In the Network: Media Co-op Dominion   Locals: HalifaxMontrealTorontoVancouver

BC Authorities Snatch Three-Day-Old Indigenous Baby

by Joseph Jones Original Peoples


Also posted by dru:

On 19 July 2010, three days after 28-year-old Loni Edmonds gave birth to her son Andre, a provincial ministry team came into her hospital room to forcibly separate her from her own newborn child. The "team" included a lot of enforcement: two RCMP officers, two hospital security staff, and one medical doctor. Supportive relatives of the parents pleaded with authorities, but they could not stop the snatch.

A member of the Lil'wat Nation who lives in the town of Mount Currie, Edmonds first went to the clinical centre in Pemberton. Even though baby Andre arrived four weeks early, he was otherwise healthy. Health care officials chose to move mother and child to more extensive facilities available at Squamish General Hospital. Shortly after her relocation, and without providing further explanation, an agent of the BC Ministry of Child and Family Development (MCFD) told Edmonds that her baby was going to be taken into foster care on Sunday. 

On that same Sunday, Bill Chu received a telephone call from a distraught relative. Chu, who has a two-decades relationship with the Mount Currie community, immediately contacted the Squamish hospital to ask about the pending apprehension. Hospital staff said they knew of no such plans.

Over the following three days, Chu sought contact with relevant MCFD officials. The Pemberton case officer stuck to generalities and claimed no apprehension would occur without prior steps (family meeting and consultation, exploration of alternative family support, etc.). Another Pemberton official returned multiple calls after two days, but only to say that privacy concerns would prevent any discussion of the case.

After encountering these bureaucratic stone walls, Chu saw no alternative but to issue a press release, which he did with the consent of Andre's parents. Authorities offered him no answers to the following two questions: Why was Loni Edmonds given no written reason for the removal of her child? How did the advance threat of removal fit in with MCFD policy?

On Tuesday July 20 Chu and one other person made a day trip to Mount Currie, to meet the parents of Andre and to talk to acquaintances. He offers this assessment:

As one who has known many aboriginals for two decades, I can say the parents' appearance match their claim to be neither on drugs or alcohol. Loni’s aunt also is willing to take Loni and her baby in her home. While her husband Andrew has an unrelated health condition (infrequent seizures) and both parents are not working, the same can be said about most parents within impoverished reserves and Loni should not be denied her right to nurture her baby.

This snatch by MCFD again strikes the fourth generation of the Edmonds family with child apprehension: Edmonds’s grandmother and mother were sent to residential schools, Edmonds herself was put into foster care at the age of 10, and now this baby has been taken away with no due process. In 2007, Edmonds lost four children to MCFD, and then a younger daughter in 2009. Andre makes Edmonds’s sixth apprehended child.

A court hearing is set for 16 September 2010 in Pemberton.

Chu thinks the incentives for the apprehension stand in continuity with the discredited colonial practice of shipping aboriginal children off to residential schools. The result is "similar legacies of abuses, addictions, suicides, and dysfunctional adult lives".

MCFD summarizes the statistics: "As of September 2009, approximately eight per cent of children in British  Columbia and approximately 53 per cent of the 8,677 children in the Ministry’s care were  Aboriginal." The Federation of Aboriginal Foster Parents mentions an alarming rate: "Between 1995-2001 there was a 71.5 per cent increase in the number of on-reserve children with status being placed in foster care." To put this in context, Canada's 2006 census shows the British Columbia "aboriginal identity population" as 196,075 out of 4,074,385, or 4.8 per cent.

Edmonds believes that the government is now paying foster parents about $7000 per month to care for her first four children. A glance at the rates and levels posted by MCFD confirms $5000 as a likely minimum.

The MCFD annual budget shows that the Province of British Columbia spends more than $1 billion a year on "contracts, grants, and payments to families" and more than $300 million on "ministry salaries and benefits." Further breakdown is hard to come by. Official BC budget estimates for 2010-2011 show that almost $750 million goes toward a list of efforts that opens with

service support, direct operating costs and local administration of community-based support services for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children, youth, and families; quality assurance initiatives; establishing new Aboriginal governance structures ...

