Dick Hunt's Blog

March 3, 2011

Fighting the System

Filed under: Current — Dick Hunt's Blog @ 4:55 pm

Fighting the System
by Dick Hunt, March 3rd, 2011
While reading a news item in the Vancouver Sun paper this morning, I was reminded that all too often various levels of Government let people fall through the cracks.  Today it was  women who have given birth to children  while being here through various means and have then been abandoned by abusive husbands.  Their children have no status as Canadians as a result.

When I was ministering in the Town of Stettler in Alberta in the fifties I was pressed into service as the Truant Officer by the School Board. One of the “cases” I was called to deal with was a family who  had fled the violence in Hungary.  There were three children, a girl of around ten and two younger brothers. They all lived in  a house  just outside the border of the town, owned  by the County, and rented by the father who worked for the Town.  He was happy in Canada but his wife was most unhappy and wanted nothing but to go back to her parents in Hungary. She was willing to abandon her husband and children and lacked only the fare to return to her roots.

My first visit was in late winter and I was met at the door by the daughter, a bright girl named Anne.  She spoke good English, was in grade four and loved school.  She introduced me to her Mother who regarded me with stony silence and hostility.  Anne took me down some outside steps, very icy, into the basement to show me her brothers.  They were lying on a straw tick, dressed in rags, covered with trashy blankets and covered with sores which seemed  to have been caused by their irate Mother.  They were the two who were missing school, and it was easy to see why.
I reported to the School Office and asked that with the co-operation of the Public Health authorities, they be investigated and the matter dealt with officially for the benefit of the  whole family.
That was only the beginning of the matter. The husband and wife couldn’t agree on anything.  The School Board said it wasn’t their problem.  The County said they couldn’t fix it. The Department of health – ditto. I talked with the Lawyer for the School  Board.  No comment.  I was at a dead end.  The Mother was getting more and more desperate.  The boy’s health was crucial.  Poor Anne was the only constant. Somehow she kept her cool, helped all she could and was my interpreter with her Mother.

I finally reached the Attorney General for the Province in Edmonton, on the Phone.  Several phone calls later, they acted on my requests. They arranged for the Mother, with the agreement of her husband, to receive clearance to go back to Hungary and paid her way.  They searched for and found a good foster home in a rural area not far distant from their Father and adjacent to an excellent school. They saw to it that the children were cared for physically and emotionally. The Foster Couple soon arranged, with the consent of the Father, to adopt the children.  Follow up contacts revealed that Anne and her brothers were thriving in every way in their new home.

I carried on with my volunteer job for some time until my regular duties made it necessary for me to resign. I actually had no clout whatever to enable me to move anything.  All I could do was suggest, remind, push, shove, shame and persuade various people who had various levels of authority and hope that they would act and do the right thing. In the meantime I was getting on with my education of how the  real world functioned – or didn’t.  I often think back to the above experience when I try to understand stories like the one in todays Vancouver Sun Paper.  I am not surprised, less still amused by what causes the struggles of so many people in today’s world. Passing the buck is one of the first problems mentioned in the old Book, Genesis.

Leave a Comment »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Dick Hunt's Blog

Dick Hunt's 92+ years of history

%d bloggers like this: