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Brian Giesbrecht

Brian Giesbrecht was a Provincial Court Judge in Manitoba, Canada, from 1976 to 2007. During that time he served as Acting Chief Judge, and Associate Chief Judge. He is now a Senior Research Fellow at the Canadian think tank, the Frontier Centre for Public Policy.


All the above has made for a toxic stew. The large Indigenous underclass that produces the child welfare problems is mired in chronic unemployment and dysfunction even as more and more money is spent appeasing middle class Indigenous advocates. The country is mired in totally unnecessary and pointless racial politics, with special interest groups of all types playing the victim game – claiming that they are the victims, and that others are the oppressors. Victim inquiries compete with one another to see which one can make the most outrageous claims, and which one can demand the most expensive taxpayer funded “fixes” – none of which fix anything. Meanwhile, politicians fall over themselves apologizing for this or that historical wrong.

And for all of this, the state of Indigenous child welfare is no better than it was when Indigenous child welfare agencies took over – by some measures it is a whole lot worse. Those neglected children have become pawns in the political games that are now playing out federally. Parents who have clearly failed their children are let off the hook by advocates claiming that it is not their fault that they drank and made a mess of their children’s lives – it is society’s fault, or it is because of colonialism or residential schools – or almost anything going back five hundred years that might have affected their long dead ancestors’ lives. The irresponsible parents are told that they are victims. Never mind acting like a grownup, getting off welfare and starting to support your family. To the contrary, accepting personal responsibility and changing one’s behaviour is considered an old fashioned and discardable notion. Forget the best interests of the child – permanent victimhood and racial politics are where it’s at. But I will stop.

As I said earlier, I know little about the New Zealand situation. I simply don’t know if there are similarities between Canada’s Indigenous situation and the Maori situation in New Zealand. But if I am allowed to give just one word of advice on the subject of child welfare, it is this: “A child is a child. Keep racial politics out of it, and just see to that child’s best interests.”.....
Read Brian Giesbrecht’s full interesting NZCPR guest commentary here > https://www.nzcpr.com/new-zealands-maori-child-welfare-problem/#more-29704


There are very good reasons why democratic governments with colonial pasts and Indigenous populations, such as The United States, New Zealand and Australia have refused to recognize UNDRIP as anything more than an aspirational document.

It is true that many nations have signed on to UNDRIP, but it must be noted that many of those countries have no Indigenous populations, and of those that do their poor human rights records makes it clear that they have no intention of actually improving human rights for any of their citizens. The countries we should look to for guidance on the advisability of adopting UNDRIP as anything more than an aspirational document are democratic countries with good human rights records and similar histories. Those countries are The United States, New Zealand and Australia. All three of those countries have steadfastly refused to make all of their laws challengeable by UNDRIP for very good reasons. We should follow their example......
Read Brian's full article HERE 

As a provincial court judge in Brandon from 1976 to 2007, I made no claim to being an expert in the field of child welfare and my knowledge these days about the current state of the system is gleaned — like yours — from media reports. However, I do know what I have seen and heard in my courtroom.

The majority of the cases I heard as a judge hearing child welfare cases involved aboriginal families.

Typically, the parent or parents had serious drinking problems, and the agonizing choice facing the child welfare worker was whether to leave the child in a substandard or possibly dangerous situation and risk a tragedy — or take the serious step of removing the child from the home and risk damaging the bond between child and family. The child care workers appearing before me, some of whom were aboriginal, were excellent caring people, respectful of aboriginal culture and committed to doing what was in the best interests of the children they were sworn to protect.

Generally, child care workers had their bachelor of social work degrees and some had their master’s. The agencies employed aboriginal workers wherever possible, but the talented aboriginal university graduates were in great demand and easily found employment that was more lucrative than the demanding work of a child care worker.....
Continue reading Brian's article HERE