foster care – all because a group of government bureaucrats refuse to honour their own laws and policies and the Canadian Constitution.
With the utmost respect, we were under the impression that the 60’s scoop was over, and that we had reached a time of reconciliation.
I want my children to know that they matter as Canadians and that the Constitution of Canada means something and that culture and diversity are values that we hold dear.
I appeal to you, both as the Prime Minister of our nation and as a loving parent. Please respect and enforce the Custom Adoption of our daughter so that we can bring her home and give her the permanence that she deserves once and for all!
Cc: Elizabeth May, MP, Saanich and Gulf Islands, BC
Michael McLeod, MP, Northwest Territories
Murray Rankin, MP, Victoria, BC