31 Oct 2010

Daughter of accused white supremacists made racist remarks at age 4, aunt testifies

CBC News - Canada June 5, 2009

A controversial child custody battle involving alleged white supremacist parents resumed in Winnipeg on Thursday with a focus on the lifestyle the couple exposed their children to.

But before the hearing even began, it wasn't the children or the parents who were the subject of the discussion in court but a media outlet that broadcast information it was not supposed to.

Global TV admitted it had identified the parents involved in the case, thereby violating a court-imposed publication ban.

Representatives for the province and Child and Family Services (CFS) argued the television station should be expelled for what they called a clear breach of privacy laws.

Representatives from Global flew in from Vancouver to personally appear in court as a show of remorse and to apologize. A lawyer for the station said the broadcast of the names, which remained on the broadcaster's website for more than four days, was an accident.

The judge ruled that Global could stay but only on the condition it no longer use any documents or photographs as part of its reporting on the ongoing story.
No evidence of harm from broadcast: CFS

CFS officials admitted there was no evidence of any manifest harm caused by broadcasting the information. However, the province could still proceed with criminal contempt charges that could result in Global being fined and even jail time for the individuals involved.

The custody case involves a girl, now eight years old, who went to school with white supremacist symbols drawn on her skin. Her mother and stepfather, who are accused of racist teachings and failing to provide adequate care for the girl and her brother, began a court battle for their children last week.

The siblings have been in the care of the girl's biological aunt, who is acting as their foster parent, since March 2008, when the girl showed up in school with a swastika on her arm.

Her teacher scrubbed it off in the afternoon, but the girl showed up the next day with another swastika, along with other white supremacist symbols, drawn on her body.

Caseworkers were alerted and picked up the girl at school and also took custody of the couple's two-year-old son.
Children living with aunt

If the CFS wins its case, the aunt, who is a social worker, could become the kids' permanent foster mother.

On Thursday, the aunt testified that her niece's behaviour took an alarming turn when the girl's mother and biological father divorced five years ago. The mother then started seeing the man who became the girl's stepfather.

None of the people involved in the hearing can be identified in order to protect the identities of the children.

The aunt — sister of the girl's biological father — described in detail Thursday how the mother often smelled of liquor and the kids sometimes lived in filthy conditions. In their home, Nazi flags and other white power symbols were often on display, the aunt testified.
'We don't like black people'

She said when the girl was just four years old, she told the aunt that in her family, "We don't like black people. They steal things and hurt people."

It was the only time the aunt heard the girl spontaneously say something overtly racist.

Last week, the hearing was told by social workers involved in the case from the beginning that the girl spoke of this being a white man's world and provided graphic suggestions of how to kill people of colour.

The girl also told a social worker that she watched skinhead videos on the internet with her parents and knew that her parents belonged to a skinhead website.

A doctor's report presented at the hearing indicates that since the kids were seized, they have been living stable lives with the aunt. The girl's school attendance is nearly perfect and the boy is about to enter developmental counseling.

The aunt testified that when the emotionally stunted boy was initially placed with her, he would have crying fits that sounded like, "the cry of children who expect nothing." Those have since subsided, she said.
Girl will testify Friday

The girl will testify at the hearing on Friday when lawyers for CFS also intend to play a videotaped statement she made to Winnipeg police after she came to school with the racist symbols.

The stepfather has filed a constitutional challenge, saying his right to freedom of expression, religion and association were violated when the children were apprehended.

He and the girl's mother no longer live together, and each has asked for custody of the children. The girl's mother is not living in Manitoba anymore and has not been in court.

Lawyers for the parents are scheduled to make their arguments later this month.

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