Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms? CANADA’S BIG FAT LIE!



Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Media Release, For Immediate Release

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms ?
CANADA’S Big Fat Lie!

Falmouth, NS couple, Connie Brauer and Vic Harris are
demanding legal and financial resources from the Canadian
government to uphold parents’ Canadian Charter of Rights and
Freedoms. We visited our Federal MP, Scott Brison, last
week and requested Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
funding and legal counsel. At the meeting, we mentioned
there are no resources available to victims of Charter
violations. This makes the Charter inaccessible and
therefore non existent.

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is only viable
if all Canadians have quick access to it and the country
will uphold it. Canada does not! There are no consequences
to Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms violations.

We do not have an 800 number, there are no politicians who
can provide access, there are no lawyers in Canada willing
to prosecute Charter motions for individuals and there is
absolutely no financing for legal fees. Litigation is
further complicated because the Provincial and Federal
Governments are both guilty of Charter violations, in the
same matter. They don’t even teach Charter Rights in most
law schools. If they do, they do not teach the reality of
inaccessibility. We do not have access to class actions in
NS and some other provinces, and it would be impossible to
hire a law firm anyway as they don’t exist for this purpose.
They only exist for corporations. There is no mandatory, pro
bono, in Canada, either. Legal Aid is inaccessible and
inadequate. They do not do litigation.

On the other hand, Canada spends an inordinate amount of
taxpayers’ money, quashing any and all Charter motions
which individuals manage to file. Victims are expected to
hire a lawyer (impossible), pay for it (impossible) or
muddle through litigation on their own. (impossible). Then
there is always the threat of costs, awarded by the judge.

This is totally unacceptable and makes any viability of a
Charter, moot. Canada pays lip service to the Canadian
Charter of Rights and Freedoms but there is no oomph! No
money, no legal counsel and no punishments for violations.
Canada is getting off Scott Free!

The Canadian governments’ have been violating parents’ and
childrens’ Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms for over
30 years now and there is no end in sight.

We requested an immediate short term solution. We need
immediate, financing for a class action lawsuit to uphold
our Charter rights and we need the best law firm in the
country to represent us in an unbiased manner. This is also
impossible because most law firms have a conflict of
interest, as they have government contracts. Nevertheless,
we want access to uphold our rights for all Canadians.

Mr. Brison knows, we have been working on this matter, 24/7
for the last 10 years as have millions of other Canadian
parents. Every single family is at risk of losing their
family and their Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The Canadian government, systematically ignores families’
complaints.
When is government going to listen?

Our long term solution request is for a national resource
centre, exclusively maintained for the purpose of enabling
victims, all victims, not gender biased or restricted in
any way, to seek immediate redress from Charter violations.

Resources to include mediation with top government
officials, extremely competent legal counsel, (not Legal
Aid), financing for lawsuits, travel and accommodation to
the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa, prompt, access to
the courts, education program in government on how to advise
victims properly, more training in Law Schools and a more
willing attitude of government to uphold the Charter.

The Charter belongs to Canadians, it is the ultimate law of
the land ( Constitution Act, 1982 & Sect. 52 of Canadian
Charter of Rights and Freedoms ) and must be upheld! That’s
Canada’s job!

After our meeting with Mr. Brison, we really didn’t get a
commitment to actively and aggressively work towards this
goal. We requested a reply with an outline of a short term
and long term agenda to get our needs met? We want to hear
from other parents who are victims of Canadian Charter of
Rights and Freedoms violations. Call 902.798.5267 or email
us at, cbrauer@lincsat.com. Subject: Canadian Charter of
Rights and Freedoms.

Sincerely,
Connie Brauer and Vic Harris
Canadian Civil Rights Association

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Request for Immediate Resources to Uphold the Charter


Canadian Civil Rights Association
Connie Brauer and Vic Harris
1061 Mines Rd.
Falmouth, NS B0P 1L0
Phone 902.798.5267
cbrauer@lincsat.com

Hon. Scott Brison
Liberal Caucus
Wolfville, NS
B0N 1X0

11:40 AM 8/10/2005

Request for Immediate Resources to Uphold the Charter

Dear Mr. Brison,

Thank you for meeting with us yesterday to discuss our concerns about the lack of resources and therefore the inaccessibility of the Charter of Rights to Canadians. As we mentioned there are no resources available to victims of Charter violations. This makes the Charter inaccessible and therefore non existent.

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is only viable if all Canadians have quick access to it and the country will uphold it. Canada does not.

