Chapter 1: The Period
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair… we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short it was so far like the present period.
There was a Prime Minister with a large jaw and a Madame Chief Justice with a fair face. It was the year of Our Lord two thousand. In Canada there was scarcely an amount of order and protection to justify much national boasting.
Fathers in London’s gaols fought battles with their turnkeys, and the majesty of the law fired blunderbusses in among them, loaded with rounds of shot and ball. The divorce judge, ever busy and ever worse than useless, was in constant requisition, now stringing up long rows of miscellaneous deadbeat dads, now arbitrarily hanging a homemaker on Saturday who had been detained on Tuesday without a warrant. There were stories heard from people living with mental health problems and illnesses, their families, and the many dedicated people who worked with them across the country that moved all, angered all, and inspired all.
Schools had a statutory duty to report child abuse and claimed to be in the best position to do so but having absolutely no resources to identify child abuse, eventually declared that it was difficult to tell when this duty to report exactly existed. Teachers’ professional associations filled their complaints departments with union leaders to obstruct abuse investigations. Nine out of thirteen provinces and territories routinely took a half decade to complete investigations and serious results were always withheld from parents. Teachers were better protected than children.
Churches reported child abuse first to their insurance companies but never to police. By the time these ancient sanctuaries finally apologized for their harshness and child abuse, they appeared to be dwindling and closing.
Bar associations claimed the broad nature of the Legal Profession Act decreed the purpose of law societies was to “uphold and protect the public interest in the practice of law,” but not only failed to achieve it’s far-reaching obligations of overseeing the qualifications and conduct of it’s members, but also missed a higher goal of improving the administration of justice and keeping up with broader societal trends. In fact, bar associations in most provinces actively argued against almost all new child protection laws, except proposals that finally suggested tiny statutes of limitations on reporting child abuse be made unlimited because it was known children took decades to report their abuse. Judges and lawyers were arrested for everything from assault and rape to sexting photos and tax evasion.
All these things, and a thousand like them, came to pass in and close upon the dear old year two thousand. In the midst of it all, two young nurses were raising children. Nursing was the most trusted profession in the land. Both had earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from fine Canadian universities back in the eighties.
The Constitution of Canada had just been repatriated and every school, labour union, and law court in the land declared itself a feminist institution. At school, both young nursing students were required by law to study the theory of feminism. It was the opinion of the decision-makers that female professions were the best to indoctrinate including nurses, teachers, and lawyers, especially since the ranks of female lawyers had suddenly swelled to half. This went on until universities decided feminist theory was obsolete. The government created a Legal Equality Action Fund to pay lawyers to run strategic and unending litigation for the benefit of women, until this was declared harmful. Any unfortunate males who wandered into these female professions were still required to study feminist theory although they were told by their professors that men could never be feminists because they could never understand what it was like to be a woman. Some nurses tried to start a new theory, claiming feminism required all patients to be treated equally.
Both nurses worked in big-city hospitals in Canada’s west coast temperate rain forest. One was a cardiac nurse and the government, needing critical care workers, paid for most of a Bachelor of Technology in Nursing, except the practicum, to reduce the nurse’s mobility. The other nurse was a teaching and learning expert in community health. Both nurses were married and raising two babies. Both families struggled with their own health concerns.
Chapter 2: The Fugitive
One ill spouse ran away with their babies. The first child abduction alert system to seek community help would not be created until 2002 in Alberta and would not be enhanced to use modern social media systems until 2016 in Ontario. The British Columbia Ministry of Children and Families threatened to apprehend the children if the nurse did not take their run-away ill spouse to court within ten days. This threat felt like an assault. The Ministry had a statutory duty to apprehend their children itself. The failure to report this duty was a non-disclosure which unduly enriched the Ministry and failed to protect the children.
The court found these facts to be an emergency and ordered the children home to their beds. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police knew where the kidnap den was and left the children in this stressful flight for ten more days. The nurse stopped nursing and paid a female process server one hundred dollars to serve the emergency court order on the absconding parent. Attempting to avoid service, the fugitive parent tucked a baby under each arm, like two footballs, and ran away again in to the dark rainy city. The Provincial Court of British Columbia and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police still did nothing, despite the process servers sworn affidavit of service to the court. The nurse telephoned the kidnap hideout and read a bedtime story to their children every night. The fugitive parent approached the Supreme Court of British Columbia from hiding for an order to cancel the Provincial Court hearing, making the fugitive the Supreme court applicant and demanding child support. Instead of shunting this out-of-control parent back to face the child protection hearing, the Supreme Court claimed some bizarre rule that said any party can cancel a child protection hearing as long as prepared to pay for it, and offered legal aid to pay for it. This nonsense law would be removed from legal books only a decade later, but not soon enough to save these children. The ill parent, struggling with two badly injured hips and knees from a work injury, was initially declared unfit but granted a year to rehabilitate. The nurse was ordered to pay child support from the very beginning, even though parenting the vast majority of the time and single-handedly whenever the ill parent was hospitalized. Warned by the court that the ill parent was trying to seize custody, even though unfit, the nurse struggled to parent and co-parent. The Supreme Court forgot it had a duty to report an unfit parent seeking sole custody.
The nurse-parent at first raised the babies as a single parent but always faced a court that felt it’s first job was to make more business for itself. The run-away parent was encouraged to fight in court for years, although never applying for divorce. Three years later the rehab parent was granted equal parenting time and a divorce decreed, even though neither parent had applied for divorce. At the turn of the century the divorce statute was an application-based law. The conversion of a child protection hearing created by the non-disclosing Minister of Children and Families and the non-disclosing Provincial Court to an arbitrary and unlawful divorce hearing created by no one was the Supreme Court of British Columbia acting beyond the scope of the law for the purpose of undue enrichment, and worse, failing to find the best interest of children.
Like the Provincial Court, the Supreme Court of British Columbia also failed to report to the nurse both that it had a statutory duty to report this child abuse emergency to the director of child protection and to finally hold or continue the public child protection hearing the Provincial Court was arbitrarily and unlawfully ignoring. This first parent-nurse was declared the loser of this unlawful hearing and ordered to pay both lawyers, including paying the legal aid lawyer as if she were a private lawyer. This legal aid lawyer knew the rehab parent was living with a person the court had already declared to be dangerous, but misspoke herself and misled the court to win her client even more parenting time. This legal aid lawyer also forgot the statutory duty to report known child abuse. She was eventually disbarred and her files handed over to the British Columbia Law Society.
