As I stated earlier, Elly decided sight unseen to pack Mike off to Vancouver in the hopes that they would subject him to the same parenting she both hated and wishes to emulate. The idea seems to have been that two months of what she perceived as being arbitrary brutality because she has never wanted to admit that she behaved far worse than Mike ever did growing up would make him soooooo grateful to be home where he is safe that he'd roll over and do whatever she told him.
Sadly for her, her clever plan collided with the disappointing reality of Jim and Marian treating Mike like a human being instead of a chaos-loving monster who wanted to eat Elly's happiness. Since this meant that Mom and Dad failed Elly, she and John had to find a better set of people so that their children would finally admit that they're selfish monsters who had no legitimate right to expect to be clothed, fed and housed no matter how many indulgent and silly people told Daddy "Look here, you stupid four-eyed (expletive deleted)!! Those children are helpless so you gotta take care of them no matter how much it cramps your style." Thus, they hit on sending them to a man who made all the right noises: Danny Cruikshank, bearded road-apple, professional hayseed and all-around condescending shitbag.