For the Sake of the Children Marathon of Hope

 
 
"All Safety issues aside, any Parent, Mother or Father, who would try to take their children away from the other parent during a divorce, cannot truly say that they love their child. Their actions speak much louder than their words." - Dave Nash

A FAILING GRADE

                       
How Has The Canadian Government Failed Children And Their Families?
                       
Strike #1:

On May 28th, 1990, Canada signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, an international treaty that affirms and describes the fundamental human rights of all children (all human beings below the age of 18), including their civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. Nations that ratify this international convention are bound to it by international law and have legally agreed to fulfill it's provisions. 193 Countries have endorsed the Convention as of November, 2007. Canada ratified the Convention on December 13th, 1991, yet as it stands today, Canada is failing its children under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, especially in regards to it’s Family Law practices, by refusing to live up to it's legal obligations and responsibilities on 19 specific articles from the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

To read a copy of the U.N. Convention on the Rights Of The Child , please click on the title.

Note: I have some questions for the Canadian Government as well as for YOU, the Canadian Citizen in regards to the U. N. Convention on the Rights of the Child.

A) To the Canadian Government:

Why would you sign an international agreement that you never had any intentions on following through with? Did you do so just to give the International Community the appearance that you care about Human Rights? Did you do so just to give the International Community the appearance that you care about children?

B) To the Canadian Government:

Why is it that you needed an International Governing body like the United Nations to outline for you what should be our Children's fundamental Human Rights? Isn't Canada a sovereign nation? Isn't Canada capable of writing it's own Canadian Charter of Children's Rights?

C) To the Canadian People:

Doesn't the fact that the Canadian Government is ignoring thier International obligation in regards to Children's Rights clearly demonstrate how morally bankrupt our elected officials are? Doesn't it clearly demonstrate how little the Canadian Government cares about fundamental Human Rights? Doesn't it clearly demonstrate how little they care about our Nation's children, about your children, and about mine?

                       
Strike #2:

In December 1997, a Special Committee was assembled to examine the issues relating to custody and access arrangements after separation and divorce, with a special emphasis on the “needs and best interests” of children. Over a period of 12 months, the Special Joint Committee on Child Custody and Access, held 55 public hearings and meetings across Canada, and compiled a report of their findings called For The Sake Of The Children.

In December of 1998, the For The Sake Of The Children report was completed with a set of 21st century recommendations and reforms to the Divorce Act, which were supported by every Federal Political Party of Canada. Unfortunately, the politicians of that day lacked any political courage, and were not heroic enough to do the right thing for the children of divorce in this country. They refused to do the correct thing for Canadian Children and their Families, and elected to do the Politically Correct thing for themselves. The recommendations have been sitting on the shelf collecting dust for close to 11 years now, and our Children continue to have their best interests thwarted.

To read the recommendations please visit the Summary of Recommendations Page.

Senator Anne Cools Senator Anne Cools, who sat on the Special Joint Committee on Child Custody and Access, was outspoken in her criticism of the Liberal government of Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, when the For The Sake Of The Children legislation was shelved after intense lobbying by women's groups.

In a National Post Article, published on December 19, 1998, Senator Cools correctly stated, “I am here to tell you that divorce is not a 'women's issue.' It seems to me that divorce involves men, women, and children. Children deserve maximum access and meaningful involvement with both parents, even when those parents don't like each other. The law must not be an instrument of malice. Nature gave children two parents. That is the natural order of things, so let us organize the legal order around the natural one.”

To read the National Post Article on Senator Cools, please click here.

                       
Strike #3:

Jay Hill In October of 2002, our Government was once again provided with the opportunity to do the right thing for Canadian children, when a Member of Parliament from Prince George, British Columbia, the Honourable Jay Hill, introduced a Private Members Bill, Bill C-245, that would have reformed the Divorce Act so that the mandate would be shared parenting of children amongst separated parents.

Upon introducing Bill C-245 before the House Of Commons, Mr. Hill stated, "Shared parenting should not be awarded only under special circumstances, but it should be granted under all circumstances, except in cases of proof of abuse, neglect, mistreatment, or if it is not in the best interests of the child. Child custody remains an important issue to many Canadians. This bill aims to force change in an area the government continues to ignore."

And ignore it they did! Once again, the Canadian Government failed the Children and their families, by refusing to pass Bill C-245 into law. Just like the For The Sake Of The Children recommendations, Bill C-245 was ignored, and continues to sit there collecting dust, while our children continue to suffer under the current, broken, failing system.

For more information on Bill C-245, please visit the Jay Hill Page on this website, or click on the following links to view media releases regarding Minister Hill's Bill, Bill C-245, introduced before Parliament in 2002.