This first nurse-parent was told by a high court judge that nurses were the worst parents in Canada because they were always tired and never home. Even though both spouses were shift workers, the Honourable Justice arbitrarily focused on only the nurse-parent. His Honourable Lordship considered nurses schedules to be harsh. Nursing leaders at the time considered the childcare schedule created by the Supreme Court of British Columbia to be harsh, but unlike the court, tried to, and eventually fully accommodated this schedule. The parent-nurse resigned after a half dozen years of self-made shift trades, even though a dozen years later the entire province would create a British Columbia Responsive Shift Scheduling Working Group, but again not soon enough to save these children. The former nurse lost the privilege to drive for approximately a decade supposedly in response to being unable to pay the former child support. This punishment was longer than the longest ban placed on drunk drivers who killed children. Fourteen years into the future, courts would order that child support could be reduced and paid directly to older teens. But for now, the court ordered that if there ever was a small nursing pension paid to the former nurse that the former fugitive would receive half.
Chapter 3: Rehab
The second ill spouse was severely injured in a car accident at an exit ramp from the Trans-Canada Highway where it runs through the lush green Fraser River Valley, leading to one of the five largest cities in British Columbia. Having some degree of paralysis, this rehab parent was given no accommodation or chance to rehabilitate, but instantly found too ill to ever parent again. The second parent nurse was declared the instant winner of all parenting time, relying on Canada’s Divorce Act. The ill spouse was granted a telephone call to their babies every Sunday and lived for these short minutes of parenting time. The parent-nurse scooped their children, went nursing in Northern Alberta, yelling angrily at their children during each Sunday telephone call to limit even this brief contact. The second ill spouse knew the first nurse-parent had experience fighting in court for years, trying to enforce parenting time and asked for help to enforce Sunday contact.
While these two alienated parents were able to provide each other with support and encouragement, neither was ever able to enforce parenting time ordered by the courts, despite their children’s entire childhoods spent seeking help from the Canadian legal system. It was a time when family courts were unqualified for their purpose, caring more about money than children. These two parents did a far, far better thing, than they had ever done. They were fit, willing parents, standing up to a corrupt and unfit legal system that claimed to have a crystal ball that foretold which children to apprehend without any credible evidence. According to court records of this time, almost all children of divorce were apprehended without benefit of medical or legal counsel – just a judge and two stressed parents. Both these nursing families were failed by their family doctors, the police, the school board, the courts, and what was called the health system at the time.
The first parent-nurse investigated the local school board for being involved in this child abuse. The Kindergarten teacher said she felt more comfortable with female parents than males. The Grade 8 teacher told their oldest child not to live with the nurse. The Grade 12 teacher tried to prevent the nurse from attending high school graduation, suggesting maybe a restraining order existed. At first the school board refused to co-operate with the investigation, claiming there was no abuse, then disclosed 200 pages of notes, withholding the rest, claiming third parties were involved. No one ever learned what kind of abuse third parties perpetrate. Like the other agents of Canada, the school board forgot it had a duty to report child abuse, although the judge gave a reminder. The nurse finally learned that Canadian school boards have no authority to enforce restraining orders against third parties, although this was two years after being honoured with the Parent Volunteer Award at the graduation ceremony.
The stress of losing one parent for no reason except to create a divorce industry was a child mental health problem. The downsizing of Riverview Mental Hospital in Coquitlam continued through the nineties until it was closed in 2002 and things got far worse for any families facing mental health concerns. A decade and a half later every Kindergarten and Grade one and two teacher across the country would be discussing child mental health on electronic media, there would be Kids Help Phones, Gay-Straight Alliances, Anti-Bully campaigns, and provincial governments would create mental health strategies and commissions. The Canadian Pediatric Society and the American Psychological Association would publish extensive and helpful notes on how Borderline, Narcissistic, and Anti-Social Personality Disorders contributed to parental alienation.
Notes and Questions
by Kevin Pedersen
Both the nurses in this modern fable were fathers and obviously responsible and fighting to be deeply involved parents. Both the rehab parents were mothers and obviously responsible and fighting to be deeply involved parents. The main features of these tragedies were highly stressed children surrounded by parents in decades of high conflict.
These accounts raise so many questions: Why were parents fighting for their own children against anyone, except maybe the Director of Child Protection? Were only some unfit mothers allowed to rehabilitate? Were some parents too disabled to be accommodated and allowed to rehabilitate? Did a broken back or paralysis prevent parenting? Did deafness, blindness or wheelchair use prevent parenting in an era of government ordered and funded accessibility? Did a severe, chronic mental illness always prevent parenting like a physical illness? Did incarceration always prevent parenting? Why did Canada pay to train parents to be nurses and soldiers, if decision-makers believed they were creating the worst parents in the land? What did Canada mean by rehabilitation and accommodation?
And of course the class action question: why weren’t ALL unfit parents accommodated and allowed to rehabilitate, including any parents with harsh nursing schedules? Wouldn’t rehabilitated parents truly be in children’s best interest rather than arbitrarily apprehending children unlawfully from one parent in each separated family? Some suggested the Magna Carta of 1125 was the greatest constitutional document of all time – a great charter of freedom that set a limit on this type of Draconian arbitrariness.
Others asked if the advancement of nurses needed to happen at the expense of other shift workers? Or if the advancement of male parents needed to happen at the expense of female parents? Those who had once been feminists asked if the advancement of women needed to happen at the expense of men? Dangerous lawyers, who had always sought to destroy their opposing parties, pondered if it was true that Canada had always accommodated since the time of Samuel Champlain, while hanging shingles with the word Mediator. Attorneys General tried to divert reasonable parents out of court. Reforms happened at a snails pace.
Some parents might see parts of themselves in these stories, because these are common tales in family court. I want to encourage and remind ALL parents, both the targets of these group attacks and systemic discrimination, who may have been told they didn’t try hard enough to stop the decades of alienation and even bullies who endlessly seek alliances to alienate their own children, that there is a difference between feeling shame and beating ourselves up and feeling hope, and being positive.
Target parents will probably never get an apology from those who have committed generations of child abuse. But today in British Columbia any parent who threatens to drive over people or to use a vehicle to kidnap a child will instantly lose both their driver’s licence and all of their parenting time for thirty to sixty days. Police agencies operate school programs with names like Cops For Kids Safety. Community Services agencies operate parent programs with names like Re-Connect With Your Kids. Judges can order parent-child reunification programs for targets and send alienating parents into Victim Impact Programs to be taught empathy and accountability. An inability to learn either would be a guide to the level of alienation.
