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‘The right thing was done:’ Manitoba family gets guardianship of seized baby

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WINNIPEG — The mother of a newborn who was seen in a social media video being taken away by authorities in hospital says she is relieved a judge has given guardianship to the family.

But she says her daughter shouldn’t have been apprehended in the first place.

“They caused a lot of hardship for my baby, myself and my family,” the mother said Thursday after a child protection hearing in which a judge transferred guardianship of the 10-week-old to the mother’s aunt.

That means child-welfare agencies are no longer involved in the girl’s care. The aunt is the caregiver the mother had requested before the child was born and she has been looking after the baby, under supervision of social workers, for a few weeks.

“It is really hard when a kid gets taken away like that, especially when we are not heard,” the aunt said. “We really do need changes in situations like this.”

The family cannot be identified under Manitoba law.

The video of the two-day-infant’s apprehension by social workers and police in a Winnipeg hospital was broadcast live on Facebook by the mother’s uncle in January. It shows the woman crying softly as a family member weeps nearby before officers place the baby in a car seat and take her away.

First Nations leaders have said the case shows that child welfare in the province is biased against Indigenous people.

Statistics from the Manitoba government reveal that newborn apprehensions occur, on average, about once a day and about 90 per cent of kids in care are Indigenous.

The mother said she was aware she needed help before the baby was born and made it clear she wished to have her aunt take care of the child.

She can now work on her own recovery knowing her daughter is officially in the care of a relative, she said.

Documents filed in court said the mother was honest with social workers during her pregnancy about concerns with addiction and had asked about having family care for the infant. She gave a name to workers, but the documents said the family member required further assessment.

They said hospital staff believed the mother was drunk and smelled of alcohol when she was brought to the hospital to have the baby. The family disputed that she was intoxicated during labour.

The documents also said the mother told social workers she used cocaine while pregnant and tested positive for the use of OxyContin.

On Thursday, she said she is disappointed that her honesty with social workers was used to take her baby.

“I’m very grateful that the right thing was done today, and she is where she needs to be (and) I can take care of me.”

She will remain a part of her baby’s life, she added, but the aunt has legal guardianship.

A man who has come forward claiming he is the baby’s father agreed to the court’s decision. He also hopes to be a part of the girl’s life one day, said his lawyer.

The aunt said the infant has provided the entire family with strength.

“I talk with her and tell her things about what’s happening. She has a look sometimes like, ‘It’s OK. Everything is going to be OK.'”

Kelly Geraldine Malone, The Canadian Press

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Amber Alert issued for baby boy believed abducted by father in Alberta

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FAIRVIEW, Alta. — Police in northwestern Alberta have issued an Amber Albert for a seven-month-old boy believed to have been abducted by this father.

RCMP say Jameson Sundby was taken about 9:45 a.m. from his home in Fairview, about 550 kilometres northwest of Edmonton.

Police say he has blond hair and blue eyes, and was wearing a blue T-shirt with a star on it and grey sweat pants with cars on them.

His father, John Sundby, is five-foot-11 and 230 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes.

They were last seen travelling in a 2012 black Dodge Ram 3500 with Alberta licence plate CBF 3313.

Police say the truck was last seen leaving Fairview in an unknown direction.

They are urging the public not to approach the suspect.

The Canadian Press

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Tax credits, penalizing big polluters, key to Conservative climate plan

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OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer wants to give corporate tax breaks to companies that develop and patent green technology in Canada and introduce another federal tax credit for residential energy-efficiency projects.

Scheer is unveiling his long-awaited climate plan later today in a speech in Gatineau, Que.

It is the last of five big policy pronouncements he is making this spring in the lead-up to the fall election campaign.

A party official says the Conservatives intend to scrap the federal carbon tax but keep a price on pollution for heavy industrial emitters.

However their plan won’t tax emissions from major polluters, but will require them to invest in clean technology as a penalty for exceeding emissions limits.

Scheer intends to use his plan to reduce emissions in line with Canada’s targets under the Paris Agreement on climate change, but the Conservatives have been hinting that their plan will include taking credit when Canadian products reduce emissions overseas.

The Canadian Press

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