Poverty grounds for separating kids from their families in Canada

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/07/09/poverty-grounds-for-separating.html


The premise for doing so, sounds logical: If you can’t pay to properly feed, clothe and house your child, you’re neglecting your child. The government will step in to do what you can’t and, in the process, take your child away from you.

There, now the premise sounds logical.


It’s a fairly weak and sensationalist article, but it sure sounds like this Bernard Richard (B.C.’s Representative for Children and Youth) is on the right track, calling attention to these practices.

Even bad parents are better than no parents (at least, according to current research and knowledge, as relayed to me by teachers of adoption and fostering classes). Helping out parents who are primarily suffering from poverty, so they can have the financial wherewithal to be better parents, seems like a fundamentally better investment in humanity than tearing apart families could ever be.


We (broadly, the Angloshpere) seem to collectively freak out at the notion that our charity might be misused; that those we seek to help will take advantage of our kindness and just become leeches.

So we build elaborate, expensive, inefficient parallel distribution systems for the purpose of providing aid in kind. Because we don’t trust the people we intend to help; we consider them either dishonest or incompetent to wisely allocate resources themselves. So we do the allocating for them, to their detriment.

Giving aid in direct cash leverages all of the existing distribution channels for maximum efficiency.



Aargh. My own childhood trauma fades by comparison. I hope this kid’s spirit haunts those who did him like this. Thank you, Seamus.

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A lot of that in the U.S. is also tied to bigotry thanks to Lee Atwater and his ilk. The term “undeserving poor” is associated with images of “Cadillac-driving welfare queens” and “strapping young bucks buying t-bone steaks.”

40 years later the middle class has been gutted to the point that there are enough “deserving” (read: white) poor people that some conservatives are seeing the wisdom of…

Not that I think the neoliberal UBI they come up with will be free of restrictions which will be designed mainly to ensure maximum efficiency in continuing to concentrate wealth upward to incumbents and cronies.


or add wasteful and unnecessary hurdles like drug testing.


I’m sure Cindy Blackstock is on the case. She’s from the Northwest and has put an awful lot into protecting native children and she’s secure enough that she’ll wear funny paper hats and carry teddy bears in order to achieve her goals. But she cares about all children, and animals, and stressed people who have to deal with the public. She is far more radical than many people, except she is more subtle.

She’d be pleased that one of the few words I know in Salish is lim limpt, and everyone should be thanking her too.


UBI is a scam. Investing in the social services the poor actually need such as better food, healthcare, decent education and affordable housing would actually alleviate poverty. Throwing a dole at everyone won’t change that. Most poor work and many work harder than the rich. Most are quite capable of earning a wage and do so while the necessities of life are being systematically hoisted out of reach of a living wage. A UBI is what a rich neoliberal who doesn’t know what poverty really is thinks the poor need. There’s nothing progressive about creating a permanent underclass.


Why do you think conservatives who realise they’ve painted themselves into a corner with automation and offshoring are suddenly so into it? Why do you think that the regime is trying to consolidate federal agencies focused on social assistance (also those focused on labour and education) into an easy-to-eliminate mega-agency so that its funding (along with the Social Security trust funds) can eventually be directed “elsewhere”?

I’m not opposed to the concept of UBI in general as jobs start vanishing in greater numbers, with the goal of something like Fully Automated Luxury Communism for all. The neoliberal version of a UBI, however, is precisely all about creating a permanent underclass – one that’s placated by a finely calibrated combination of bread and electronic circuses.


I want to live in the Culture as much as the next anarchist, but I’m not convinced automation will so much put the working class out of work as it will allow the capital-hoarding classes to isolate the wealth-producing machinery of the economy from the working poor. I always bear in mind that humans didn’t have to create jobs at all. It took creativity to think up things we could make, do and sell to each other. Automation is a multiplier that has the potential to lift all boats. We can find new things to pay each other to do. But that only works if the working poor have access to the privileges of a middle class which is currently evaporating under the rentier economics to which a UBI would be a boon. Right now we’re more likely on a path to Fully Automated Feudalism. A neoliberal is just a neoconservative who supports the rights of the marginalized when it isn’t too inconvenient for them.

Ugh…sorry, I’m ranting again.


So despite the ongoing truth and reconciliation commission, they haven’t even stopped the residential school bullshit yet, they just have it a new name.

Edit: looks like the original post covered this. The point is, none of this is new.


I was going to say, how many decades and destroyed families will it take for the government to apologize for this iteration? (Saying this as someone fully aware my own government’s atrocities eclipse Canada’s.)


If it wasn’t real, it’d make a good horror movie: White Care Zombies, coming for Indigenous kids, “It’s for their own goooood…” Block off the Residential Schools after decades, and they come in through a different route.

Work it so that it’s really a plan for getting rid of as much government cheese and dairy as possible, and it’ll fly!

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A neoliberal doesn’t really care about anything other than the “free” market, hallowed be its name. The smart ones already know how to game it, the gullible ones think they can, and the clueless ones have been convinced its the natural system of things but maybe Prosperity Jeebus will smile upon them.*

It does have that potential, but there’s no political will in the U.S. to make that happen.

Nah, you’re just seeing UBI as it’s most likely to be implemented by the current powers that be. Which is why I agree it’s probably going to end up the way you describe.

[* neoconservatives are just neoliberals who are suddenly happy to make the state healthier if it means spreading their gospel, including stuffing it down the throats of countries that don’t have the political-economic culture to digest it]


Color and Christian-member testing would be so much cheaper. /s


Don’t they want to call it something like “Department of Public Welfare,” so that even the name has a negative cachet (to conservatives) to it? Might as well call it the “Department of Reluctantly Helping Lazy-Ass Poor People Who Can’t Be Bothered To Work.”


Preach! :slight_smile:

You make a succinct, fact-based argument for socialism that I think most even semi-reasonable people would understand and agree with.

Have you… considered running for office?


Isn’t The Culture more socialist than anarchist? The whole “post-scarcity” thing?

Automation won’t, itself, do either of these things – those who control automation, on the other hand…

Yes, a very good descriptor of what could be. However, in a sense, climate change may actually help us, here. It is going to be a much bigger factor in world events over the next couple centuries than any silly man-devised systems such as “economics.” It will likely be the thing that forces people into post-capitalism, if we are to survive at all as a species (and accompanying global ecology).

So, so true, and this has become exceedingly clearer to me over the past year and a half. A TRUE alternative to neoliberalism is needed.

This gives me some hope? https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/30/opinion/democratic-socialists-progressive-democratic-party-trump.html

Keep at it, yo!