WINNIPEG - An accused racist fighting a custody battle in Manitoba says he taught his children that different races shouldn't mix, some people should "go back to their own country" and the swastika represents peace and love.

But the man, who argues his constitutional rights were violated when his children were seized by the province, also told a court hearing Monday he never advocated killing black people.

At most, he said, he and his estranged wife just taught their kids "to be proud to be white."

"I don't believe in interracial breeding," the man said under questioning from his defence lawyer. "I would have told (his stepdaughter) people should be separate."

The man is trying to prevent Manitoba Child and Family Services from gaining permanent custody of his stepdaughter and his biological son.

The children were seized after the girl was sent to school with racist markings on her body - something the man said he knew "wouldn't end good."

The province alleges the children were exposed to racism and alcohol abuse in the home. The case already outlined by the province alleges the children lived in squalid conditions, and were exposed to violent racist videos and racial slurs.

One social worker has testified the girl calmly described how to kill black people using a ball and chain.

"I don't have a clue where she heard that from," the man said.

Although he and his estranged wife used their children's picture on a poster bemoaning the future of white children, he said the placard was never distributed because he didn't want their photo "splashed around everywhere."

The man said he agrees with racist postings written on some skinhead websites read out in court and admitted he used a racial slur to describe his Jewish boss and other minorities.

He also said he made jokes about Adolf Hitler being the "greatest man who ever lived." He went on to defend skinheads, saying they are just "working-class" people, some of whom are the "white-power kind."

Although he admitted to doing "pretty much" every kind of drug available in his teens - including heroin and crack - he said he is now clean and has cut ties to the white supremacist movement.

It's time his kids were returned to their dad, he said.

"I've jumped through a lot of hoops," he said. "I've turned my life pretty much completely around."

The man's testimony came after his estranged wife took the stand Friday in shackles and pleaded with the court to keep her children in foster care.

The woman was charged Thursday with credit card fraud for allegedly impersonating her mother so she could use her charge card that had come in the mail.

The woman, who for the first time last week attended the hearing, told court she needed to testify right away because her bail conditions dictated she had to return to her home out of province immediately. She did not return to court Monday for cross-examination.

She told the hearing her estranged husband isn't fit to be a parent because he drinks every day, uses drugs and has been suicidal. She admitted to herself having "white pride," but insisted she never raised her children to be racist.

Despite her harshly critical testimony, the man said on Monday that she is a good mother who should get shared custody of the children.

"She sometimes makes stupid choices and mistakes," he said. "Her feelings for me have nothing to do with her feelings about her kids."