100,000 missing and murdered fathers

In Canada numerous organizations and governments at a “national roundtable” Feb 27, 2015, have drawn attention to, and promised action for, one thousand missing and murdered aboriginal women over a decade. During that same period, over one hundred thousand Canadian fathers are missing from the lives of their children, some of them murdered. For fathers, no action has been promised, no funding offered, and no government is willing to work with any organization on this issue.
No one should be murdered and we should be concerned about all the missing. But we will not solve these problems by dividing people into those who matter and leaving others without justice.
Leaders of the Native Women’s Association have admitted that during the same period, more native men are “missing and murdered” than native women. Like the domestic violence issue, only female victims get government concern, media attention and prompt funding. The issue may have more to do with a scramble for government funding, sexist media bias and using the issue as a political weapon than any real concern for victims of violence.
Conflating the missing with the murdered does a disservice to both groups. Not all missing are murdered (missing can mean suicide, runaways, accident or other causes). It is not clear that successful anti-murder strategies (and none seem to be agreed upon at the national roundtable) can work on those missing. We do know that the courts and the government have made great efforts to excuse women who kill fathers, husbands and boyfriends. In fact, the “female discount” as it is called, is taught in Canada’s law schools and statistics from Professor Grant Brown show that it is practiced in Canada’s courts. If tough on crime works, it makes no sense to be excessively lenient on women. If leniency works, it makes no sense to be excessively tough on men. Perhaps the aim is to bias the courts for women and against men.
Biased courts have made over one hundred thousand fathers absent from the lives of their children. Some fathers have been murdered, such as Corporal Cirillo, ordered to protect Canada’s war memorial with no ammunition, but most are missing because of the deliberate actions of Canada’s judges, family court costs, procedures and government anti-father actions. 80% of suicides are men in Canada and the suicide rate of divorced fathers is twelve times that of divorced women. Few women are missing because of similar discriminatory actions of governments and courts.
Mindless calls for “action” on missing women from the federal cabinet was matched with mindless votes against C-560, the bill which proposed keeping both parents in the lives of their children.
Ontario’s premier Kathleen Wynne feels “not enough” is being done for women. At the same time, her actions in blocking services for men and fathers show that she believes “none is too many” when it comes to fathers in the lives of their children.
Governments and their quasi-NGOs generally do not have solutions to the problems of violence, so much of this is their public posturing. They believe they have to be seen to be “doing something” but they don’t agree on what, except for throwing money as the same groups and people who have been “doing something” for decades, with no noticeable changes.
Government sexism and the profits to be made in adversarial family law are driving the problems that fathers have in staying in the lives of their children. So it is ironic that the key factor in the likelihood of runaways, suicides and other “missing” children is that the father is “missing” or not parenting the children.
The very actions of governments in promoting sole custody which translates as the child is “missing” the father, significantly drives the missing women and girls problem. It is no accident that fatherless is substantially higher in native communities and that this translates into more missing women and girls.
It would be nice if government and politicians gained some awareness of this connection and acted to keep both parents in the lives of children. It is more likely that they will continue to throw more money at the same failed “actions” while keeping the profits flowing for the divorce industry. And children and fathers will continue to suffer while society pays for failed actions that no one believes will make any real change.
Please send a message to your political representatives asking for real action for real change with equality and respect for both parents. The hundred thousand fathers and their children will thank you.
Here is our link for donations (choose your amount)

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Stop Child Divorce!

Equal Parenting Now!
Children are regularly forcibly divorced from one parent against their will in Canada’s family law courts in violation of Canadian and International law.
Divorce law was never intended to separate children from fit and loving parents. Spouses divorce, but children cannot and should not be separated from their parents without a specific finding by a separate hearing with clear evidence of parental unfitness or clear harm to the child. Most often, something in the order of 90%, the parent removed is the father, almost always with no evidence-based finding of unfitness or harm to the child.
Yet social science is almost unanimous: the loss the father as a parent in divorce subjects the child to a wide array of higher risks and negative social outcomes: higher risk of abuse, poor physical and mental health, educational underachievement, delinquency, teen pregnancy, relationship problems, unemployment, and the list goes on. The current system harms children by its very practice.
There is increasing agreement that the current adversarial family law process, with its emphasis on affidavits without proof, high costs to the point of inaccessibility for most families, and procedural game-playing, is the problem. Surveys of the public confirm that most Canadians believe that money and careers in the divorce industry are the obstacles to reforms.
The United Nations Convention on Children’s Rights obliges signatory states, of which Canada is one, to protect the child’s right to both parents. Canada’s federal and provincial governments have failed in this regard, as there are more children of separated families who have had a parent removed by Family Courts than lost a parent in the Native Residential Schools fiasco. That hundreds of thousands of children are forcibly divorced from a divorcing parent as a matter of course each year in Canada is a source of deep shame and personal responsibility to Canadian judges, lawyers, politicians and associated professionals. All Canadians should feel responsible, as this is done with our tax dollars. We should all be outraged that children suffer for the profit of a relative few. We should be further outraged that children suffer disadvantage in a system which pretends to act in the “best interests of the child.” Those who claim this are either dishonest or misled by ideology, greed or careerism.
How do we stop forced divorces? I am convinced that it needs a political solution, although pressure from other directions could be helpful. First, we need to organize parents and allies so that the common message to politicians is that the current system is intolerable to children. It is children’s right to both parents. It is children’s right not to be forcibly divorced from either parent without due process, clear evidence and findings based on science, not mere unproven accusations and stereotypes.
How can the current system claim due process when children are almost never allowed a hearing in courts? How can judges and lawyers claim to act in the “best interest of the child” when they are neither listening to the child, nor representing the child? How can the system, including politicians ignore the overwhelming science, research and evidence showing that children benefit from both parents and suffer when forcibly separated from fit, loving parents?
Parents need to organize and provide the solution where government, courts and the legal profession have failed. Let’s stop forced child divorce now.

