Stop SS Move Today – Métis Cultural Planning Info Proven Wrong

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

Honourable Stephanie Cadieux
Minister for Children and Family Development

Re: Métis Child SS – Métis Cultural Planning                                                                    Via Email 

Dear Minister Cadieux,

The BC Métis Federation continues to demand that our Métis foster child “SS” is not moved today as we understand your Ministry intends to complete. As stated previously, our position is that the BC Métis Federation community and leadership has supported the custom adoption of SS into one of our Métis families and any move by the Province through the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) is an illegal action according to our Métis laws and customs.

As this tragic situation unfolds we are even more deeply concerned to realize this morning that alleged Métis cultural planning used to support the adoption through the MCFD “exceptions committee” of SS is in fact not correct. One of the aspects which has been communicated throughout the court proceedings by MCFD legal counsel is that Métis cultural planning is in place, support by Métis organizations including the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) where MCFD intends to move SS.

We have learned this morning that this is not correct and the names included in the cultural planning from Ontario have not provided any such confirmation. The following is an email from this morning from Métis Nation of Ontario.

 Subject: Metis Nation Ontario NOT involved.

I just received this message from Wenda Watteyne, CAO of the Metis Nation of Ontario. Tony

… the MNO has not been involved in any decision making or planning related to this. It is indeed a terrible situation and I hope the Attorney General accepts the advice from Mary Ellen. We have not had anything to do with the BC Ministry or the Commission or the adoptive family.

There is no agreement involving the MNO.

This is a major issue and demonstrates the institutional racism being attempted by MCFD should this move of SS proceed. The best interests of SS must ensure proper Métis cultural planning and we now know without any doubt that MCFD has not ensured a proper plan in Ontario despite numerous public and court statements.

Minister Cadieux we implore you to intervene and immediately stop this move this morning. There is no doubt today that MCFD officials are not truthful. Worse yet we believe Métis organizations and agencies including the Métis Commission for Children and Families of BC, Island Métis Children and Family Services Society and Métis Nation British Columbia, who have supported this decision, did so without any real due diligence. MCFD provides an estimated $1 million annually to these 3 organizations per year and each of their input was to support this removal of our member from our community without any consultation to our community. Moreover, they also did so allegedly ensuring cultural planning was in place to the non-Métis home in Ontario and we now learn they have all done so without any fact checking. Why did they do this? Did MCFD staff make calls to support their work or what they wanted at the expense of our culture? We know this case is not isolated, we have seen how MCFD staff will mislead and deceived the courts in their statements, and we believe all cases through the MCFD adoptions exceptions committee should be immediately reviewed. How many other Métis children have been adopted out of our Métis families in BC simply because everyone failed to ensure the protection of our culture? Who is responsible?

The entire system failed best planning for SS and we as our Métis community have been demanding this does not proceed for these very reasons. Today we know without any doubt that our Métis culture has been ignored and pushed aside which is contrary to stated BC legislation, not to mention without standing within our jurisdiction and position. This tragedy has so many victims; our Métis adoptive family who has now spent over $400,000 in courts trying to fight for their case, SS who has now been moved to another transition foster home and can’t understand why, and our Métis community who can’t understand why MCFD will not include the proper voices that this family and child are from. This notion that Métis people can be addressed only though agencies that MCFD funds must stop, we are the actual self-governing community and we must be involved and respected.

Minister Cadieux we urge you to intervene and return SS to her proper Métis adoptive family today. This revelation this morning presents a major issue. As such we support the recommendations from the Representative for Children and Youth Office last week to delay thirty (30) days to review these extremely disturbing facts that we fully intend to further address.

I welcome any opportunity to support a better solution for SS and all involved. Let’s do what is in the best interests of SS.

Thank you

Keith Henry

cc            Premier Christy Clark, Province of British Columbia
Susanne Anton, Justice Minister and Attorney General for BC
Honourable Stephanie Cadieux, Minister for Child and Family Development
Honourable John Rustad, Minister for Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation
Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, BC’s Representative for Children and Youth
Dawn Thomas-Whiteman, Deputy Representative for Children and Youth
BC Métis Federation Board
BC Métis Federation Members

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