Children seized over neo-Nazi allegations

Girl, boy 'may be at risk due to the parents' behaviour'

National Post, Canada/June 10, 2008

Winnipeg - A Manitoba court is hearing a custody case in which child welfare authorities have seized two youngsters from a Winnipeg home over fears their father, an alleged neo-Nazi, was filling their heads and marking their bodies with messages of hate.

Child and Family Services is seeking a permanent order of guardianship based on ongoing concerns about the safety of a seven-year-old girl and a two-year-old boy.

"The children may be at risk due to the parents' behaviour and associates. The parents might endanger the emotional well-being of the children," CFS wrote in court documents obtained by the Winnipeg Free Press.

Winnipeg police confirmed their involvement in the case, which came to a head in late March when school officials raised concerns about the little girl.

A source familiar with the case said she showed up one morning in class with disturbing scrawlings on her body, including a swastika and the common white-supremacist tag of "14/88."

The number 14 refers to a familiar slogan containing 14 words - "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children." The 88 represents the letters HH (the eighth in the alphabet) to mean "Heil Hitler."

Constable Pat Chabidon confirmed the father was recently interviewed based on allegations he was involved in "hate crimes involving children."

Police had questioned him regarding similar concerns in 2005, Const. Chabidon said. No criminal charges have been laid at this time, but police turned the file over to CFS, Const. Chabidon said.

The mother of the children is also named in the CFS application as being unfit to parent, based on her relationship with her husband. He is the young boy's father and the girl's stepfather.

Yesterday, one of Canada's most notorious white supremacists described the mother as a loving parent dedicated to getting her children back.

Paul Fromm, executive director of the Canadian Association for Free Expression and himself a disgraced former teacher fired from the Ontario College of Teachers in 1997 for links to neo-Nazi groups, said the children's mother has been in ongoing correspondence with his association seeking help.

"I think if children are being sexually molested or starved [by their parents], that's wrong and the state has a right to look at that. But because the parents have unusual or non-mainstream beliefs, shouldn't put them at risk," Mr. Fromm said.

Mr. Fromm, who identifies himself as an advocate for "white nationalists," said he met the parents in Winnipeg last December at a three-hour group meeting focusing on his involvement in court cases in Alberta and B. C. about hate speech.

Sources say a search warrant was recently executed at the family's home in Winnipeg. Several items, including a computer, were seized.

"There are also concerns about parental drug and alcohol use in the home," CFS wrote.

A lawyer for the couple could not be reached to comment on the case.

"In my view, the state should be held to the absolute strictest proof before they take the child from the parents," Mr. Fromm said.

The case - being heard in child protection court - was adjourned yesterday to June 23.

That will allow the child's mother time to retain her own lawyer, rather than be represented by the same counsel as her husband, according to court documents.

It's not clear why they can't be represented by the same lawyer.

Child protection cases such as this are closed to the public and media.

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