8 Nov 2010

White-pride racism is at center of child custody case in Canada

The Winnipeg Sun - September 26, 2009

White pride dad wants custody of children

by Dean Pritchard | Sun Media

WINNIPEG - Child and Family Services had no good reason to seize two children at the centre of a controversial custody case involving allegations of racism and substance abuse, a judge was told this morning.

Child and Family Services seized a now eight-year-old girl and her three-year-old half-brother last year after the girl was sent to school with a swastika and racist writings drawn on her body. CFS is seeking permanent guardianship of the children.

Katherine Dunn, the lawyer representing the girl's stepfather, said the children are not in need of protection and never have been.

"There was no need to apprehend the children," she said in her closing argument before Justice Marianne Rivoalen. "It was not a child protection issue."

The girl's stepfather is seeking custody of the children, arguing CFS is infringing on his freedom of conscience, belief and association.

Kris Janovcik, the lawyer representing CFS, said the case has nothing to do with the man's allegedly racist beliefs, but his and his ex-wife's inability to safely parent their children.

"The father does not accept responsibility today -- and never did -- for his actions that brought his children into care," Janovcik said.

In June, the girl's stepfather testified he is a white pride supporter and that he doesn't believe in "interracial breeding." He admitted saying people of other races "should be sent back to their own country," but denied allegations he believed they should be killed.

Earlier in the trial a social worker told court of the man's stepdaughter using racial epithets to describe killing black people.

Court has heard testimony the man has not sought treatment for his alleged drug and alcohol abuse, has lost jobs for using racial slurs, and rarely works.

Dunn said the man cannot be punished for his racial beliefs.

"People's beliefs are legal in Canada, they are legally protected," she said.

A doctor who conducted a parental assessment on behalf of CFS said returning the children to their father or his estranged wife would expose them to neglect, emotional and psychological abuse, and "questionable parenting practices."

Dunn argued her client was denied his right to a fair trial because the doctor refused to talk to his parents, who were an essential part of his plan to regain custody of the children.

The girl's biological father urged Rivoalen to leave the children in the custody of his sister and brother-in-law or allow their mother to resume caring for them if she proves herself worthy.

Rivoalen reserved her decision.

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