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Billion Dollar Boondoggle

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Instead of apologizing for the so-called “60s scoop” Premier Selinger should have explained how his government’s inept actions have led to almost 11,000 in care, 90% indigenous. Despite the swollen administration and billion dollar industry the NDP has built, too many many die in care get involved with drugs and gangs, are assaulted, never graduate, and are poor in adulthood.

Too many children have been shuffled from one foster placement to another. Too many stay in group homes, if not hotels. More than 20% of aboriginal children spend at least part of their childhood in-care. Only one-third of children in-care graduate from grade 12, compared to the 90% graduation rate for other children. More than half in-care aren’t even ready for elementary school.

Taking into account the costs of running four CFS agencies, a department to oversee them, and an army of social workers also involving the police, corrections personnel, and health services, Selinger’s billion dollar plus industry turns out, damaged young people. By cutting out the opportunity for non-indigenous families to adopt indigenous children, Selinger’s government shut-down paths that has offered hope for some.

Adoptive parents welcome their new members and raise them as best they can. Good parents provide adopted indigenous children opportunities to learn of and associate with the culture which they were born. To this day, families adopt outside of their ‘natural’ society. Manitobans still rescue disadvantaged discarded children from Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa. children from incredibly terrible conditions can still, fortunately, join our Canadian mosaic.

Families willing to adopt may not be able to have another child, ‘naturally’. New entrants become the brothers and sisters already ‘there’. In the adoption process, adopting parents are screened to determine whether they can afford the new child and to ensure they are socially and psychologically prepared to provide their new child a good chance for a better life than otherwise appears likely.

There are problems with preoccupation with the past, including the division brought between those portrayed as the aggrieved and those alleged to be responsible for “scooping”. Pounding away at what happened in the past for political advantage, a past stretching back not just a generation or two but a hundred years, keeps the focus not on ‘moving forward’ together but staying or even moving further apart.

The truth is some, like Selinger, prefer such a focus, as it contributes to their personal or political Interests. Better to review the past in the knowledge that mindsets were different then now, Many things done in the past are not judged acceptable today. Better to focus on how to bring the estranged and aggrieved into a new union within the Canadian mosaic, a collection of different cultures and histories living together in harmony.

What happened to our indigenous population in the past is clearly unfortunate and unacceptable today. I speak not only about the residential schools or the ill-named 60s scoop, but the billion dollar industry now dealing with largely aboriginal children removed from their birth families and placed in foster group homes, So much money, so much damage, so little good, all the NDP’s work.

-Graham Lane, Chair of Manitoba Forward, and his wife have an indigenous son

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