We can also make living amends by thinking of our families in terms like, “what am I doing today to make sure these things never happen again to children?” Try to find some nice way to commemorate Parental Alienation Awareness Day, even if it’s just a relaxing walk in the park or to the corner and back.
Today is April 24, 2016 – only one more day till International Parental Alienation Awareness Day and Bubbles of Love Day. The purpose of this writing is to increase awareness of the broader questions and wider issues surrounding parental alienation.
All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
It was a busy week for family court, with parents seeking parenting time. There was a sensitive parenting case involving a chronic but rare childhood disease called Diamond-Blackfan anemia. There are only 30 cases in North America. It’s hard to think of children who need at least two parents more desperately than those facing lifelong health struggles, but mom had to be encouraged to release pediatric appointment dates. Dad had been volunteering $500 – $1,000/month child support but stopped once excluded from parenting time. His actual child support will be $350/month. And I found the BC legal aid booklet called How to Make a Rowbotham Application in the Court registry.
Below is my first rough attempt to try to modify this criminal application for family court. New Brunswick (Minister of Health and Social Services) v. G.(J.). (1999) is a children’s aid case that actually mentions the Regina v. Rowbotham (1988) criminal case, and both these cases discuss the values of our Canadian Constitution, like liberty and security of person, that led to the first judge being asked to appoint a lawyer to replace legal aid. Then I found a copy of the actual publication on the legal aid website, called How to Make a GJ Application.
I first wrote about the landmark GJ case on this website in 2013, but I was unaware of the connection to the Rowbotham criminal case. The British Columbia Legal Aid publication states GJ can only be used in the Provincial Court of British Columbia and only in cases under the Child, Family and Community Service Act. But of course our Constitution applies to all courts and all laws. As we pause at the beginning of the new year to reflect, let’s hope we can extend the use of this application to create fairer child support and shared parenting.
IN THE _____________ COURT OF BRITISH COLUMBIA
HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN
NOTICE OF APPLICATION AND CONSTITUTIONAL ISSUE
(Constitutional Question Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 68, Section 8;
Constitution Act, 1982, Part 1, Sections 7, 11(d) and 24(1))
TO: Attorney General of Canada
900-840 Howe Street
Vancouver, BC V6E 3P9
TO: Attorney General of British Columbia
Parliament Buildings, Room 232
Victoria BC V8V 1X4
TAKE NOTICE that the applicant will make an application to a judge of the ________________ Court on the day of ______________________, 20______at______________________(time), or as soon after that time as the application can be heard at the _______________________Court at(address):_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
THE APPLICATION IS FOR an Order staying the proceedings until the Attorney General of ____________________________________provides the necessary funding for counsel subject to any assessment of counsel’s bill.
THE GROUNDS FOR APPLICATION ARE:
1. The applicant has a hearing date of __________________________________________with respect to child protection issues, including issues of:
(list protection issues here)___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
2. The applicant wishes to retain counsel to maintain custody of their children. To that end, the applicant applied to the Legal Services Society for legal aid and legal aid has been refused.
3. The applicant cannot pay for a lawyer.
4. Representation of the applicant by counsel is essential to a fair trial and to the ability of the applicant to fully address these child protection concerns. The applicant believes the protection issues are serious and complex. The applicant is ______________years old and his/her level of education is______________________________.
5. The applicant relies on section 8(c) of the Family Court Rules (CFCSA).
6. The applicant also relies on Sections 7 and 11(d) and 24(1) of the Charter, and the common law.
7. Section 7 and 11(d) of the Charter guarantee the applicant the right to a fair hearing in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice and accordingly require funded counsel to be provided if the parent wishes counsel, cannot pay a lawyer, and representation of the parent by counsel is essential to a fair trial: New Brunswick (Minister of Health and Community Services) v. G.(J.), (1999), 3 S.C.R. 46.
8. Sections 7 and 11(d) of the Charter also guarantee the right to make full answer and defence.
9. The proper remedy is a stay of proceedings pursuant to Section 24(1) of the Charter until the necessary funding of counsel is provided.
There were 2 issues in G.(J.).: 1)The best interest of the child is paramount and presumed to lie within the parental home. 2)Section 7 rights to liberty, and security of person are so significant they are rarely overridden by other social interests. Effective parental participation at the [custody] hearing is essential for determining the best interests of the child in circumstances where the parent seeks to maintain custody of the child. Without the benefit of counsel, an unacceptable risk of error in determining the children’s best interests is created, thereby threatening to violate both the parent’s and his/her children’s s. 7 right to security of the person.
. . . I would have thought it plain that the right to nurture a child, to care for its development, and to make decisions for it in fundamental matters such as medical care, are part of the liberty interest of a parent ~ La Forest J. in the B.(R.) case.
G.(J.). at paragraph For a restriction of security of the person to be made out, then, the impugned state action must have a serious and profound effect on a person’s psychological integrity. The effects of the state interference must be assessed objectively, with a view to their impact on the psychological integrity of a person of reasonable sensibility. This need not rise to the level of nervous shock or psychiatric illness, but must be greater than ordinary stress or anxiety.
G.(J.). at paragraph I have little doubt that state removal of a child from parental custody pursuant to the state’s parens patriae jurisdiction constitutes a serious interference with the psychological integrity of the parent.
G.(J.). at paragraph  I agree with the Chief Justice that: “In proceedings as serious and complex as these, an unrepresented parent will ordinarily need to possess superior intelligence or education, communication skills, composure, and familiarity with the legal system in order to effectively present his or her case”.
The Canadian Constitution (Charter of Rights and Freedoms) says everyone has
the right to a fair trial.
In child protection matters, once someone has been denied legal aid, they have
the right to ask the court to appoint a lawyer to ensure they have a fair trial.
This request is called a “JG application.” JG is the name of a New Brunswick court
case (1999) about the right to have a lawyer in a child protection case..
Canadian courts create errors in determining the best interest of the child because of unfair trials without any ethical legal advice. These are devastating loses for any of us, which is why so many Canadians are seeking shared parenting arrangements.
La fête des bulles d’amour – le 25 avril, 2014
Ensemble, nous sommes capables de beaucoup.
Il n’y a que 113 jours avant la journée de sensibilisation!
Bubbles Of Love Day – April 25, 2014
Together We Can Make A Difference
Only 113 days till Awareness Day!
