Barbara Kay: Stephen Harper’s last chance to make life fairer for suffering fathers


Barbara Kay: Stephen Harper’s last chance to make life fairer for suffering fathers

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Barbara Kay | May 26, 2014 | Last Updated: May 23 4:52 PM ET
More from Barbara Kay | @BarbaraRKay

In litigation, although lip service is paid by law associations to the “best interests” of the child, make no mistake: lawyers work to advance their clients’ wishes, not the children’s.http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2014/05/26/barbara-kay-stephen-harpers-last-chance-to-make-life-fairer-for-suffering-fathers/

Peter J. Thompson/National PostIn litigation, although lip service is paid by law associations to the “best interests” of the child, make no mistake: lawyers work to advance their clients’ wishes, not the children’s.

Tomorrow, May 27, will feature the conclusion of parliamentary debate on Conservative MP Maurice Vellacott’s private member’s Bill C-560, which proposes an amendment to Canada’s Divorce Act that would protect children’s right, in the absence of proven neglect or abuse, to love and be loved equally by both parents after separation.

Our now-superannuated paradigm — one primary, one secondary parent — is based on the flawed assumption that judges can somehow arrive at the “right” distribution of parenting time. Current social science overwhelmingly deems this an impossible task. Litigation necessarily triangulates the children into their parents’ divorce, encouraging drawn-out, financially crippling and emotionally devastating scenarios from which nobody but lawyers profit. It is an unethical and counterproductive model most Canadians firmly deplore.

All informed critics give our system a failing grade. No other alternative proposed over three decades has proven effective. Mediation has not reduced bitter custody litigation. Neither have collaborative lawyers, costs sanctions, parenting education or any other initiatives. Why? Because litigation remains the ace up the sleeve of the less collaborative parent. Sociological research tells us that what children want after separation is two parents, not one parent and a visitor. But once in litigation, although lip service is paid by law associations to the “best interests” of the child, make no mistake: Lawyers work to advance their clients’ wishes, not the children’s.

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If the bill were to make it to the Justice Committee of the House of Commons for further study and review, parents, social scientists and others who understand these issues far better than our elected representatives would have an opportunity to speak to the issue. But from a reliable government source, I am informed that cabinet ministers have been instructed to vote against Bill C-560, which will vitiate the substantial number of caucus votes in favour. This decision would be an unconscionable insult to Mr. Vellacott and a repudiation of the party’s erstwhile platform position. Add the mass NDP nays and the paucity of free-vote yays from Liberals, and a good and necessary reform will founder.

If I thought the bill were failing on its merits after a thorough public airing and debate, I could accept it with grace. But there has been no public debate, and I know from discussions with intelligent people — even those who claim to grasp the principles involved — that misconceptions about equal shared parenting as a default abound. One such friend said he disagreed with the bill because “I think mothers should have a larger role in parenting after separation.” He apparently thought the bill would force all parents to hew to the equal-time model. On the contrary: collaborative parents could make any arrangement they liked. The default would avoid litigation in high-conflict cases.

A document called “Myths and Facts” to correct such misconceptions was circulated to everyone in Parliament. It fully responds to every concern raised by the opposition. But it seems very few MPs have read it.

If mothers were the main victims of our failing system, would this bill not have passed by acclamation many years ago?

The fact that 30 cabinet ministers, many (most?) of whom are not really familiar with the parameters of the proposals, can shoot down this excellent, deeply researched and judicious principle — one approved of by 80% of Canadians — without an opportunity to inform themselves thoroughly on what it actually means, is cruelly arbitrary and unjustified by any reasonable criterion.

It is also personally embittering. I am familiar with hundreds of personal stories of literally ruined lives, tales of children anguished by forced separation from beloved parents because the “winner” took “all.” The “losers” are virtually all dads. Can we speak plainly here? If mothers were the main victims of our failing system, would this bill not have passed by acclamation many years ago? Why are politicians so afraid of ideologues? They don’t represent Canadian women, a majority of whom want to see gender fairness entrenched in family law.

Tomorrow will be the last chance for the Conservative government to do the right thing. I call upon the Prime Minister to allow his ministers a free vote in accordance with their individual conscience, and to send Bill C-560 to committee for the meaningful consideration it deserves.

National Post

bkay@videotron.ca

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Ending the feudal family law system is the aim of C-560 in Canada


Scott Brison,

We urge you to vote for family equality on May 27th. Vote for Bill C-560.

Live Free,
Connie Brauer
1061 Mines Rd. RR2
Falmouth, NS B0P 1L0
Phone, 902 791 0958
Email, cbrauer@eastlink.ca

From: ‘Glenn at Cheriton.ca’ glenn@cheriton.ca [CEPC_Members]

Sent: Tuesday, May 20, 2014 6:43 PM

To: CEPC_Members@yahoogroups.com

Cc: EPOC_NEWS@yahoogroups.com

Subject: [CEPC_Members] Contact your MP before May 27th to end the feudal family law system and vote for Bill C-560

Ending the feudal family law system is the aim of C-560

The foundation of British law is the “Magna Carta” which for the first time, effectively restrained the judgment or discretion of the king.

Parents across Canada have organized to reform family law with latest efforts resulting in a bill in Parliament, C560, expected to get a second reading in May, 2014.

