Here is the proposed flag…
click on link
Let us know what you think.
Here is the proposed flag…
click on link
Let us know what you think.
April 25th is Parental Alienation Awareness Day. What is PA –Parental Alienation and what is the connection with equal parenting? Let’s look at a PA case (names have been changed to protect confidentiality.)
When his wife left Ron, he expected to share custody of his two sons, and after all, he had been a “hands-on dad”, taking the boys to sports activities, school events and camping. That’s how it worked for six months until his wife’s lawyer proposed a property settlement in which his ex-wife got the house and their assets, while he was expected to shoulder their debts. When his lawyer proposed an equal division, access to his sons became difficult, and strange, untrue or wildly exaggerated accusations appeared in the affidavits from his wife’s lawyer.
When he picked up the boys at her house, they would appear to Ron as fearful, sad and not talkative. When they boys were alone with Ron, they appeared happy, talkative and playful, but occasionally made comments that Ron found odd, like, “you don’t support us” and “you shouldn’t control mommy,” Ron felt these comments were unusual for boys of 7 and 9, but said to them, “I am sure Mom and I can work this out. It is not your fault. We both love you and want the best for you.”
Ron sought help to understand what was going on, and after a considerable search, found a shared parenting support group on the Internet. Some fellow parents in the group identified what was happening as “parental alienation” or PA.
Ron felt relief to finally put a name to what was going on, and to understand that it was not just happening to him, and that it was not something he imagined. Will Ron get his children back? He is up against a highly adversarial family law system, gender bias and an ex-spouse who may be seriously mentally ill. At the very least she has a deeply entrenched personality disorder. Normal parents do not alienate their children from the other parent.
When parental alienation occurs, children lose not only a loving parent, and are completely controlled by a deeply disturbed parent, but often they are cut off from grandparents and other extended family.
Courts often enable parental alienation by not taking it seriously or by referring the alienating parent to therapy, which that parent usually sabotages, playing a delaying game in order to further alienate the children. PA can be thought of as cult behavior and tactics.
Myths of parental alienation:
Myth: Kids will grow out of it.
Reality: Without serious intervention, no, they will not.
Myth: PA is a normal part of teen development.
Reality: No, hating a parent is not normal, and can result in serious damage to kids, their sense of security, self-esteem and psychological health.
Myth: It is normal that a child attach strongly to a “primary caregiver” after divorce.
Reality: Unhealthy attachment is one which excludes the other parent, or irrationally leads to hatred. This may be a form of “emotional incest”. Alienation leads to seriously disturbed adults. It used to be thought that children don’t lie, so if they have an irrational hostility, it is based on real abuse. Now we know differently. Children can be induced into taking sides against a loving parent by a disturbed, controlling parent.
Myth: Parental alienation cannot be distinguished from real abuse, so it is better to be “safe”.
Reality: PA is real abuse, and is surprisingly common in conflicted divorce. If there is real abuse, there is almost always physical evidence. It makes no sense to have one high standard of proof for a stranger accused of abusing a child (beyond a reasonable doubt) and another, very low standard for a parent (any accusation except that of being an alienating parent seems to be sufficient for a target parent to lose custody for their child.)
The reality of parental alienation is that accusations of abuse or parental unfitness must be thoroughly investigated with a consistent standard of proof. Reality can be distinguished from myths and false accusations. Real, proven abuse or neglect which endangers the child must be taken seriously. False accusations of abuse must also be taken seriously, as they can indicate an unfit, unstable, mentally ill or personality disordered parent.
There are best practices in family separations to ensure that both parents are treated with equality and respect in family courts, that accusations of abuse are properly investigated, that myths/ stereotypes and falsehoods are distinguished from reality, that the system provides incentives for both parents to co-parent collaboratively. We need to replace the current system, which provides perverse incentives for PA, with these best practices, which collectively are called “equal parenting.”