Dear Mr. Kevin Pedersen,
Thank you for taking the time to contact my office on Bill C-560, An act to amend the divorce act (equal parenting).
It was a great privilege to receive your message Honourable Dr. Fry. Thank you for giving me a chance to discuss our children. I wish my own Member of Parliament would do so.
Consistent with the 1998 Joint Senate and House of Commons Committee on Custody and Access’s report For the Sake of the Children, I recognize that parenting is only an enhanced process when both parents are active participants; however, the Supreme Court of Canada has placed the best interests of the child as the foremost principle to be considered in such litigations.
First, our Divorce Act(Canada) is an application-based statute. At least one parent must apply for a divorce. In our case, neither parent applied. An application was entered for a child protection hearing, which Canada had a statutory duty to fund as a public case. The best interests of the child are supposedly always considered in any custody case, although public custody cases brought as child protection cases have an an exactly opposite definition of best interest of the child from private custody cases brought as divorces. In a child protection case the law says a state-funded lawyer is mandatory to find the complicated best interest of the child. In divorce the law says it’s easy to find best interest and no lawyers are needed. The vast majority of separated parents are self represented and false allegations in divorce have historically been high in hopes of creating state-funded child protection custody cases.
That being said, the Supreme Court declared in Gordon v. Goertz that “each child is unique, as is its relationship with parents, siblings, friends, and community. Any rule of law which diminishes the capacity of the court to safeguard the best interests of each child is inconsistent with the requirement of the Divorce Act….” I, along with both the Liberal Critics of Justice and for the Status of Women, oppose this bill with the concern that this legislation will only weaken the Divorce Act’s principle of representing the best interest of the child in favour of the rights of parents.
Let me say that again. The contradictory argument is so strong that the law on child protection custody cases, meaning the New Brunswick Minister of Health’s case against a single mom G.(J.). calls your law on private custody cases, meaning the Gordon’s divorce case, UNACCEPTABLY RISKY! The exact wording of the G.(J.). warning, which as you may know Dr. Fry, was upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada in 1999, states:
Without the benefit of counsel, the appellant would not have been able to participate effectively at the hearing, creating an unacceptable risk of error in determining the children’s best interests and thereby threatening to violate both the appellant’s and her children’s s. 7 right to security of the person.
~ The Honourable Lords and Ladies of the Supreme Court of Canada As Per Lamer C.J. and Gonthier, Cory, McLachlin, Major and Binnie JJ
From a health perspective, every child involved in a protection hearing or divorce hearing risks a permanent loss of parenting time and faces a combination of stigmatization, loss of privacy, and excessive, unnecessary disruption of family life sufficient to constitute a restriction of the child’s security of person. While this child harm may not always rise to the level of psychiatric illness for every child in court, it is certainly greater than ordinary stress or anxiety and constitutes a serious interference with the psychological integrity of the child. Honourable Dr. Fry, Canada’s Divorce Act version of best interest of the child is arbitrary child harm and unconstitutional.
The Canadian Bar Association strongly opposes this bill on the premise that “the best interests of the child are not always met by exactly equal ongoing parental involvement. Each case must be evaluated on the facts and each child treated as an individual.” After all, family circumstances vary considerably from family to family, as does the interests of the child. Placing a presumption on the courts of equal time-sharing only seeks to overly simplify a personal matter that has no “cookie-cutter” mold to fit. While the considered bill seeks to remedy such concerns by making the assertion that judges may go against the presumption if the child would be substantially better off; however, there are legitimate concerns that rebutting such a presumption would not be easy due to the burden of proof that would be required to do so substantially.
The Canadian Bar Association and all other self-serving trade unions, like the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation, trying to use outdated arguments for monetary gain, have been completely discredited. To the contrary, the Honourable Justice Brownstone of Toronto has stated we must get inside our Middle Schools and confront the parental alienation of eleven year old children. How could so much child harm be happening in front of teachers and judges, who claim they have a duty to report child abuse? I can tell you, Dr. Fry, that teachers say it’s hard to tell when the duty to report exists and judges tell parents they are not there to answer court users legal questions.
No one I know calls the Great Melting Pot of Canada the land of the cookie cutter. Canada is proud of it’s diversity and our cultural mosaic has nothing to do with the child harm caused by our arbitrary, unconstitutional Divorce Act. Countries around the world are reforming their family laws.
Tasha Kheiriddin of the National Post has also voiced her concerns on this matter by invoking a report by the Australian government that provides that equal shared parenting leads to the “prioritization of parents’ rights over those of their children” and another report by the University of Virginia that found that 43% of babies “with weekly overnight visits to the other parent were insecurely attached to their mothers, compared to 16% with less frequent overnights.” In short, there is a considerable amount of literature and discussion that disproves that equal shared parenting will address the best interests of the child.
I am disappointed you would try to McIntosh me. Jennifer McIntosh and Samantha Tornello have been strongly discredited, Ms. McIntosh for having political motives and Dr. Tornello by the vast majority of medical researchers, including Dr. Warshak and 110 of the world’s top experts. This Consensus Report appeared in February 2014 in a prestigious journal published by the American Psychological Association. With all due respect Honourable Dr. Fry to you and all of Canada’s other 307 Honourable Parliamentarians, I worry that our whipped representatives may not speak for all women, or all lawyers, or all Liberals (the party of the Charter), or all media, or the majority of medical scientists, or even the majority of their Canadian constituents. The situation is so grave for children, delay and political debate seems like further abuse.
Bill C-560 fails to truly improve upon the current Divorce Act and will instead only sacrifice the best interests of the child in order to appease the rights of parents. Our country can no doubt do better than that by working to improve existing laws that allow judges the capabilities of considering the interests of the child on a case to case basis.
The constitutional remedies of Bill C-560 are reasonable and much more so than the chaos created by the current Divorce Act. Here’s a test for you, Dr. Fry. There are approximately a dozen complicated factors to consider when assessing the best interest of a child and our governments are in the worst debt since 1930, and some provinces are in the worst debt in Canadian history. How do you intend to pay for these expensive, complicated three-week divorce or child protection hearings? Since the vast majority of separated parents are self represented, how do you intend to run fair trials for children without lawyers? Do you agree that your message that divorce is all in the best interest of children, ignores the fact it is all about money and family court judges never consider the children instead following a definition of best interest that is arbitrary, unconstitutional, and exactly contrary to the definition of best interest in child protection cases. In my own family a British Columbia court labelled our child protection hearing a divorce hearing, even without an application for divorce, to save money and to avoid the difficulty of finding our children’s best interest.