In April, 2013, Supreme Court Judge Thomas Cromwell released a report, commissioned by the Chief Justice, which called for a complete overhaul of family courts, bemoaned the failure of 30 years of “reforms” controlled by the legal profession, and slammed family law for inaccessibility, dismal outcomes and creating disrespect for the legal system. The report called for “consensual decisions” by parents.

Bill C560 aims to implement selected best practices from other jurisdictions to encourage parents to make such “consensual decisions”, to reduce conflict and costly legal battles, and also to ensure that both parents have the option of equal time with their children unless proven unfit.

These reforms are long overdue: A joint Senate-Commons report accepted by Parliament recommended shared parenting and equality of parents in 48 reforms in 1998. Every single recommendation was blocked by legal profession vested interests, who make billions of dollars from the current adversarial system.

When legal profession advocate Nicholas Bala says the system needs more “resources” – he means more money. Thus the choice is clear: either taxpayers pour further dollars into the current dysfunctional system, or we implement a selection of practices which have reduced costs to parents and children in other jurisdictions. Those practices make up Bill C560.       

Advocates of the current sole custody system don’t seem to be able to avoid making two claims: that more money to the existing “stakeholders” will fix the system and promoting unfounded prejudicial stereotypes against fathers. The Supreme Court report dismissed the first claim, so let’s examine one of the unfounded stereotypes:

Claims that large number of abusive fathers are gaining custody are belied by research which consistently shows that children are safer with fathers than with sole maternal custody. Social science also shows that joint custody or equal parenting reduces both conflict and abuse outcomes.

It is time to move beyond simplistic gender stereotypes and do what social science overwhelmingly shows is in children’s best interest: keep both parents unless clear proof of unfitness.

To argue over which is more disadvantaged, the “winners” or the “losers” of child custody cases is pointless: let us agree that a child who goes into family courts with two fit parents and ends up with only one is the real loser. Let us agree that legal and other adversarial professionals who exploit that process to line their pockets are the winners, pious claims to the contrary notwithstanding.

Bill C560 is a good initiative to reduce legal incentives to remove a fit parent without substantial evidence. In his book, “Equal Parenting Presumption”, custody expert Edward Kruk shows that at least 40% time sharing (preferably 50%) is the key to making real reforms work and improving outcomes for children and parents. Equal time as the starting point means both parents need not fear arbitrary loss of their kids and in practice most often work out their own parenting plan (which need not be 50/50).

A key point of Bill C560 is to define “best interests of the child” as keeping both parents unless one is proven unfit.

The last reforms parents successfully pushed for (1986) included the “friendly parent rule” which was supposed to presume joint custody by giving preference to the parent who would most encourage parenting by the other parent. Judges generally “read out” this provision of the Divorce Act, inserting the presumption that existence of conflict meant they could exercise judicial discretion and order sole custody. Worse, judges often presume that removing the parent seeking joint custody or equal parenting will stop conflict. It is a feudal system when the decision maker has complete discretion/decision rights without any responsibility for the outcomes. Social science research shows that sole custody generates conflict and disadvantages children, yet judges claim this is in “best interests of the child.” Nothing could be further from the truth.

Parents say that outcomes from the adversarial system have not perceptibly changed over the last several decades. Vested interests oppose changes since they make money from adversarial divorce and sole custody.

Bill C-560 brings long overdue non-adversarial reforms to a broken system. It should be supported by all members of Parliament as such reforms are supported by over 80% of the Canadian public.

Parents and supporters of these reforms should can call their federal MP and ask he or she to vote in favour of C-560. You can call in to radio or contact other media and make the point that your MP ran on the shared parenting policy in the last election and that your vote in the next election depends on how they vote May 27th for second reading.

Glenn Cheriton, President, Canadian Equal Parenting Council

p.s.  Here are some links to help you support equal parenting reforms:

http://canadianepc.org/donate

http://canadianepc.org/membership/advocate-signup/

__._,_.___


Posted by: “Glenn at Cheriton.ca” <Glenn@Cheriton.ca>


DEMAND EQUAL PARENTING REFORMS FROM YOUR CANADIAN ELECTION CANDIDATES!


YouTube – equal parenting election law reform canada divorce.mp4

Calling on all Canadians to DEMAND EQUAL PARENTING REFORMS FROM OUR CANDIDATES.

Warning! Canada is not safe for families. Postcard


http://www.stopthetorture.info

Canadian Family Court

Canada’s court system is out of control! It is completely dysfunctional.  No one is accountable as judges systematically violate parent’s and family’s rights to their own children. The Divorce Act tortures one parent while unjustly enriching the other parent.  Sole custody, limited access, adversarial courts, judges and their endless discriminating court orders, lawyers, shrinks, Children’s Aid, custodial parents, no consequences for PAS and the one sided, exorbitant child support work together to deprive the other parent of all rights to their children! This is a CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY! The loss of one parent in the lives of children is the biggest social ill this country has ever seen. Where’s the media? Where are the politicians? Where are The GUARANTEED Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights?  GONE!         REFORM               FAMILY LAW! Compensate the victims.

NO EQUAL SHARED PARENTING, NOW = NO VOTES, EVER! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

MAKE YOUR POSTCARD AND SEND TO GOVERNMENT NOW.