We do not have an 800 number, there are no politicians who can provide access, there are no lawyers in Canada willing to prosecute Charter motions for individuals and there is absolutely no financing for legal fees. Litigation is further complicated because the Provincial and Federal Governments are both guilty of Charter violations, in the same matter. They don’t even teach Charter Rights in most law schools. If they do, they do not teach the reality of inaccessibility. We do not have access to class actions in NS and some other provinces, and it would be impossible to hire a law firm anyway as they don’t exist for this purpose. They only exist for corporations. There is no mandatory, pro bono, in Canada, either. Legal Aid is inaccessible and inadequate. They do not do litigation.

On the other hand, Canada spends an inordinate amount of taxpayers’ money, quashing any and all Charter motions which individuals manage to file. Victims are expected to hire a lawyer (impossible), pay for it (impossible) or muddle through litigation on their own. (impossible) This is totally unacceptable and makes any viability of a Charter, moot.

We requested an immediate short term solution. We need immediate, financing for a lawsuit to uphold our Charter rights and we need the best law firm in the country to represent us in an unbiased manner. This is also impossible because most law firms have a conflict of interest, as they do government work.
Nevertheless, we want access to uphold our rights.

As you know, we have been working on this matter, 24/7 for the last 10 years as have millions of other Canadians.
When is government going to listen?

Our long term solution request is for a national resource centre, exclusively maintained for the purpose of enabling victims, all victims, not gender biased or restricted in any way, to seek redress from Charter violations.

Resources to include mediation, extremely competent legal counsel, (not Legal Aid), financing for lawsuits, travel and accommodation to the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa,
prompt, access to the courts, education program in government on how to advise victims properly, more training in Law Schools and a more willing attitude of government to uphold the Charter.

The Charter belongs to Canadians, it is the ultimate law of the land (Sect. 52) and must be upheld! That’s Canada’s job.

After our meeting with you, we really didn’t get your commitment to actively and aggressively work towards this goal. You mentioned a letter to Justice Minister, Irwin Cotler. I can already tell you what his reply will be.

Could you kindly, reply with your short term and long term agenda to get our needs met?

Sincerely,
Connie Brauer and Vic Harris

Who’s Child Is It Anyway?


Hi all,
I have finally gotten a copy of that article published on August 2nd.
Didn’t hear from the Beacon Herald yet about my letter to the editor…
Blessings,
Andre

Whose child is it anyway?

The case of a Halifax couple who have been ordered to never see their young daughter again has raised troubling questions about Nova Scotia’s child welfare system.

National Post Tuesday, August 2, 2005 Page: A7 Section: Canada Byline: Scott Stinson Source: National Post

In the early hours of May 19, 2004, heavily armed officers of the RCMP Emergency Response Team descended on a home on a quiet Halifax street. Four people were inside, and none of them planned to come out. Sixty-seven hours later, two of the home’s occupants were under arrest, one was dead of an apparent heart attack, and the fourth resident – a five-month-old girl — was in the care of the local Children’s Aid Society.

The standoff was only the beginning of the problems for the husband and wife taken away in handcuffs on that night 14 months ago. They were sentenced last month to lengthy prison terms for their roles in the confrontation with police — in which a blast from a shotgun sent pellets over the heads of the RCMP officers — and their daughter has since been placed in the permanent care of the Halifax CAS. Child apprehensions in this country are nothing new, but some Haligonians — including university professors, lawyers, and the local Elizabeth Fry Society — say the case raises troubling questions about Nova Scotia’s child welfare system. They want a public inquiry to explain what compelled the CAS to seize a child from the care of its own parents and why the police arrived bearing semi-automatic weapons and a battering ram to do so.

The province, critics say, took the baby girl from her parents not because of what they did but because of who they are. The 43-year-old mother and 51-year-old father — who may not be named in order to protect the child’s identity — share an unusual bond beyond their marriage. Both have lost acrimonious custody disputes from previous marriages and both were charged with abducting those children from their legal guardians.

The mother was briefly an international fugitive in October, 2000, when she packed her seven-year-old triplets in the trunk of her car and drove them across the Ontario border into the United States and eventually to Acapulco, Mexico. Their history with the child welfare system has caused the couple to distrust authorities with an intensity that borders on the pathological, as even some of their supporters acknowledge. During criminal trials that ended in May, the couple insisted they were victims of a vast government conspiracy to remove children from low-income families and place them with
wealthy benefactors. They fired their lawyers and represented themselves in court, which local reports said led to frequent outbursts from the defendants, who levied wild accusations at witnesses, lawyers and judges.