What can a concerned citizen do? Support Parental Alienation Awareness Day. Donate to support equal parenting reforms. Volunteer as a child and parent advocate with an equal parenting organization. Ask your local politician to support equal parenting best practices and reforms as a solution to parental alienation. We do this for the love of our children kids need both parents and parents need a family law system which does not provide perverse incentives encouraging parental alienation.
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)
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.
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.
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…
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.
|YEA||Diane||Ablonczy||Conservative||Calgary--Nose Hill, Alberta|
|NAY||Mark||Adler||Conservative||York Centre, Ontario|
|NAY||Dan||Albas||Conservative||Okanagan--Coquihalla, British Columbia|
|YEA||Harold Glenn||Albrecht||Conservative||Kitchener--Conestoga, Ontario|
|YEA||Mike||Allen||Conservative||Tobique--Mactaquac, New Brunswick|
|YEA||Dean||Allison||Conservative||Niagara West--Glanbrook, Ontario|
|YEA||Stella||Ambler||Conservative||Mississauga South, Ontario|
|absent||Rona||Ambrose||Conservative||Edmonton--Spruce Grove, Alberta|
|YEA||Rob||Anders||Conservative||Calgary West, Alberta|
|YEA||David L.||Anderson||Conservative||Cypress Hills--Grasslands, Saskatchewan|
|NAY||Scott||Andrews||Liberal||Avalon, Newfoundland and Labrador|
|absent||Charlie||Angus||NDP||Timmins--James Bay, Ontario|
|YEA||Scott||Armstrong||Conservative||Cumberland--Colchester--Musquodoboit Valley, Nova Scotia|
|YEA||Keith||Ashfield||Conservative||Fredericton, New Brunswick|
|NAY||Alex||Atamanenko||NDP||British Columbia Southern Interior, British Columbia|
|NAY||John||Baird||Conservative||Ottawa West--Nepean, Ontario|
|absent||Joyce||Bateman||NDP||Winnipeg South Centre, Manitoba|
|NAY||Carolyn||Bennett||Liberal||St. Paul's, Ontario|
|YEA||Leon Earl||Benoit||Conservative||Vegreville--Wainwright, Alberta|
|NAY||Tyrone||Benskin||NDP||Jeanne-Le Ber, Quebec|
|NAY||Dennis||Bevington||NDP||Western Arctic, Northwest Territories|
|absent||Alexandre||Boulerice||NDP||Rosemont--La Petite-Patrie, Quebec|
|absent||Garry W.||Breitkreuz||Conservative||Yorkton--Melville, Saskatchewan|
|NAY||Scott||Brison||Liberal||Kings--Hants, Nova Scotia|
|NAY||Ruth Ellen||Brosseau||NDP||Berthier--Maskinongé, Quebec|
|YEA||Rod||Bruinooge||Conservative||Winnipeg South, Manitoba|
|absent||Gerry||Byrne||Liberal||Humber--St. Barbe--Baie Verte, Newfoundland and Labrador|
|NAY||Paul||Calandra||Conservative||Oak Ridges--Markham, Ontario|
|YEA||Ron||Cannan||Conservative||Kelowna--Lake Country, British Columbia|
|YEA||John||Carmichael||Conservative||Don Valley West, Ontario|
|NAY||Guy||Caron||NDP||Rimouski-Neigette--Témiscouata--Les Basques, Quebec|
|NAY||Shawn||Casey||Liberal||Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island|
|absent||Chris||Charlton||NDP||Hamilton Mountain, Ontario|
|NAY||Robert||Chisholm||NDP||Dartmouth--Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia|
|NAY||Corneliu||Chisu||Conservative||Pickering--Scarborough East, Ontario|
|YEA||Michael||Chong||Conservative||Wellington--Halton Hills, Ontario|
|NAY||David||Christopherson||NDP||Hamilton Centre, Ontario|
|NAY||Ryan||Cleary||NDP||St. John's South--Mount Pearl, Newfoundland and Labrador|
|absent||Tony||Clement||Conservative||Parry Sound--Muskoka, Ontario|
|absent||Irwin||Cotler||Liberal||Mount Royal, Quebec|
|YEA||Joan||Crockatt||Conservative||Calgary Centre, Alberta|
|NAY||Jean||Crowder||NDP||Nanaimo--Cowichan, British Columbia|
|NAY||Nathan||Cullen||NDP||Skeena--Bulkley Valley, British Columbia|
|NAY||Rodger||Cuzner||Liberal||Cape Breton--Canso, Nova Scotia|
|NAY||Joe||Daniel||Conservative||Don Valley East, Ontario|
|NAY||Don||Davies||NDP||Vancouver Kingsway, British Columbia|
|absent||Libby||Davies||NDP||Vancouver East, British Columbia|
|YEA||Dean||Del Mastro||Conservative||Peterborough, Ontario|
|YEA||Barry||Devolin||Conservative||Haliburton--Kawartha Lakes--Brock, Ontario|
|NAY||Paul||Dewar||NDP||Ottawa Centre, Ontario|
|YEA||Earl||Dreeshen||Conservative||Red Deer, Alberta|
|NAY||John Morris||Duncan||Conservative||Vancouver Island North, British Columbia|
|absent||Kirsty||Duncan||Liberal||Etobicoke North, Ontario|
|NAY||Rick||Dykstra||Conservative||St. Catharines, Ontario|
|NAY||Wayne||Easter||Liberal||Malpeque, Prince Edward Island|
|NAY||Mark||Eyking||Liberal||Sydney--Victoria, Nova Scotia|
|NAY||Ed||Fast||Conservative||Abbotsford, British Columbia|
|NAY||Kerry-Lynne||Findlay||Conservative||Delta--Richmond East, British Columbia|
|YEA||Steven||Fletcher||Conservative||Charleswood--St. James--Assiniboia, Manitoba|
|absent||Judy||Foote||Liberal||Random--Burin--St. George's, Newfoundland and Labrador|
|NAY||Jean-François||Fortin||BQ||Haute-Gaspésie--La Mitis--Matane--Matapédia, Quebec|
|NAY||Chrystia||Freeland||Liberal||Toronto Centre, Ontario|
|NAY||Hedy||Fry||Liberal||Vancouver Centre, British Columbia|
|NAY||Randall C.||Garrison||NDP||Esquimalt--Juan de Fuca, British Columbia|
|NAY||Shelly||Glover||Conservative||Saint Boniface, Manitoba|
|NAY||Yvon||Godin||NDP||Acadie--Bathurst, New Brunswick|
|NAY||Robert||Goguen||Conservative||Moncton--Riverview--Dieppe, New Brunswick|
|absent||Peter||Goldring||Conservative||Edmonton East, Alberta|
|NAY||Ralph Edward||Goodale||Liberal||Wascana, Saskatchewan|
|absent||Claude||Gravelle||NDP||Nickel Belt, Ontario|
|YEA||Nina||Grewal||Conservative||Fleetwood--Port Kells, British Columbia|
|absent||Stephen||Harper||Conservative||Calgary Southwest, Alberta|
|YEA||Dick||Harris||Conservative||Cariboo--Prince George, British Columbia|
|NAY||Jack||Harris||NDP||St. John's East, Newfoundland and Labrador|
|absent||Dan||Harris||NDP||Scarborough Southwest, Ontario|
|absent||Sana||Hassainia||NDP||Verchères--Les Patriotes, Quebec|
|YEA||Laurie||Hawn||Conservative||Edmonton Centre, Alberta|
|YEA||Bryan||Hayes||Conservative||Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario|
|YEA||Russ||Hiebert||Conservative||South Surrey--White Rock--Cloverdale, British Columbia|
|absent||Randy||Hoback||Conservative||Prince Albert, Saskatchewan|
|NAY||Ed||Holder||Conservative||London West, Ontario|
|NAY||Ted||Hsu||Liberal||Kingston and the Islands, Ontario|
|NAY||Bruce||Hyer||NDP||Thunder Bay--Superior North, Ontario|
|YEA||Roxanne||James||Conservative||Scarborough Centre, Ontario|
|NAY||Brian||Jean||Conservative||Fort McMurray--Athabasca, Alberta|
|NAY||Peter||Julian||NDP||Burnaby--New Westminster, British Columbia|
|YEA||Randy||Kamp||Conservative||Pitt Meadows--Maple Ridge--Mission, British Columbia|
|NAY||Gerald||Keddy||Conservative||South Shore--St. Margaret's, Nova Scotia|
|absent||Matthew||Kellway||NDP||Beaches--East York, Ontario|
|NAY||Jason||Kenney||Conservative||Calgary Southeast, Alberta|
|YEA||Greg||Kerr||Conservative||West Nova, Nova Scotia|
|YEA||Ed||Komarnicki||Conservative||Souris--Moose Mountain, Saskatchewan|
|YEA||Daryl||Kramp||Conservative||Prince Edward--Hastings, Ontario|
|absent||Mike||Lake||Conservative||Edmonton--Mill Woods--Beaumont, Alberta|
|NAY||Kevin||Lamoureux||Liberal||Winnipeg North, Manitoba|
|NAY||Guy||Lauzon||Conservative||Stormont--Dundas--South Glengarry, Ontario|
|NAY||Dominic||Leblanc||Liberal||Beauséjour, New Brunswick|
|NAY||Megan||Leslie||NDP||Halifax, Nova Scotia|
|YEA||Wladyslaw||Lizon||Conservative||Mississauga East--Cooksville, Ontario|
|YEA||Tom||Lukiwski||Conservative||Regina--Lumsden--Lake Centre, Saskatchewan|
|YEA||James D.||Lunney||Conservative||Nanaimo--Alberni, British Columbia|
|NAY||Lawrence A.||Macaulay||Liberal||Cardigan, Prince Edward Island|
|NAY||Peter||Mackay||Conservative||Central Nova, Nova Scotia|
|NAY||Hoang||Mai||NDP||Brossard--La Prairie, Quebec|
|NAY||Wayne||Marston||NDP||Hamilton East--Stoney Creek, Ontario|
|NAY||Pat||Martin||NDP||Winnipeg Centre, Manitoba|
|NAY||Brian||Masse||NDP||Windsor West, Ontario|
|YEA||Elizabeth||May||Green||Saanich--Gulf Islands, British Columbia|
|YEA||Colin||Mayes||Conservative||Okanagan--Shuswap, British Columbia|
|NAY||David J.||McGuinty||Liberal||Ottawa South, Ontario|
|NAY||Cathy||McLeod||Conservative||Kamloops--Thompson--Cariboo, British Columbia|
|NAY||Costas||Menegakis||Conservative||Richmond Hill, Ontario|
|YEA||Larry||Miller||Conservative||Bruce--Grey--Owen Sound, Ontario|
|NAY||Rob||Moore||Conservative||Fundy Royal, New Brunswick|
|NAY||James||Moore||Conservative||Port Moody--Westwood--Port Coquitlam, British Columbia|
|absent||Dany||Morin||NDP||Chicoutimi--Le Fjord, Quebec|
|absent||Joyce||Murray||Liberal||Vancouver Quadra, British Columbia|
|NAY||Peggy||Nash||NDP||Parkdale--High Park, Ontario|
|NAY||Robert||Nicholson||Conservative||Niagara Falls, Ontario|
|YEA||Rick||Norlock||Conservative||Northumberland--Quinte West, Ontario|
|YEA||Gordon||O'connor||Conservative||Carleton--Mississippi Mills, Ontario|
|YEA||Tilly||O'Neill-Gordon||Conservative||Miramichi, New Brunswick|
|NAY||Deepak||Obhrai||Conservative||Calgary East, Alberta|
|absent||Ted||Opitz||Conservative||Etobicoke Centre, Ontario|
|NAY||Lavar||Payne||Conservative||Medicine Hat, Alberta|
|NAY||Eve||Péclet||NDP||La Pointe-de-l'Ile, Quebec|
|NAY||François||Pilon||NDP||Laval--Les Iles, Quebec|
|NAY||Anne Minh-Thu||Quach||NDP||Beauharnois--Salaberry, Quebec|
|NAY||John||Rafferty||NDP||Thunder Bay--Rainy River, Ontario|
|NAY||Murray||Rankin||NDP||Victoria, British Columbia|
|YEA||Brent||Rathegeber||Conservative||Edmonton--St. Albert, Alberta|
|NAY||Geoff||Regan||Liberal||Halifax West, Nova Scotia|
|YEA||Scott||Reid||Conservative||Lanark--Frontenac--Lennox and Addington, Ontario|
|NAY||Michelle||Rempel||Conservative||Calgary Centre-North, Alberta|
|NAY||Blake||Richards||Conservative||Wild Rose, Alberta|
|NAY||Jasbir||Sandhu||NDP||Surrey North, British Columbia|
|absent||Andrew||Saxton||Conservative||North Vancouver, British Columbia|
|YEA||Kyle||Seeback||Conservative||Brampton West, Ontario|
|NAY||Judy||Sgro||Liberal||York West, Ontario|
|NAY||Gail||Shea||Conservative||Egmont, Prince Edward Island|
|NAY||Devinder||Shory||Conservative||Calgary Northeast, Alberta|
|NAY||Scott||Simms||Liberal||Bonavista--Gander--Grand Falls--Windsor, Newfoundland and Labrador|
|NAY||Jinny||Sims||NDP||Newton--North Delta, British Columbia|
|NAY||Rathika||Sitsabaiesan||NDP||Scarborough--Rouge River, Ontario|
|YEA||Joy||Smith||Conservative||Kildonan--St. Paul, Manitoba|
|NAY||Robert||Sopuck||Conservative||Dauphin--Swan River--Marquette, Manitoba|
|absent||Bruce||Stanton||Conservative||Simcoe North, Ontario|
|NAY||Kennedy||Stewart||NDP||Burnaby--Douglas, British Columbia|
|NAY||Peter||Stoffer||NDP||Sackville--Eastern Shore, Nova Scotia|
|YEA||Brian||Storseth||Conservative||Westlock--St. Paul, Alberta|
|YEA||Mark||Strahl||Conservative||Chilliwack--Fraser Canyon, British Columbia|
|NAY||Mike||Sullivan||NDP||York South--Weston, Ontario|
|NAY||Susan||Truppe||Conservative||London North Centre, Ontario|
|NAY||Tim||Uppal||Conservative||Edmonton--Sherwood Park, Alberta|
|NAY||Bernard||Valcourt||Conservative||Madawaska--Restigouche, New Brunswick|
|YEA||Dave||Van Kesteren||Conservative||Chatham-Kent--Essex, Ontario|
|NAY||Peter||Van Loan||Conservative||York--Simcoe, Ontario|
|NAY||Mark||Warawa||Conservative||Langley, British Columbia|
|YEA||Chris||Warkentin||Conservative||Peace River, Alberta|
|YEA||Rodney||Weston||Conservative||Saint John, New Brunswick|
|YEA||John||Weston||Conservative||West Vancouver--Sunshine Coast--Sea to Sky Country, British Columbia|
|YEA||David||Wilks||Conservative||Kootenay--Columbia, British Columbia|
|YEA||John||Williamson||Conservative||New Brunswick Southwest, New Brunswick|
|NAY||Alice||Wong||Conservative||Richmond, British Columbia|
|YEA||Stephen||Woodworth||Conservative||Kitchener Centre, Ontario|
|YEA||Wai||Young||Conservative||Vancouver South, British Columbia|
|YEA||Bob||Zimmer||Conservative||Prince George--Peace River, British Columbia|
One of the enduring mysteries for many Canadians, knowing that:
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):
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.
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.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