The 2010-2013 Service Plan for MCFD targets a 6.3% increase (to the 2008/2009 baseline of 53.2%) for

per cent of Aboriginal children having to leave their parental home who receive services delivered by delegated Aboriginal agencies, Aboriginal foster care providers or Aboriginal friends and family.

This means that only slightly over half of those children separated from their own families currently remain in direct contact with their cultural background.

There is clearly a fast-growing big business side to aboriginal foster care, involving a massive chunk of the provincial budget. Who benefits? And how? And why? These macroeconomic and social questions provide the backdrop to the suffering that the state is inflicting on Loni.

There are no overall figures for British Columbia reserve residents who receive a welfare pittance. The Province offers this explanation for its convenient lack of statistics: "LICO [low income cut-offs] data is not available for Indian Reserves as the LICO methodology includes the cost of shelter and aboriginal housing on Indian Reserves is usually provided."

The spendable welfare currently received by both Loni and her husband amounts to a total of less than $500 per month. (Compare this amount of less than $6000 per year with the $7938 average household expenditure for food alone in British Columbia in 2008.) Imagine the care that Loni and Andrew Edmonds themselves could provide for their family if they could receive the resources being paid out to foster care givers.

Seperately, POW has organized in response to ongoing child apprehensions in the DTES and in Vancouver the Downtown Eastside Power of Women has just announced a gathering at the Ministry of Child and Family Development Regional Office: MCFD: KEEP OUR FAMILIES TOGETHER! on Tuesday, August 3, 3:30 – 5:30 pm, 865 Hornby at Smithe. For more information (about the demonstration, POW members can not comment on the Edmonds case) email or call 604 681 8480 x 234.

Catch the news as it breaks: follow the VMC on Twitter.
Join the Vancouver Media Co-op today. Click here to learn about the benefits of membership.


I am glad that welfare pays

I am glad that welfare pays next to nothing to have families and children togethor, then  MCF rewards foster parents,( in my opinion way too much money ) financially more of a removed child. I cannot even begin to start on how fundamentally wrong ( and absurd ) it is.


If you will pay foster parents (more) than adequately, increase financial support at the home they originate from as well.

Stay strong. I've been there ... it's not easy.

It is unfortunate on how the MCFD works. I have experienced exactly what your experiencing now. I was truthful and honest about my past to them. I don't know whether it was cause I as a adolescent was in foster care or had a criminal record..., or if it had anything to do with my aboriginal background. I doubt that I will ever know the real reason. Since the day of my daughters birth, I have been fighting to keep the MCFD from removing her: doing as required by the MCFD, proving the accusations against me wrong, putting my own life (education) on hold. It sure isn't easy. Stay strong and hold on. Find out what all your options are. Get an advocate, make sure you do not talk to the MCFD without your lawyer or and advocate. Get everything in writing, if you can record everything that is said in every meeting, I would advice you to. It isn't fair, I know. Find all your supports and try to keep in mind "your lil' man is worth fighting for. Parenting is rewarding in itself." Hang in there. If possible, move in with a family member. Get involved in your community. I don't know what more to say other than - Stay strong, anything is possible, I know.

reply to T. Thompson

I am sorry to say that the reasoning is "ALL OF THE ABOVE", had a similar situation here in Alberta, as the step-father, being Metis, being an injured worker on WCB, were all parts of the court case as to where the Child & Family Services had my wife and I, involved in for 2 years. @years of my step children being shuffled from Foster home to Foster home, one put on behavior drugs as they they could not handle the child with out it. 4 children they took from us and although my my wife was pregnant, they wanted the unborn child as well, that was over my dead body, which they ( Child & Family Services) almost had succeeded in, by informing members of the community of the charges they were placing against me, which in turn became physical confrontations. They had witnesses to all this, which were my wife's ex-husband and a family member that was prejudiced against anyone with a native back ground ( as for being a member of the family). After all this my Wife and I were found NOT GUILTY, and to this day we are still having interference by the Dept at any opportunity they can get to walk into our house, don't kid yourself it is all a scheme to move  money through the system to make it look as if they are needed, ever notice on how the Social Workers seem to be acting as if everything is written in a book? none of my children came with an operators manual. They have to validate their jobs so they will create situations to do just that, in every province of Canada, and are allowed to work this way due to Government Protection.