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Change or Die

For a while now I have been suggesting that those who advocate for equal parenting need to stop asking and start demanding. After all, how long do we have to be right about what benefits kids, mothers, fathers and society generally and yet still fail to pass our bills before we get the message that we need a new approach? The fact is that when we approach legislatures and Parliament, we make our compassionate, fact-based arguments and every year we’re turned away empty handed. If being right were all it took, we’d have succeeded by now, but we haven’t.
Scott Comber, Assistant Professor of the Rowe School of Business at Dalhousie University, works with organizations to help manage change and conflict resolution. His training session is called, “Change or Die”. He says studies show that of patients with bypass surgery and heart disease needing to change lifestyle for their own survival, 90% choose not to change. In business, Comber says a full 75% of corporate change initiatives fail.
So, perhaps we should not be too discouraged with the failure of federal politicians to accept needed change to the Divorce Act with bill C-560.
I’ve argued many times that the movement for equal parenting needs to start doing politics. By that I mean opposing those politicians who oppose equal parenting and supporting those who favour it. That means all the usual ground campaign work of electoral politics – phone-banking, canvassing, leafleting, etc. I think that it wouldn’t take much of that, targeted at vulnerable office-holders to turn the tide in our favour. Most office-holders want to do the right thing, but have to be made to see that doing so is also in their own interest. The message “We’ll attack you if you vote the wrong way, but go to bat for you if you vote with us,” is simple and easy for elected officials to understand. Most of those folks want an easy election, not a fight with an intense opposition, even a minority one. One or two successful campaigns pro and con, and the rest of them will get the message.
A federal election is expected in October 2015. I am going to ask… NO, I am going to DEMAND, that if you care about your children, that you sign up for the advocates list
or that you make a donation to our political action campaign for the next election
We must face politicians with the simple fact: we can either do something FOR THEM, or we can do something TO THEM.
If you get letters or emails from politicians asking for money (and we should all be on at least one such list), thank them for continuing to send you information about the party and issues, and note that you have donated large amounts of money in the past/been a member/voted for them (even if you have not).
Find out how your Member voted on Bill C560 here. Suggest that your future support, and that of your family, is linked to supporting family law reform.
Repeat back to them their wording: e.g. “real change” or “standing up for the middle class” and ask why they are not doing what they say they are doing.
Be polite and imply that if they changed policy and acted on our issues, then you would support them.
Our message to politicians must be “change or die” We demand change. We demand action now.

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Thanks so much for your efforts!


Thanks so much for this post! I have been going through a really tough time after my divorce, and all I want is to be able to live with my son. Keep up the great work here.  A father…

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How your MP voted on Equal Parenting

If your Member of Parliament voted “YEA” (for) C-560, Equal Parenting Bill, please phone, write or email him or her and thank them for the support for this issue. Consider a donation to their re-election campaign, volunteer for their association in the riding and vote for them in the next election. If your MP voted “NAY” (against) C-560, please write, phone or email and ask, politely why. Please say that your vote, donation and volunteers depends on their support for this important issue.
The table below can be sorted by vote, name, riding and party, or use the search field.

YEADianeAblonczyConservative Calgary--Nose Hill, Alberta
YEAEveAdamsConservative Mississauga-Brampton South
NAYMarkAdlerConservative York Centre, Ontario
NAYLeonaAglukkaqConservative Nunavut, Nunavut
NAYDanAlbasConservative Okanagan--Coquihalla, British Columbia
YEAHarold GlennAlbrechtConservative Kitchener--Conestoga, Ontario
NAYChrisAlexanderConservative Ajax--Pickering, Ontario
YEAMikeAllenConservative Tobique--Mactaquac, New Brunswick
NAYMalcolmAllenNDP Welland, Ontario
YEADeanAllisonConservative Niagara West--Glanbrook, Ontario
YEAStellaAmblerConservative Mississauga South, Ontario
absentRonaAmbroseConservative Edmonton--Spruce Grove, Alberta
YEARobAndersConservative Calgary West, Alberta
YEADavid L.AndersonConservative Cypress Hills--Grasslands, Saskatchewan
NAYScottAndrewsLiberal Avalon, Newfoundland and Labrador
absentCharlieAngusNDP Timmins--James Bay, Ontario
YEAScottArmstrongConservative Cumberland--Colchester--Musquodoboit Valley, Nova Scotia
YEAKeithAshfieldConservative Fredericton, New Brunswick
absentNikiAshtonNDP Churchill, Manitoba
YEAJayAspinConservativeNipissing--Timiskaming, Ontario
NAYAlexAtamanenkoNDP British Columbia Southern Interior, British Columbia
NAYRobertAubinNDP Trois-Rivières, Quebec
absentPaulinaAyalaNDP Honoré-Mercier, Quebec
NAYJohnBairdConservative Ottawa West--Nepean, Ontario
absentJoyceBatemanNDP Winnipeg South Centre, Manitoba
NAYMaurilBélangerLiberal Ottawa--Vanier, Ontario
absentAndréBellavanceBQRichmond--Arthabaska, Quebec
NAYCarolynBennettLiberal St. Paul's, Ontario
YEALeon EarlBenoitConservative Vegreville--Wainwright, Alberta
NAYTyroneBenskinNDP Jeanne-Le Ber, Quebec
NAYCandiceBergenConservative Portage--Lisgar, Manitoba
absentMaximeBernierConservative Beauce, Quebec
NAYDennisBevingtonNDP Western Arctic, Northwest Territories
NAYJamesBezanConservative Selkirk--Interlake, Manitoba
NAYDenisBlanchetteNDP Louis-Hébert, Quebec
NAYLysaneBlanchette-LamotheNDP Pierrefonds--Dollard, Quebec
NAYStevenBlaneyConservative Lévis--Bellechasse, Quebec
NAYKellyBlockConservative Saskatoon--Rosetown--Biggar, Saskatchewan
NAYFrançoiseBoivinNDP Gatineau, Quebec
NAYCharmaineBorgNDP Terrebonne--Blainville, Quebec
YEARayBoughenConservative Palliser, Saskatchewan
absentAlexandreBoulericeNDP Rosemont--La Petite-Patrie, Quebec
NAYMarjolaineBoutin-SweetNDP Hochelaga
NAYTarikBrahmiNDP Saint-Jean, Quebec
NAYPeterBraidConservative Kitchener--Waterloo, Ontario
absentGarry W.BreitkreuzConservative Yorkton--Melville, Saskatchewan
NAYScottBrisonLiberal Kings--Hants, Nova Scotia
NAYRuth EllenBrosseauNDP Berthier--Maskinongé, Quebec
YEAPatrickBrownConservative Barrie, Ontario
YEAGordBrownConservative Leeds--Grenville, Ontario
absentLoisBrownConservative Newmarket--Aurora, Ontario
YEARodBruinoogeConservative Winnipeg South, Manitoba
YEABradButtConservative Mississauga--Streetsville, Ontario
absentGerryByrneLiberal Humber--St. Barbe--Baie Verte, Newfoundland and Labrador
NAYPaulCalandraConservative Oak Ridges--Markham, Ontario
YEABlaineCalkinsConservative Wetaskiwin, Alberta
YEARonCannanConservative Kelowna--Lake Country, British Columbia
YEAJohnCarmichaelConservative Don Valley West, Ontario
NAYGuyCaronNDP Rimouski-Neigette--Témiscouata--Les Basques, Quebec
YEAColinCarrieConservative Oshawa, Ontario
NAYShawnCaseyLiberal Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
NAYAndrewCashNDP Davenport, Ontario
absentChrisCharltonNDP Hamilton Mountain, Ontario
NAYSylvainChicoineNDP Châteauguay--Saint-Constant, Quebec
NAYRobertChisholmNDP Dartmouth--Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia
NAYCorneliuChisuConservative Pickering--Scarborough East, Ontario
YEAMichaelChongConservative Wellington--Halton Hills, Ontario
NAYFrançoisChoquetteNDP Drummond, Quebec
NAYDavidChristophersonNDP Hamilton Centre, Ontario
YEARobClarkeConservative Desnethe-Missinippi-Churchill River
NAYRyanClearyNDP St. John's South--Mount Pearl, Newfoundland and Labrador
absentTonyClementConservative Parry Sound--Muskoka, Ontario
NAYJoeComartinNDP Windsor--Tecumseh, Ontario
NAYRaymondCotéNDP Beauport--Limoilou, Quebec
absentIrwinCotlerLiberal Mount Royal, Quebec
YEAJoanCrockattConservative Calgary Centre, Alberta
NAYJeanCrowderNDP Nanaimo--Cowichan, British Columbia
NAYNathanCullenNDP Skeena--Bulkley Valley, British Columbia
NAYRodgerCuznerLiberal Cape Breton--Canso, Nova Scotia
NAYJoeDanielConservative Don Valley East, Ontario
NAYPatriciaDavidsonConservative Sarnia--Lambton, Ontario
NAYDonDaviesNDP Vancouver Kingsway, British Columbia
absentLibbyDaviesNDP Vancouver East, British Columbia
NAYAnne-MarieDayNDP Charlesbourg--Haute-Saint-Charles, Quebec
NAYBobDechertConservative Mississauga--Erindale, Ontario
YEADeanDel MastroConservative Peterborough, Ontario
YEABarryDevolinConservative Haliburton--Kawartha Lakes--Brock, Ontario
NAYPaulDewarNDP Ottawa Centre, Ontario
NAYStéphaneDionLiberal Saint-Laurent--Cartierville, Quebec
NAYPierreDionne-LabelleNDP Rivière-du-Nord, Quebec
NAYFinDonnellyNDP New Westminster-Coquitlam
NAYRosaneDoré-LefebvreNDP Alfred-Pellan, Quebec
YEAEarlDreeshenConservative Red Deer, Alberta
NAYMatthewDubéNDP Chambly--Borduas, Quebec
absentEmmanuelDubourgLiberal Bourassa, Quebec
NAYLindaDuncanNDP Edmonton--Strathcona, Alberta
NAYJohn MorrisDuncanConservative Vancouver Island North, British Columbia
absentKirstyDuncanLiberal Etobicoke North, Ontario
NAYPierre-LucDusseaultNDP Sherbrooke, Quebec
NAYRickDykstraConservative St. Catharines, Ontario
NAYWayneEasterLiberal Malpeque, Prince Edward Island
NAYMarkEykingLiberal Sydney--Victoria, Nova Scotia
YEATedFalkConservative Provencher, Manitoba
NAYJulianFantinoConservative Vaughan, Ontario
NAYEdFastConservative Abbotsford, British Columbia
NAYKerry-LynneFindlayConservative Delta--Richmond East, British Columbia
NAYDianeFinleyConservative Haldimand--Norfolk, Ontario
YEAStevenFletcherConservative Charleswood--St. James--Assiniboia, Manitoba
absentJudyFooteLiberal Random--Burin--St. George's, Newfoundland and Labrador
NAYJean-FrançoisFortinBQHaute-Gaspésie--La Mitis--Matane--Matapédia, Quebec
NAYChrystiaFreelandLiberal Toronto Centre, Ontario
NAYMylèneFreemanNDP Argenteuil--Papineau--Mirabel, Quebec
NAYHedyFryLiberal Vancouver Centre, British Columbia
YEARoyalGalipeauConservative Ottawa--Orléans, Ontario
absentCherylGallantConservative Renfrew--Nipissing--Pembroke, Ontario
NAYMarcGarneauLiberal Westmount--Ville-Marie, Quebec
NAYRandall C.GarrisonNDP Esquimalt--Juan de Fuca, British Columbia
NAYRéjeanGenestNDP Shefford, Quebec
NAYJonathanGenest-JourdainNDP Manicouagan, Quebec
NAYAlainGiguèreNDP Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, Quebec
NAYParmGillConservative Brampton--Springdale, Ontario
NAYShellyGloverConservative Saint Boniface, Manitoba
NAYYvonGodinNDP Acadie--Bathurst, New Brunswick
NAYRobertGoguenConservative Moncton--Riverview--Dieppe, New Brunswick
absentPeterGoldringConservative Edmonton East, Alberta
NAYRalph EdwardGoodaleLiberal Wascana, Saskatchewan
NAYGaryGoodyearConservative Cambridge, Ontario
NAYBalGosalConservative Bramalea--Gore--Malton, Ontario
NAYJacquesGourdeConservative Lotbinière--Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, Quebec
absentClaudeGravelleNDP Nickel Belt, Ontario
YEANinaGrewalConservative Fleetwood--Port Kells, British Columbia
NAYSadiaGroguhéNDP Saint-Lambert, Quebec
absentStephenHarperConservative Calgary Southwest, Alberta
YEADickHarrisConservative Cariboo--Prince George, British Columbia
NAYJackHarrisNDP St. John's East, Newfoundland and Labrador
absentDanHarrisNDP Scarborough Southwest, Ontario
absentSanaHassainiaNDP Verchères--Les Patriotes, Quebec
YEALaurieHawnConservative Edmonton Centre, Alberta
YEABryanHayesConservative Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
YEARussHiebertConservative South Surrey--White Rock--Cloverdale, British Columbia
YEAJimHillyerConservative Lethbridge, Alberta
absentRandyHobackConservative Prince Albert, Saskatchewan
NAYEdHolderConservative London West, Ontario
NAYTedHsuLiberal Kingston and the Islands, Ontario
NAYCarolHughesNDP Algoma--Manitoulin--Kapuskasing, Ontario
NAYBruceHyerNDP Thunder Bay--Superior North, Ontario
NAYPierreJacobNDP Brome--Missisquoi, Quebec
YEARoxanneJamesConservative Scarborough Centre, Ontario
NAYBrianJeanConservative Fort McMurray--Athabasca, Alberta
NAYPeterJulianNDP Burnaby--New Westminster, British Columbia
YEARandyKampConservative Pitt Meadows--Maple Ridge--Mission, British Columbia
NAYGeraldKeddyConservative South Shore--St. Margaret's, Nova Scotia
absentMatthewKellwayNDP Beaches--East York, Ontario
NAYJasonKenneyConservative Calgary Southeast, Alberta
absentPeterKentConservative Thornhill, Ontario
YEAGregKerrConservative West Nova, Nova Scotia
YEAEdKomarnickiConservative Souris--Moose Mountain, Saskatchewan
YEADarylKrampConservative Prince Edward--Hastings, Ontario
absentMikeLakeConservative Edmonton--Mill Woods--Beaumont, Alberta
NAYKevinLamoureuxLiberal Winnipeg North, Manitoba
NAYFrançoisLapointeNDP Montmagny--L'Islet--Kamouraska--Rivière-du-Loup, Quebec
absentJean-FrançoisLaroseNDP Repentigny, Quebec
NAYAlexandrineLatendresseNDP Louis-Saint-Laurent, Quebec
NAYGuyLauzonConservative Stormont--Dundas--South Glengarry, Ontario
absentHélèneLaverdièreNDP Laurier--Sainte-Marie, Quebec
NAYDenisLebelConservative Roberval--Lac-Saint-Jean, Quebec
NAYDominicLeblancLiberal Beauséjour, New Brunswick
NAYHélèneLeBlancNDP LaSalle--Emard, Quebec
NAYRyanLeefConservative Yukon, Yukon
NAYKellieLeitchConservative Simcoe--Grey, Ontario
YEAPierreLemieuxConservative Glengarry--Prescott--Russell, Ontario
NAYMeganLeslieNDP Halifax, Nova Scotia
NAYChungsenLeungConservative Willowdale, Ontario
NAYLaurinLiuNDP Rivière-des-Mille-Iles, Quebec
YEAWladyslawLizonConservative Mississauga East--Cooksville, Ontario
YEABenLobbConservative Huron--Bruce, Ontario
YEATomLukiwskiConservative Regina--Lumsden--Lake Centre, Saskatchewan
YEAJames D.LunneyConservative Nanaimo--Alberni, British Columbia
NAYLawrence A.MacaulayLiberal Cardigan, Prince Edward Island
NAYPeterMackayConservative Central Nova, Nova Scotia
NAYDaveMackenzieConservative Oxford, Ontario
NAYLarryMaguireConservative Brandon--Souris, Manitoba
NAYHoangMaiNDP Brossard--La Prairie, Quebec
NAYWayneMarstonNDP Hamilton East--Stoney Creek, Ontario
NAYPatMartinNDP Winnipeg Centre, Manitoba
NAYBrianMasseNDP Windsor West, Ontario
NAYIreneMathyssenNDP London--Fanshawe, Ontario
YEAElizabethMayGreenSaanich--Gulf Islands, British Columbia
YEAColinMayesConservative Okanagan--Shuswap, British Columbia
NAYJohnMcCallumLiberal Markham--Unionville, Ontario
absentPhilMcColemanConservative Brant, Ontario
NAYDavid J.McGuintyLiberal Ottawa South, Ontario
absentJohnMcKayLiberal Scarborough--Guildwood, Ontario
NAYCathyMcLeodConservative Kamloops--Thompson--Cariboo, British Columbia
NAYCostasMenegakisConservative Richmond Hill, Ontario
YEARobMerrifieldConservative Yellowhead, Alberta
absentElaineMichaudNDP Portneuf--Jacques-Cartier, Quebec
YEALarryMillerConservative Bruce--Grey--Owen Sound, Ontario
NAYChristineMooreNDP Abitibi--Témiscamingue, Quebec
NAYRobMooreConservative Fundy Royal, New Brunswick
NAYJamesMooreConservative Port Moody--Westwood--Port Coquitlam, British Columbia
NAYMarc-AndréMorinNDP Laurentides--Labelle, Quebec
NAYMarie-ClaudeMorinNDP Saint-Hyacinthe--Bagot, Quebec
absentDanyMorinNDP Chicoutimi--Le Fjord, Quebec
absentIsabelleMorinNDP Notre-Dame-de-Grace--Lachine, Quebec
absentMariaMouraniBQAhuntsic, Quebec
NAYThomasMulcairNDP Outremont, Quebec
absentJoyceMurrayLiberal Vancouver Quadra, British Columbia
NAYPierreNantelNDP Longueuil--Pierre-Boucher, Quebec
NAYPeggyNashNDP Parkdale--High Park, Ontario
NAYJamieNichollsNDP Vaudreuil--Soulanges, Quebec
NAYRobertNicholsonConservative Niagara Falls, Ontario
YEARickNorlockConservative Northumberland--Quinte West, Ontario
NAYJoséNunez-MeloNDP Laval, Quebec
YEAErinO'TooleConservative Durham, Ontario
YEAGordonO'connorConservative Carleton--Mississippi Mills, Ontario
YEATillyO'Neill-GordonConservative Miramichi, New Brunswick
NAYDeepakObhraiConservative Calgary East, Alberta
NAYJoeOliverConservative Eglinton--Lawrence, Ontario
absentTedOpitzConservative Etobicoke Centre, Ontario
absentMassimoPacettiLiberal Saint-Léonard--Saint-Michel, Quebec
absentAnnickPapillonNDP Québec, Quebec
absentChristianParadisConservative Mégantic--L'Erable, Quebec
absentClaudePatryNDP Jonquière--Alma, Quebec
NAYLavarPayneConservative Medicine Hat, Alberta
NAYEvePécletNDP La Pointe-de-l'Ile, Quebec
absentManonPerreaultNDP Montcalm, Quebec
NAYFrançoisPilonNDP Laval--Les Iles, Quebec
absentLouisPlamondonBQBas-Richelieu--Nicolet--Bécancour, Quebec
NAYPierrePoilievreConservative Nepean--Carleton, Ontario
YEAJoePrestonConservative Elgin--Middlesex--London, Ontario
NAYAnne Minh-ThuQuachNDP Beauharnois--Salaberry, Quebec
NAYJohnRaffertyNDP Thunder Bay--Rainy River, Ontario
NAYLisaRaittConservative Halton, Ontario
YEAJamesRajotteConservative Edmonton--Leduc, Alberta
NAYMurrayRankinNDP Victoria, British Columbia
YEABrentRathegeberConservative Edmonton--St. Albert, Alberta
NAYMathieuRavignatNDP Pontiac, Quebec
NAYFrancineRaynaultNDP Joliette, Quebec
NAYGeoffReganLiberal Halifax West, Nova Scotia
YEAScottReidConservative Lanark--Frontenac--Lennox and Addington, Ontario
NAYMichelleRempelConservative Calgary Centre-North, Alberta
NAYBlakeRichardsConservative Wild Rose, Alberta
NAYGregRickfordConservative Kenora, Ontario
NAYGerryRitzConservative Battlefords--Lloydminster, Saskatchewan
NAYJeanRousseauNDP Compton--Stanstead, Quebec
NAYRomeoSaganashNDP Abitibi--Baie-James--Nunavik--Eeyou, Quebec
NAYJasbirSandhuNDP Surrey North, British Columbia
absentAndrewSaxtonConservative North Vancouver, British Columbia
NAYFrancisScarpaleggiaLiberal Lac-Saint-Louis, Quebec
absentAndrewScheerConservative Regina--Qu'Appelle, Saskatchewan
YEAGarySchellenbergerConservative Perth--Wellington, Ontario
NAYCraigScottNDP Toronto-Danforth
YEAKyleSeebackConservative Brampton West, Ontario
NAYDjaouidaSellahNDP Saint-Bruno--Saint-Hubert, Quebec
NAYJudySgroLiberal York West, Ontario
NAYGailSheaConservative Egmont, Prince Edward Island
YEABevShipleyConservative Lambton--Kent--Middlesex, Ontario
NAYDevinderShoryConservative Calgary Northeast, Alberta
NAYScottSimmsLiberal Bonavista--Gander--Grand Falls--Windsor, Newfoundland and Labrador
NAYJinnySimsNDP Newton--North Delta, British Columbia
NAYRathikaSitsabaiesanNDP Scarborough--Rouge River, Ontario
YEAJoySmithConservative Kildonan--St. Paul, Manitoba
NAYRobertSopuckConservative Dauphin--Swan River--Marquette, Manitoba
NAYKevinSorensonConservative Crowfoot, Alberta
NAYLiseSt-DenisNDP Saint-Maurice--Champlain, Quebec
absentBruceStantonConservative Simcoe North, Ontario
NAYKennedyStewartNDP Burnaby--Douglas, British Columbia
NAYPeterStofferNDP Sackville--Eastern Shore, Nova Scotia
YEABrianStorsethConservative Westlock--St. Paul, Alberta
YEAMarkStrahlConservative Chilliwack--Fraser Canyon, British Columbia
NAYMikeSullivanNDP York South--Weston, Ontario
YEADavidSweetConservative Ancaster--Dundas--Flamborough--Westdale, Ontario
NAYGlennThibaultNDP Sudbury, Ontario
NAYDavidTilsonConservative Dufferin--Caledon, Ontario
YEALawrenceToetConservative Elmwood--Transcona, Manitoba
NAYPhilipTooneNDP Gaspésie--Iles-de-la-Madeleine, Quebec
NAYJonathanTremblayNDP Montmorency--Charlevoix--Haute-Cote-Nord, Quebec
YEABradleyTrostConservative Saskatoon--Humboldt, Saskatchewan
NAYBernardTrottierConservative Etobicoke--Lakeshore, Ontario
absentJustinTrudeauLiberal Papineau, Quebec
NAYSusanTruppeConservative London North Centre, Ontario
NAYNycoleTurmelNDP Hull--Aylmer, Quebec
NAYTimUppalConservative Edmonton--Sherwood Park, Alberta
NAYBernardValcourtConservative Madawaska--Restigouche, New Brunswick
NAYFrancisValerioteLiberal Guelph, Ontario
YEADaveVan KesterenConservative Chatham-Kent--Essex, Ontario
NAYPeterVan LoanConservative York--Simcoe, Ontario
YEAMauriceVellacottConservative Saskatoon--Wanuskewin, Saskatchewan
YEAMikeWallaceConservative Burlington, Ontario
NAYMarkWarawaConservative Langley, British Columbia
YEAChrisWarkentinConservative Peace River, Alberta
YEAJeffWatsonConservative Essex, Ontario
YEARodneyWestonConservative Saint John, New Brunswick
YEAJohnWestonConservative West Vancouver--Sunshine Coast--Sea to Sky Country, British Columbia
YEADavidWilksConservative Kootenay--Columbia, British Columbia
YEAJohnWilliamsonConservative New Brunswick Southwest, New Brunswick
NAYAliceWongConservative Richmond, British Columbia
YEAStephenWoodworthConservative Kitchener Centre, Ontario
absentLynneYelichConservative Blackstrap, Saskatchewan
YEATerenceYoungConservative Oakville, Ontario
YEAWaiYoungConservative Vancouver South, British Columbia
YEABobZimmerConservative Prince George--Peace River, British Columbia

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Family Court Reform: What’s Holding It Back?

One of the enduring mysteries for many Canadians, knowing that:

  • 80% of Canadians support Family Court Reform, consisting of a rebuttable presumption of Equal Parenting.
  • The Conservative Party of Canada ran in the 2011 Election with a platform plan supporting Family Court Reform.
  • The majority of recent research on children after divorce supports a rebuttable presumption of Equal Parenting.

is the question, “Why is it so difficult to reform the Family Law System?”

Most of us have heard the term “Military Industrial Complex.”   It was a term popularized in the 1960′s to described the political alliances formed among the U.S. Defense Department, members of the U.S. Congress, and suppliers of defense equipment to ensure a high volume of defense-related procurement and expenditure, regardless of the preferences of the American public and taxpayers.

The term “Military Industrial Complex” is a specific example of a concept that political scientists call “The Iron Triangle.”  In an Iron Triangle, small groups can “capture” a government bureaucracy to ensure its priorities, decisions, and actions favor the interests of the small group over the preferences of voters and taxpayers.  In the case of Family Law Reform, the small group is the Canadian Bar Association Family Law Section (37,500 Lawyers), and the Government Bureaucracy is made up of the Federal and Provincial Departments of Justice and the Courts operated under Federal and Provincial jurisdiction.

Here is a graphical description of the Family Law Iron Triangle as it exists today in Canada (click on the image to view it in full size):

Family Law is driven to conflict which generates over $4B in legal fees in Canada each year.

Family Law is driven to conflict which generates over $4B in legal fees in Canada each year.


This diagram summarizes the relationships between the CBA, the Department of Justice and Courts, and Parliament which drives the engine of Family Law to produce outcomes where most (81% of) children adjudicated by the Family Courts live in single parent homes, in spite of the fact that the majority of social science in the last 20 years demonstrates that Equal Parenting produces far better outcomes for children of divorce and separation.

Why do the CBA and government, which purport to operate in children’s best interests, stand in the way of Equal Parenting?   Because that’s where the money is.  Courts, by conducting exhaustive inspections of children’s best interests, which nearly always (81% of the time) result in either sole custody or joint custody/primary residence to the mother, create the opportunity for substantial legal fees, and create a competition between the parents to be the “winner” or the “loser”.

The legal fees are currently estimated at a minimum of $4B per year for all of Canada, making the Family Law “business” one of the larger industries in the country.  Family Law Reform, even with all of its benefits for children, hurts this industry by reducing conflict among most parents who previously have had to resolve their parenting responsibilities in the Courts.

It should be no surprise that in the first hour of debate, Second Reading for Bill C-560, both the Liberal Party of Canada (Sean Casey, Justice Critic) and the NDP (Francoise Boivan, Justice Critic) opposed the Bill.   Most of their objections came straight from the CBA Press Release issued the day before debate began.

How can we overcome this powerful lobby to deliver real reform to our children?   Each of us can contact our MP’s to remind them that Canadians support Bill C-560, and that we will support leaders who support Family Law Reform in future elections.

Special thanks to Professor Tony Madonna, of the University of Georgia, whose notes for his Introduction to Political Science course (POLS 2000) were adapted for the diagram above.





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Rebuttal of CBA myths with facts

MYTH AND FACT, full PDF link

The rebuttal is supported by Canadian Equal Parenting, Leading Women for Shared Parenting and Lawyers for Shared Parenting.

See also the refuting of other claims in the posts below.

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CEPC rebukes CBA

National Parents Organization rebukes CBA position on Equal Parenting Bill as “insincere, inaccurate and uniformed”

March 30, 2014

OTTAWA – The Canadian Equal Parenting Council (CEPC) – Conseil d’égalité parentale du Canada denounces the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) opposition to Bill C-560 as insincere, inaccurate, uninformed of the Bill’s contents and based on their own vested interests rather than the best interests of children.

Glenn Cheriton is president of CEPC, a national federation of organizations from across Canada who are in favour of Bill C-560. He says, “Lawyers are required to advocate for the interests of their clients and in family law, this usually means for one parent and against the other. For the CBA to imply that they are advocating for the best interests of children appears hypocritical or insincere. Lawyers in an adversarial system which incentivizes conflict stand to gain from a family law system so flawed that even many lawyers and judges have asserted that reforms are sorely needed.”

In a recent press release, the CBA claims that Bill C-560 would “change the primary focus in custody and access matters from what is best for children to equal parental rights.” The CBA has it wrong. “Parental rights” are not mentioned in the Bill. Decades of reviewed social science research convincingly shows that children of separation and divorce experience far better outcomes on multiple measures where both Mom and Dad share parenting time and shared decision making rather than sole custody. The Bill clearly prioritizes children’s interests based on social science research, not, as the CBA claims, on parental rights, “The CBA does not cite a single reference for their claims,” says Mr. Cheriton, “References for our claims are on our website.”

Get all the facts here.

The CBA misleads when it claims: “The bill is based on the faulty assumption that equal parenting time will work for all families, regardless of abilities, circumstances, needs, history, challenges or attitudes of all those involved”. But the Bill only provides a starting point, or “rebuttable presumption” and only if parents cannot agree on their own parenting plan. Parenting plans can have any division of time and responsibility that the parents agree to. This Bill incentivizes such consensual decisions by parents. Former Attorney General Nicholson stated in a letter that parental agreements work out better for children than court imposed orders. A blue ribbon committee that included Supreme Court of Canada Justice Cromwell recommended such consensual parental decisions. In addition, the Bill clarifies situations where equal shared parenting would not be appropriate.

As to CBA claims on international law – the CBA is confused. The Hague Convention is an international agreement on child abduction, similar to the moveaway provisions of Bill C-560. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) asserts the right of the child to parenting by both parents but the CBA confuses CRC with the Hague Convention. Although Canada has ratified the CRC, the intent for children of divorce has been systematically frustrated by the vested interests of a legal profession that stands to gain from conflict. Bill C-560 replaces adversarial custody and access terms with consensual dispute resolution. The bill directs both parents to first give very careful consideration to their children’s rights to enjoy a parenting relationship with both parents.

The CBA confuses parental rights with the naturally inalienable right of the child to enjoy a relationship with both parents. The CRC places an onus on the State to facilitate that child’s right to both parents or meet a reasonable level of proof otherwise. Bill C-560 is a good step forward to meeting Canada’s obligations under the CRC, that the right of children of divorce is, with exceptions, to enjoy a continuing meaningful relationship with both parents.

CEPC calls upon all Canadians and especially all parents to ask their Members of Parliament to vote for Bill C-560 after second reading in the House of Commons May 5th.

For further information:
Glenn Cheriton, President, Canadian Equal Parenting Council email: president@canadianepc.org
Tel: 613-260-2659 Fax: 1-888-613-0329
CEPC references: www.canadianepc.org/resources
CBA press release: https://www.cba.org/cba/News/2014_Releases/PrintHTML.aspx?DocId=54322

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Get the Facts Here: CEPC’s Rebuttal to Canadian Bar Association Opposition to Equal Parenting Bill C-560

On March 24, 2014, the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) issued a Press Release from Patricia Hebert, Vice-Chair of the CBA’s Family Law Section, which expressed opposition to Bill C-560, the popular Equal Parenting Bill, which is currently in Second Reading in Parliament. CEPC has analyzed Ms. Hebert’s comments, and has the following response to the primary objections in her statement:

CBA Claim #1

“The Canadian Bar Association (CBA) opposes Bill C-560, a private member’s bill, as it would shift the way custody is determined under the Divorce Act to parents’ rights – away from what is in the best interests of children.”

CEPC Response:

After a complete review of the Bill before Parliament, we conclude that the statement from the CBA misrepresents the letter and intent of Bill C-560.  The only rights which are defined in the bill are new rights of the child to be raised equally by both parents.

Get the details here.

CBClaim #2

“Parenting is not about adults claiming rights,” says Patricia Hebert of Edmonton, Vice-Chair of the CBA’s National Family Law Section.  “It is about the desire and ability to put children’s interests first.”

CEPC Response:

Consistent with Dr. Kruk’s observations, and with the opinion of 80% of Canadians, the CEPC believes that the best parent is both parents for most children.   Bill C-560 is a parental responsibility bill, which moves our Family Courts from a winner-take-all system where parents fight over the “right” to Sole Custody to an Equal Shared Parenting responsibility rebuttable presumption, which balances the power between the parents.  Our reading of Bill C-560 is that it encourages the active and equal involvement of both parents in the raising of the child(ren).  As shown above, Bill C-560 has nothing to say about rights, except where the rights of the child(ren) are concerned.

The CBA claim that the Equal Parenting Bill C-560 elevates parents’ rights over the children’s best interests is false.

Get the details here.

CBA Claim #3

“The bill is based on the faulty assumption that equal parenting time will work for all families, regardless of abilities, circumstances, needs, history, challenges or attitudes of all those involved.”

CEPC Response:

We have reviewed all paragraphs where the words “equal” or “equally” appear in Bill C-560.  None of those paragraphs take away the Judge’s discretion to assess the child’s best interests, and to make an order which allocates parenting time or parental responsibility unequally.   All that is required is that the judge make a finding based on the unique facts of the case that the child(ren)’s best interests would be substantially enhanced by an unequal allocation of time or responsibility, and that the Judge’s reasons describe the finding in detail.

Again, the CEPC concludes that the CBA statement misrepresents  Bill C-560.

Get the details here.


CBA Claim #4:

“This clearly makes children’s interests a very low priority, which is contradictory to the stated goals of Canadian family laws as well as Canada’s obligations under the Hague Convention on the Rights of the Child.”

CEPC Response:

We have reviewed the Hague Conventions, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and Bill C-560.  We conclude that Bill C-560 is not only consistent with the relevant Articles in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, but that it provides an even higher level of protection of the child(ren)’s rights to both parents than is required by the Convention.  The CBA Statement not only confuses the Hague Convention and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, but it does not appear to understand Canada’s responsibilities under either agreement.

The CBA press release’s misstatements regarding Bill C-560 and Canada’s international obligations are so significant that we can only conclude that they are scare tactics intended to avoid the real issue, which is the overwhelmingly poor job done in Canada today protecting children’s rights.  The CBA’s members bear responsibility for the excess conflict in the court system, as well as the poor outcomes for children resulting from the chaos in the Courts.

Get the details here.

CBA Claim #5:

“The CBA agrees that shared parenting is a good outcome for many families.  Where equal time and responsibility can be shown to be in the best interests of children, judges can and do make that order under the current law.   The CBA supports legal reform and resources that will help parents effectively share parenting, in whatever ways meet their own children’s needs best.  One size does not fit all.”

CEPC Response

This CBA Claim would be laudable if it were consistent with the facts of Family Law in Canada today.  A recent study showed that the mother obtained either sole custody or joint custody with primary residence in 89% of the cases studied.

The CEPC agrees with Dr. Kruk when he wrote in the “The Equal Parent Presumption” that in Canada. as implemented in the Family Courts the last 25 years, “Best-interests-of the child-based decisions reflect a sole custody presumption, with primary residence orders being the norm.”

Get the details here.

CEPC Conclusion:

Nothing in Bill C-560 prevents a judge from rebutting the equal parenting presumption, where the child’s best interests would be substantially enhanced.  Bill C-560 declares to the Courts, on behalf of Parliament and the Canadian people, that Equal Parenting is intrinsic to the Child’s Best Interests.  80% of Canadians support the need for Equal Parenting and Family Court Reform.

The CBA’s positions, as reflected in Ms. Hebert’s Press Release, are not supported by the latest research, nor by the people of Canada.  The CBA needs to bring more facts to support its opposition to Bill C-560 than it has to date, or many may conclude that self interest, rather than the best interests of children, motivate the CBA to assume a position opposed to Bill C-560.


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Get the Details Here: CEPC’s Response to CBA Statement Opposing Bill C-560, Claim #1

CEPC Issued a summary rebuttal to the CBA Statement of Opposition to the popular Equal Parenting Bill C-560. In the summary, there were links to the details.   This post covers CBA Claim #1.


CBA Claim #1

“The Canadian Bar Association (CBA) opposes Bill C-560, a private member’s bill, as it would shift the way custody is determined under the Divorce Act to parents’ rights – away from what is in the best interests of children.”

CEPC Response:

Bill C-560 may be found on the website of the House of Parliament  here:

Our search of the English version of Bill C-560 reveals only one use of the word “rights”:


“parenting” means the act of assuming the role of a parent to a child, including custody and all of the rights and responsibilities commonly and historically associated with the role of a parent”

To be extra thorough, we also searched for existence of the word “right”.  Again, we found only one use of the word “right” in all of Bill C-560:

“PURPOSE [Of the Act]”

“(b) every child has the right
(i) to know and be cared for by both parents,
(ii) to know his or her relatives and enjoy his or her culture, and
(iii) to spend time and communicate with both parents on a regular basis, and to maintain continuity of relationships with relatives.”

After a complete review of the Bill before Parliament, we conclude that the statement from the CBA misrepresents the letter and intent of Bill C-560.  The only rights which are defined in the bill are new rights of the child to be raised equally by both parents.

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