Once again, I would like to thank you for contacting me on this issue. While I do not believe that C-560 truly improves upon the lives of children involved in such matters, I do believe that this is an issue that should be appropriately addressed by placing children first.
I believe shared-parenting after separation is in the best interest of children as found by a strong consensus of medical professionals. I agree with you that this issue will finally be addressed by placing children first. Thank you again for the privilege of discussing this important children’s health issue. I remain sincerely yours, Kevin Pedersen, Abbotsford, B.C.
Hon. Dr. Hedy Fry P.C., M.P.
Liberal Health Critic
La fête des bulles d’amour – le 25 avril, 2014
Ensemble, nous sommes capables de beaucoup.
Il n’y a que 337 jours avant la journée de sensibilisation!
Bubbles Of Love Day – April 25, 2014
Together We Can Make A Difference
Only 337 days till Awareness Day!
Herbert Eser Gray, Queen’s Counsel
Former Deputy Prime Minister Dies At 82
OTTAWA – From The Canadian Press
Herb Gray, a former deputy prime minister and one of Canada’s longest-serving parliamentarians, died Monday at the age of 82.
The federal Liberal party said Gray passed away peacefully at an Ottawa hospital.
“Beloved by all, Herb devoted a lifetime to his party and his country, in both good times and bad,” Liberal leader Justin Trudeau said in a statement.
“He has left behind an immense legacy unmatched by most in Canadian history.”
Prime Minister Stephen Harper extended his condolences to Gray’s family as news of his death spread.
“He was an honourable parliamentarian who served his country well,” Harper said on Twitter.
Gray’s career in federal politics spanned nearly four decades, starting in Opposition to John Diefenbaker and sweeping to victory with Jean Chretien’s third Liberal majority government in November 2000.
2003 Women’s Groups Raged Against Shared Parenting
Women’s Justice Network on Bill C-22, An Act to Amend the Divorce Act
Bill C-22: Where Now?
By Pamela Cross
When Bill C-22, An Act to Amend the Divorce Act, died in November 2003, a long chapter in NAWL’s work on reforms to custody and access legislation came to a close. We now find ourselves in a position to consider the broader question of women’s equality within family law generally. This issue of Jurisfemme, largely focused on the topic of family law, is the start of that work. This first article provides a brief update on Bill C-22.
Bill C-22 was many years in the making. The federal government began its most recent examination of custody and access law in 1997 with the establishment of the Special Joint Committee on Child Custody and Access, which released its report “For the Sake of the Children” in December 1998. (For more background information on this report and the history of activities undertaken by women’s rights organizations, visit the NAWL website at http://www.nawl.ca or the Ontario Women’s Justice Network website at http://www.owjn.org)
Since the release of the 1998 Report, the Federal, Provincial, Territorial Committee on Family Law, various Ministers of Justice, women’s equality-seeking and anti-violence organizations and other Canadians, including “fathers’ rights” groups, have all been actively involved in the legislative reform process.
Both before and after the introduction of Bill C-22 in December 2002, the following issues have been of particular concern to organizations working for women’s equality:
1) The language to be used to describe custody and access arrangements between parents
2) The best interests of the child test
3) Women’s access to justice
NAWL’s strong position with respect to each of the issues can be summarized as follows:
1) While there are difficulties with the existing language of custody and access, the proposed language of parenting orders, parental responsibility, parenting time and shared decision making will prove even more difficult. It will endanger women and children leaving abusive relationships, expose children in some situations to international kidnapping, confuse the existing child support guidelines and greatly increase litigation.
2) There needs to be a best interests of the child test with specific criteria, including past caregiving history, the presence of violence, the ongoing safety of the children and their primary caregiver, violence risk factors, race and ethnic origin and Aboriginal heritage.
3) Women must be assured access to justice through properly funded legal aid, independent, community-based services and mandatory training on violence against women and children for lawyers, judges and all family court personnel. Mediation must never be mandatory.
B.C. family laws face sweeping change
Bill that vows to protect children would also extend property rights to common-law couples
CBC News British Columbia – Nov 14, 2011
B.C.’s attorney general introduced a bill Monday that would create a new Family Law Act to replace the 1978 Family Relations Act, and better serve the interests of children.
Shirley Bond told the B.C. Legislature that the primary goal of the proposed act is to ensure the safety and well-being of children during and after the process of separation or divorce.
“The best interests of the child must be the only consideration,” Bond said.
Bill 16’s recommendations follow from a discussion paper and draft legislation issued in July 2010. The white paper suggested, among other things, toning down the language in the law by removing terms such as “custody.”
The bill tries to reduce conflict by steering couples away from courts and towards mediation.
La fête des bulles d’amour – le 25 avril, 2014
Ensemble, nous sommes capables de beaucoup.
Il n’y a que 2 jours avant la journée de sensibilisation!
Bubbles Of Love Day – April 25, 2014
Together We Can Make A Difference
Only 2 days till Awareness Day!
Sean Casey, MP for Charlottetown
Justice spokesperson for the Liberal Party of Canada on Best Interest
Thank you for your email on Bill C-560 which is currently before the House of Commons. From the outset, I wish to convey to you that I have reviewed the Bill thoroughly and I have sought and heard advice from individuals and groups both for and against this initiative.
As Justice spokesperson for the Liberal Party of Canada, it is my duty to assess any given Bills that touch upon the Justice portfolio.
After careful consideration of the facts, I forwarded my views to my colleagues in our parliamentary caucus. The Liberal Caucus had the opportunity to consider the Bill, from a perspective based in facts, and in this instance, taking into consideration the particular sensitivities that arise when dealing with divorce.
After much discussion in our Caucus, it was recommended that the Liberal Party not support this Bill in its current form. I have included a link to my speech on this Bill given in the House of Commons during this Bill’s First Hour of debate. I provide it for your review and to give you a more in-depth perspective of my concerns with the Bill.
The concerns I raised in my speech, specifically, include the “best interest of the child” approach, which is a view that is shared by the former Justice Minister Rob Nicholson as well as the current Conservative Justice Minister, Mr. MacKay. These two senior Conservative Cabinet Ministers have clearly expressed their concern about changing the standard from the “best interest of the child” to one of equal parenting.
As you likely know, there will be a Second Hour debate on this Bill soon. After that Second Hour debate, there will be a vote at Second Reading. It is not clear whether the Bill will pass Second Reading and make its way to Committee. Should it pass Second Reading, and then go to Committee, I can assure you that the legislation will get a fair and open hearing, from all sides and all parties including an opportunity to hear from experts.
I realise that you support this Bill. I also realise that my opposition to the Bill, and that of my colleagues in the Liberal Party, may be of some disappointment to you. I applaud your efforts to bring forth your views on this important issue. It is the proper role of Parliament to debate tough issues, and more importantly, that the debate be robust and respectful of differing opinions.
Again, thank you for your time in writing me and for making your voice heard.
A Matter of Child Safety
The Divorce Act Creates An Unacceptable Risk To Children
Dear Honourable Mr. Casey,
It was an honour to receive your email regarding the position of the Liberal Party of Canada on Bill C-560. It would be interesting to know if Mr. Trudeau intends to whip the vote on this Bill. If the Bill goes to committee I have already written Mr. Vellacott to express my willingness to be a committee witness.
I was only recently separated and our children were very young during the original For The Sake of Our Children Committee hearings. I never managed to testify then. Later, the seemingly permanent Justice Committee hearings were not as widely advertised. I have never testified yet. The ongoing nature of all these justice hearings would seem to put to rest your suggestion that family law will not reform, when it has done nothing but make considerable corrections and reforms since those early days.
With all due respect to you and all our Honourable Members of Parliament, I hope I can further address your concern regarding either the form of this Bill or the name of the man who brings it. The retroactive form is reasonable given the Constitutional nature of these proposed remedies. Your concern that many parents might try to re-connect with their children if given a chance expresses the exact purpose of the Bill quite nicely. As to Mr. Vellacott, like the Prime Minister I lend my full support to Mr. Vellacott’s Bill. I have called it Canada’s Bill because it comes with solid grassroots support for the benefit of our children.
In preparing for the May 7 vote for Equal Shared Parenting I hope you and our other Honourable Members of Parliament will ask yourselves one question: Is it a grave error in law – a palpable and significant material error in law – and a serious violation of the Section 7 Charter right to life, liberty, and security of person that the Divorce Act(Canada) creates an unacceptable risk Canada’s Honourable Courts will NEVER be able to determine the best interest of our children?
Here are three examples of the irrational, arbitrary and hurtful outcomes for children from the Divorce Act.
1) Many parents, like me, are prevented from parenting on their holy day, or rest day each week, which prevents their children from learning about their religion or even fully learning about their parent. This is an egregious error in law and a serious violation of children’s fundamental Charter rights to freedom of religion, expression and association, requiring Parliament’s immediate and retroactive remedy.
2) Many Canadian parents, who like me, were once shift workers are legally declared permanently unfit parents, but only after they are separated. Sometimes, even when their co-parent is also a shift worker, but not declared unfit. This creates parentlessness and is a serious violation of both the parent’s and children’s Section 15 Charter equality right to equal protection under the law requiring an immediate and retroactive remedy.
3) Almost all Canadian parents found by a family court to be unfit parents are prevented from rehabilitating themselves and are considered permanently unfit. This is both irrational and a serious violation of Canadian’s Section 7 Charter legal rights to reconsideration which creates the worst possible outcome for our children, either losing one or both parents permanently. This absurd, devastating and unequal outcome for children caused by the Divorce Act requires an immediate and retroactive Constitutional remedy either by Canada’s Parliament or by Canada’s Guardians of the Charter. Any Honourable Canadian Judge is a Guardian of our Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Public Law vs Private Law Custody Cases
Canada has always contended that there is a difference between the public law found to be unlawful in the G.(J.). case and the private law found to be lawful in any Canadian divorce case. The landmark case which the Honourable Attorney General of British Columbia relied on in March 2014 to prove this difference was De Fehr v. De Fehr, 2002 in the British Columbia Court of Appeal. Although all custody hearings engage serious interests, the seriousness varies according to the length of the proposed separation of parent from child and the length of any previous separation. Custody hearings in divorce proceedings can result in a permanent separation of parent from child.
The question is not is the best interest standard in public law cases, like G.(J.), the same as the best interest standard in private law cases, like De Fehr. All Canadian law cases are heard following the same rules of court, the same principles of law, and under the same Constitution. All the fundamental rights and responsibilities of every Canadian citizen expressed in our Constitution are meaningless – even our MOST fundamental Section 2 rights are meaningless – unless our Section 7 legal rights to a fair process are first upheld. Further, it is unethical for the British Columbia Minister of Children and Families to avoid public custody law cases by threatening protective parents with child abandonment charges if they do not bring a private custody law case that cost as much as $100,000. The Honourable Minister Lois Boone gave me ten days to bring on a private custody case that she had a statutory duty to bring as a public case. Finally, both private law and public law custody cases have been problematic as noted in the 1995 Gove Inquiry into Child Protection and the 2014 ruling of bad faith against the London-Middlesex Children’s Aid Society.
“This was exacerbated by the actions of the Society, some police officers, some women’s groups, a school board and her employers . . . many of whom accepted without any level of scrutiny the (woman’s) self-reports.” ~ Superior Court Justice John Harper on the largest financial penalty ever dished out to a child-protection agency in Ontario
So the burning question is how can we ever find the best interest of children in custody cases with poorly trained judges and untrained, self-represented parents and still claim we followed the high standard set out in the G.(J.). case or even followed elementary principles of due process. Since we are not going to provide state-funded lawyers for all custody cases, then Bill C-560 proposes we follow the the rebuttable presumption of equal parenting time if parents cannot agree on their own parenting plan (which can divide time and responsibility as the parents wish). I believe this standard of reduced conflict will work for most Canadian families, especially now that society frowns on such scandals, and being a matter of child safety.
It was very ethical of you to assure me that our Equal Shared Parenting legislation will get a fair and open hearing, from all sides and all parties including an opportunity to hear from experts. As we have seen in G.(J.). not all hearings are open and fair. If you are successful in blocking Bill C-560, I hope to have my Constitutional Question certified over the objections of the Honourable Minister MacKay, although the only expert I can afford is myself.
Again, it was an honour to hear from you. Thank you for taking the time to try to help our children.
La fête des bulles d’amour – le 25 avril, 2014
Ensemble, nous sommes capables de beaucoup.
Il n’y a que 6 jours avant la journée de sensibilisation!
Bubbles Of Love Day – April 25, 2014
Together We Can Make A Difference
Only 6 days till Awareness Day!
Canada’s Judges On Alienation
The Honourable Justice Brownstone of Toronto on Parental Alienation
“In my view, the term ‘parental alienation’ incorrectly identifies the target parent as the victim.
“The true victims are the children, who are innocent in parental break-ups. Every child has a right to enjoy a loving relationship with both parents. Since it is the child’s right that is being violated by a parent’s alienating behaviour, it is the child who is being alienated from the other parent.”
The first parental alienation case in Canada happened in 2008. I have no legal training so this list of quotes from Canadian judges may not be landmark cases, but they certainly show Judges are at least thinking about parental alienation. I have tried to pick one quote for each of the six years since the first case.
Most target parents feel exhausted and beaten. But in these cases parenting time with the alienating parent was limited at least during the reunification period, and sometimes it was almost unbelievable how quickly an alienated child was able to begin to relate positively to the rejected parent.
The Honourable Madame Justice Loo of Vancouver in 2014 wrote,
The over-arching recommendation is that all efforts are made to reunite [K.] and [N.] with their father. Given the length of time the alienation has been occurring and the level of severity, the writer’s opinion is that very strong measures will need to be put in place in order to give the children the best chance possible to have their father in their life once more.
There is a considerable amount of literature about alienation and treatment options. Treatment options can range from least to most intrusive, each of which has its pros and cons. Each family situation has to be assessed when considering what option might be most effective. ~ in J.C.W. v. J.K.R.W., 2014 Supreme Court of British Columbia at paragraph 36
The Honourable Judge Gomery of Montreal stated,
“Hatred is not an emotion that comes naturally to a child. It has to be taught.
A parent who would teach a child to hate the other parent represents a grave and persistent danger to the mental and emotional health of that child.”
L’Honorable juge Linda Despôts de Salaberry-de-Valleyfield dit
La Directrice demande au Tribunal de déclarer compromis la sécurité et le développement de l’enfant X, née le […] 2004, en raison de son exposition à de mauvais traitements psychologiques, notamment par l’aliénation parentale que la mère utilise à l’encontre du père.
Pour mettre fin à la situation de compromission, la Directrice recommande que l’enfant soit confiée à son père, qu’elle ait des contacts réguliers avec sa mère, qu’aide, conseil et assistance soient apportés à la famille pour une année et que l’enfant puisse bénéficier d’une thérapie. ~ Protection de la jeunesse (A. contre B.), 2009 Cour du Québec au paragraphe 2
The Honourable Justice Mesbur of Toronto in the S.G.B. case wrote,
Dr. Fidler also addressed the issue of the effectiveness of counselling in cases of irrational alienation. She said, “We know from our failures, so many failures, it is just almost unbelievable to see how quickly an alienated child before your eyes can, once they’re out of the orbit of the favoured parent, can begin to relate positively to the rejected parent and to give and receive love.” ~ S.G.B. v. S.J.L., 2010 Ontario Superior Court at paragraph 43.
DEFINITION OF SPOUSE
When our divorce was decreed in 2001 the definition of a spouse was “Any man or woman married to each other.” Then in 2004 the Honourable Justice Mesbur was asked to divorce two women married to each other. Her Honourable Ladyship realized she could not divorce this couple because of the definition of the word spouse in our Divorce Act, so she declared the definition of spouse to be “unconstitutional, inoperative, and of no force and effect.” Today the definition of spouse is “Either of two persons who are married to each other.”
Less than 24 hours after the couple’s divorce petition was publicized, the Canadian Justice Department was forced to point out that excluding gays and lesbians from the definition of “spouse” in the Divorce Act would prohibit them from divorcing. Earlier, it had told the judge to delay the case until after the Supreme Court had ruled on the constitutionality of same-sex “marriage”, but Ruth Mesbur ignored that advice.
The Globe and Mail hailed same-sex divorce as “a sign of progress” (editorial, Sep. 17, 04), and Ann Perry of the Toronto Star’s editorial board called the ruling “courageous” and “correct” and thought that once again the court was “dragging” “Canada out of “the dark ages (Star, Sept. 18, 04).
The Honourable John Morden Call to the Bar Address, February 2001,
“…Civility is not just a nice, desirable adornment, to accompany the way lawyers conduct themselves, but, is a duty which is integral to the way lawyers are to do their work.
In the field of litigation, civility is the glue that holds the adversary system together, that keeps it from imploding.”
The Honourable Mr. Justice M.D. Acton of Saskatoon in 2008 wrote
Parental alienation occurs when one parent convinces the children that the other parent is not trustworthy, loveable or caring – in short, not a good parent. As indicated in the Children’s Voices Report ordered by Mr. Justice Maher December 14, 2006 and filed with the Court on April 16, 2007, such manipulation of the children, with the resulting alienation, carries very high risks. The Children’s Voices Report states: “It can seriously distort a child’s developing personality and subsequent life adjustment. The sooner it is identified and appropriate interventions are implemented, the better the child’s chances of avoiding its worst long-term effects.” ~ B.S.P. v. D.G.P., 2008 Queen’s Bench For Saskatchewan at paragraph 12.
The Honourable Mr. Justice Conlan of Owen Sound Notable Quotes
“This is yet another instance where a party has determined that she will decide whether she will obey a (Parenting Time) Court Order or not. L.C. must be held accountable for that…
Those who deliberately and repeatedly flout Court Orders regarding custody and access (now called parenting time in British Columbia) shall be held to account for their contempt. And by “account”, I am not referring to a shake of the finger and a gentle reminder that an Order is an Order is an Order…
L.C. admitted in her testimony that the telephone access did not occur as ordered. Her excuse that she left it up to the very young child to determine whether she wanted to contact her father is no excuse at all – it is absurd.” ~ R.G. v. L.G., 2013 in Ontario Superior Court at paragraph 58
The Honourable Justice Roy of Montreal in 2011 wrote
However, the Tribunal’s view, if we can not speak formally of parental alienation, remains that the father nevertheless exhibits many behaviors that are similar (to parental alienation) and several disturbing reactions described in this evidence are observed in the Child X.
Thus Child X seeks to denigrate his mother to Madame Evans, and complains of an unjustified fear of his mother, asking not to see her.
In addition, he uses expressions which are not usually found in the vocabulary of a child of his age, such as “contract” (in reference to court orders), and “gather the evidence.”
It must also be recognized that gathering evidence against an alienating parent is hard to do. It is practiced privately, insidiously and in the absence of witnesses. The parent who is the victim is usually reduced to indirect evidence, based on the words and behavior of a young child… His bad influence on his child should be limited and custody (parenting time) arrangements must be made carefully. Family Law Decision/Droit de la famille #111527, 2011 in Quebec Superior Court at paragraph 99
The Honourable Mr. Justice Peacock of Montreal in 2012 wrote
 All children in Quebec have a quasi-constitutional right to the protection and security of both of their parents. This paragraph refers to the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, article 39: Every child has a right to the protection, security and attention that his parents or the persons acting in their stead are capable of providing.
 The uncontradicted evidence of Ms. Pérusse is that if the Court does not do something, there is a high probability that the Father may effectively lose contact with both of his children. This common result of parental alienation is also underscored by Dr. Gardner.
 It is not in X and Y’s best interest that this happen. All members of this family need to work together to restore the balance and mutual respect that permitted the equal shared custody to work previously.
 The Father has made certain parenting errors in the past. He has been made aware of these errors through previous court appearances. Both he and Ms. L. have paid a price i.e. not being together during certain times of custody. The Father is a sensitive individual who wants the best for his children: he has recognized these errors and needs to be given the opportunity to learn and move forward with his new knowledge of parenting.
 The Mother needs to recognize that she is part of the problem and must be part of the solution. She is capable of taking on important responsibility at work: at home, she needs to take on the responsibility that the children will benefit from the Father’s attention now and in the future. She must take ownership of her own responsibility to preserve and promote relationships between the daughters and both parents: not be a constant detractor.
 Dr. Gardner warns courts not to be naïve as to how much influence they can have in parental alienation cases. Family Law Decision/Droit de la famille #122229, 2012 in Quebec Superior Court at paragraph 69
Learning About Digital Art
I found that I could add Korean text to documents if I use the Malgun Gothic font. I created the Korean text in Google Translate and pasted it onto our Bubbles of Love poster. Just a rough draft, but fun!
La fête des bulles d’amour – le 25 avril, 2014
Ensemble, nous sommes capables de beaucoup.
Il n’y a que 15 jours avant la journée de sensibilisation!
Bubbles Of Love Day – April 25, 2014
Together We Can Make A Difference
Only 15 days till Awareness Day!
Collaborative Abbotsford Divorce
I saw an amazing parenting order at the Abbotsford Provincial Courthouse this week. Every Tuesday is remand day, when they bring in all the separated parents, usually just a half dozen or a dozen dads to be attacked by the Court – to be quickly and cheaply processed. Mom’s don’t need to show up for child support enforcement. Even if a parent sues the Director of British Columbia’s Family Maintenance Enforcement Agency or the Canadian government, as in a Charter Challenge, and these big players lose their case, they can never be charged costs in provincial court. Usually, parents who try to sue Canada are told they are in the wrong court. Last summer, the Honourable Mr. Justice Pearlman said he has some sympathy for parents getting shunted between the provincial and supreme courts and never getting a hearing.
But this Tuesday a mom and dad came to provincial court together. They stood up together and mom spoke first. “Your Honour, we have just come from the Family Justice Centre where we created our separation agreement. We don’t have anything in writing but we were told to come here anyway and ask you to create a court order.”
His Honour said that was fine, what would they like in their order?
Mom continued, “Your Honour, we have similar incomes and there will not be any exchange of child support.”
His Honour said, “OK.”
Then Dad spoke, “Your Honour, we have been sharing parenting time a week and a week, and we would like an order to continue and for flexibility in the schedule as agreed between us.”
His Honour hesitated on this second suggestion and asked, “Have you been able to do this without arguing and without calling the police?” but ordered it so after both Mom and Dad answered yes.
His Honour smiled and stated, “I guess we’re done.”
Mom spoke and said, “Yes, Your Honour, those are the orders, but one of our children needs orthodontic care and we are sharing the cost. Could we have an order for that as well?”
His Honour was happy to create the order, and explained that the registry staff would type the order up for them, although the court had such a backlog they would not be able to pick the order up that day. He also explained that they could obtain a divorce order from the Supreme Court. Then the Judge thanked them for being so reasonable and they left.
The judge never saw their financial statements or their parenting plan as neither were in dispute. As more reasonable divorces become the norm in our courts, the high conflict cases will stand out even more as tragic abuse.
This is how I imagine the Abbotsford Court Registry will type up these basic orders:
THIS COURT ORDERS:
1. That the Court is satisfied that John Doe and Jane Smith are guardians of the Children, Joseph Smith, born April 13, 1995 and Jillian Smith, born June 24, 1997.
2. John Doe and Jane Smith shall have the parenting responsibilities outlined in Section 41 of the Family Law Act.
3. John Doe and Jane Smith shall each parent equally on alternating weeks. Any changes to this basic schedule will be as agreed upon by the parties.
4. The parties shall each share equally the cost of orthodontic care for the Child, Joseph Smith.
A Clerk of the Court for Judge J.J. Begbie
A Judge of the Provincial Court of British Columbia
Canada’s Equal Shared Parenting Bill C-560
Canadian Bar Association quoted in Parliament As Against Equal Parenting Time
It makes sense that private member’s Bill C-560 is not as powerful as one of the Prime Minister’s 3 omnibus bills that have been forced through the political process. But I was surprised to learn that our Minister of Justice, Peter MacKay, is against our equal shared parenting bill. For me, this was like hearing that cowardly former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien was against equal parenting in 2003, 30 days before he left office. No one dares to be against equal parenting until they don’t have to face an election. If Peter MacKay intends to run in the 2015 election, I will remind you all then that he was on the wrong side of history already, encouraging chaos and conflict in divorce just a year before. If our Justice Minister objects to equality, the only alternative appears to be ongoing chaos. This would seem to be a bad thing for a Minister of Justice – or any politician. Maybe we can argue that children of divorce are victims of crime – robbed of loving parents. Less than 60 hours per week or 36% parenting time is the worst possible outcome for children with willing, fit parents. While Peter MacKay will not stand with Canadians and fight for our children and families, he has promised his Victims Rights Bill will pass within the next few days.
The Canadian Bar Association’s opposition to equal shared parenting means less. The British Columbia Teachers’ Federation and most other labour unions are against equal shared parenting as well, but there are many individual teachers, lawyers, principals and judges, including Canada’s Chief judge who are not only in support of family law reform, but who have personally been through the devastation of our present divorce system. Lawyers more than any other group have made the most profit from divorce conflict. It’s clear the Attorney General of Canada is more concerned about money than about the safety of our children. The next parliamentary debate of Canada’s Equal Shared Parenting Bill C-560 is May 5th.