Alienation Cases Reviewed
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!