BC Authorities

Journalist Marie Wadden published an interesting book a couple of years ago called "Where The Pavement Ends". The book is an investigation into the state of aboriginal communities today and the role the government plays in keeping the status quo. Everybody should read this book.




Knowing the origin of how CANADA began as a Company registered in London, England to conduct business Proclaimed in the Name CANADA May 1st 1867.  In 1869 CANADA Company purchased The Hudson Bay Charter from Hudson Bay Company to grant them the right to do trade with the Indians.  

CANADA 000023000098 Company registered in the Securities Exchange Commission 

was never given consent to enforce legislation upon the indigenous peoples to assimilate them through genocidal tactics.  The Charter was only for business, this is why everything is based on accountability not human rights. 

In order to make change people need to realize since the 1933 Securities Exchange Act and 1934 Securities Exchange Act all business is based on banking and securing debt slaves through bonding them to perform through usury and attaching interest and service fees.

Failure to acknowledge International human rights of indigenous peoples is the ignorance of all peoples irregardless of race, and more specific the greatest prejudice comes from within.

take care



This happened to me also. They should not have apprehended my son and they did not follow proper procedure. They showed up with police force and attempted to abduct my baby. Luckily I was not home and went straight to a lawyer and made an aggreement with them to leave my baby with my mom. I spent the next year fighting to get MCFD out of our lives. In the end they all pointed fingers at each other for who messed up. We are still trying to figure out what to do with them to hold them accountable for their actions. What turned our case around was demanding a risk assessment be done (with us...they had planned on doing it themselves!) and making sure we filled the court room with support people. Dont let lawyers or anyone tell you not to go to court, GO to court have your support people stand by you and talk to the judge. Read the child and family services act and ask what section 13 reasons they took to apprehend your child. The only way they can apprehend without following their own rules is if the child is in immediate danger. Goodluck and we all need to get together to fight these babysnatchers. Oh ask for family intervention to settle before court.

Far too common

I have had to deal with MCFD as well. Interviewed my children, took them from my home, put my children in foster care, took them out of the school. Told my children they were not coming home. Walked into my daycare without even letting them know who she was. Threatened to arrest and charge anyone (including the daycare and school workers) that dare question who she was let alone what she was doing. Threatened my husbad with child abuse charges. Lied to her superiors, lied on court documents. I had my children removed twice in a matter of 3 days based on nothing more than her own lies. In the end we were found 100% innocent of all accusations as well as finding out that she was repremanded and put on desk duty after dealing with us. There is no recourse for the public with this ministry. They do not have to answer to anyone about anything. The shoot first ask questions later attitude needs to end. They only need one anonymous call from anyone and they can walk into your life and do what they like. Not even police can do this. They have the thought process of guilty until proven innocent. The most frustrating part was letting anyone know this was going on. I called local new agencies only to be told that an agreement had been made with the ministry that after all the "trouble" in the 90's. By trouble I mean of course children dying in the ministries custody they came to an agreement that the media would not print stories about the goings on in the ministry and the children apprehended. This was to allow the ministry breathing room to clean up their image. I think all this has done is give them one more avenue of protection from their wrong doings. This ministry has more power than the police and less people to answer to and that scares the hell out of me. Knowing at any time they could walk into my home and disrupt it based on nothing.

MCFD could be entirely

MCFD could be entirely abolished tomorrow and all that would suffer in this Country are the employment numbers of those who do very dirty work and are not good for much else.

Creative Commons license icon Creative Commons license icon

The site for the Vancouver local of The Media Co-op has been archived and will no longer be updated. Please visit the main Media Co-op website to learn more about the organization.