Ray Kuszelewski knows first-hand the difficulties of dealing with the father. He represented the man in the early stages of the criminal proceedings, before being fired when he refused to use his client’s defence to promote the conspiracy theory. Mr. Kuszelewski says that despite his former client’s abrasive, combative nature, the man has a point. ”Regardless of [the father and mother] and their statements and their beliefs … there are still issues that need to be addressed,” he says. Mr. Kuszelewski, one of eight Haligonians on a committee that is pushing for a public inquiry into the Halifax CAS, says there has never been a proper explanation for why Children’s Aid had an order to put the couple’s child under supervisory care before she had even been born. (The mother fled Halifax with the newborn in January, 2004, when she learned of the custody order and returned a month later under a Canada-wide warrant for her arrest.)

The lawyer notes that the father lost a fight to raise his other daughter, now an adolescent, whom he wanted to remove from an Ontario native reserve after her mother died, while the mother lost her children in a dispute with her former husband. ”But this is a child of that couple, of two people who had problems individually of a different sort,” Mr. Kuszelewski says. ”Any rational person would say these things are not the same [as their problems in the past]. ”How is it that some Ontario issue in the past is enough to trigger a call for an unborn child, which trumps all the other cases in Halifax to the point where the child is 20 days old and is already before the court?”

Stephen Kimber, a journalism professor at Dalhousie University in Halifax and another member of the newly formed committee, says he sees this case as a simple issue: ”What was the reason for taking this kid? Unless they can come up with a better reason than ‘[the couple] were involved in a custody battle and they challenged authority,’ then I don’t think they have much of a case.” Mr. Kimber says if the Halifax CAS, which declined a request for comment on the case and the calls for a public inquiry, could show that the man and woman ”were a danger to their child, then that’s a different thing, but
they haven’t shown that.” The Nova Scotia Supreme Court saw things differently, ruling late last month that the two were ”consumed with their perception of a corrupt family
justice system,” that they were unable to act in the best interests of their child and that she ”would be at substantial risk of physical and emotional harm if returned to her parents’ care.”

Mr. Kuszelewski says there is no doubt the couple were confrontational and difficult from the moment they learned the CAS wanted a role in the care of their child, which as he says was the point ”when the whole thing went off the rails.” ”What happened in the standoff, and the shooting of the gun and all that stuff is terrible and there is legitimate reason why you can’t let that go,” Mr. Kimber says, ”but if it all keeps coming back to the question of why did [CAS] do this in the first place, if they can’t justify that, then
it seems to me you have a problem.” Michael Baker, the Conservative Justice Minister, has said he will not hold an inquiry into the case or the CAS, which says it will not discuss its reasons for action due to privacy laws.

Mr. Kimber suggests that many people in Nova Scotia are ”appalled” by the series of events that began with the Halifax standoff, but he thinks it will take pressure from opposition politicians to convince the Tories to hold an inquiry. ”Because of what happened in the standoff, and the gun being fired, and because of [the couple’s] personalities, there seems to be a lack of desire to get deeply into this by the NDP or Liberals,” he says. ”I think they’d just prefer it goes away.” There are hints, however, that the government will feel some pressure to provide answers to the questions Mr. Kimber and his associates are asking.

Graham Steele, an NDP member of the provincial legislature, has gone to court to force the government to appoint an advisory committee to review legislation governing the child welfare system. Mr. Steele says the Child and Family Services Act requires the review be carried out annually, but it hasn’t been conducted since 1999. He says his court action is not directly related to this case, but that the furor it created ”threw a spotlight” on the lack of oversight in the child welfare system.

The Halifax chapter of the Elizabeth Fry Society, while also choosing not to directly address the complaints raised by the mother, said recently it supports a CAS inquiry to explain what it sees as a sharp jump in the number of children taken into state care in the past couple of years. Donna Phillips, executive director of the non-profit organization that supports women in conflict with the law, said her staff has seen ”a huge increase in the number of women who are losing their children, particularly involving women with mental illness.”

Ms. Phillips said the society’s outreach co-ordinator estimates 35% of her clients ”are involved with CAS trying to get their children back,” up from only 5% two years ago. Mr. Steele says the statements from Elizabeth Fry will add to pressure on the government to give some of the questions surrounding Children’s Aid a full public airing. ”The fact that a very well-regarded and serious organization is calling for the same thing makes it that much harder for the department to dismiss it as a few paranoid crackpots.” The mother and father vow to continue their fight. She claims to be on a hunger strike while in prison, where she is serving a 3 1/2-year sentence. Her husband was sentenced to 4 1/2 years, but both have appealed their convictions. They are also appealing the court order that said they would never see their daughter again. They continue to represent themselves in court.