Media Release 1 and Media Release 2

It appears that the Canadian Government is striking out and does not care about the Best Interests of Canadian Children.

                       
A New Ray Of Hope For Canadian Children & Their Families

Maurice Vellacott This past June, (June 16th, 2009), another respectable Member of Parliament, who truly cares about children and their families, Mr. Maurice Vellacott from Saskatoon, introduced another Equal Shared Parenting Private Members Bill before Parliament, Bill C-422 , asking our Government once again, to reform the Divorce Act, and make Equal Shared Parenting the normative determination by courts dealing with situations of divorce involving children.

Will our Canadian Government once again ignore the best interests of the children, and simply allow this important Bill to collect dust for years to come, the way it has the For The Sake Of The Children recommendations from 1998, as well as Minister Hill's Bill, Bill C-245, introduced before Parliament in 2002??? If our current Justice Minister, the so-called “Honourable” Rob Nicholson has his way, they will!!!

To listen to the Audio file of Mr. Vellacott's statement in Parliament on Equal Shared Parenting - June 16, 2009, just click here.

For more information on Bill C-422, please visit the Bill C-422 Page on this website, or view Bill C-422 on the Government Of Canada's website located here.

Bill C-422 is very important in bringing Canadian legislation in line with what the best research says about the best interests of children.

Edward Kruk To read a copy of CHILD CUSTODY, ACCESS AND PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITY: THE SEARCH FOR A JUST AND EQUITABLE STANDARD, published as recently as December of 2008 by Edward Kruk, M.S.W., Ph.D., of The University of British Columbia, please visit the Edward Kruk’s Research Page.

Edward Kruk is Canada’s foremost expert on Child Custody, and he says the removal of one parent from the life of the child is widespread in Canada. In a recent article from The Epoch Times, Professor Kruk called the family court system in Canada “a national shame.”

“I don’t actually see this issue as one that only affects fathers because there are increasing numbers of mothers who are losing their children and children who are losing their mothers,” says Kruk.

“I like to see it more from the child’s perspective because it is a form of child abuse to have a fit and loving parent forcefully removed by a court in the absence of any child protection concerns or issues,” Kruk stated further.

Non-custodial fathers, too, are “a very at-risk group,” says Kruk, with homicides and suicides disproportionate to the rest of the population.

And while a 2007 survey by SES research found that 80 per cent of Canadians support equal parenting, Kruk says "Canada currently has one of the highest parent removal rates in the world."

The divorce industry is booming in many western countries including Canada, where a contested divorce costs an average of $25,000. This is why, says Kruk, “there’s a very strong vested interest in maintaining the status quo on the part of the legal professionals.”

To read the full article from The Epoch Times Website, please click here.

With limited exceptions, children generally demonstrate superior outcomes when both parents – Mom AND Dad – are actively involved in their children's lives, even if the parents divorce or separate. This bill reflects the spirit of the recommendations made in the For The Sake Of The Children report.

Will our Canadian Government once again ignore the best interests of the children, and simply allow this important Bill to collect dust for years to come, the way it has the For The Sake Of The Children recommendations from 1998, as well as Minister Hill's Bill, Bill C-245, introduced before Parliament in 2002??? If our current Justice Minister, the so-called “Honourable” Rob Nicholson has his way, they will!!!

                       
How Does The Justice Minister Feel About Equal Shared Parenting ?
                       
Rob Nicholson On Monday, August 17, 2009, it was reported in the National Post, as well as numerous other newspapers, that while speaking to the Canadian Bar Association at its annual meeting in Ireland's capital of Dublin, on August 17, 2009, that Mr. Nicholson stated that he doesn't support Maurice Vellacott’s Private Members Bill, Bill C-422.

To quote the article, “Mr. Nicholson also said Monday he doesn't support a backbench Conservative MP's private member's bill that would shift family law in Canada to give fathers more rights in custody disputes.” In stating such, Mr. Nicholson showed his lack of intelligence, as well as his lack of knowledge regarding Bill C-422.

Bill C-422 doesn’t give Fathers more rights in custody disputes, it simply directs the courts to start acting in the best interests of children, and gives the Children what should be a right of every child anyway, the RIGHT to have an equal relationship with both their Mother and their Father, regardless of their parents separation or divorce. Doesn’t Mr. Nicholson believe that children should have that right? I wonder where he would stand on the issue, if the issue involved his own 3 children???

Maybe Mr. Nicholson is just confused and uneducated regarding Bill C-422?

This may be the case, as he went on to state to the members of the Canadian Bar Association that, “I believe, and I think most people who have been involved in family law or studied this, that the best interests of the child are always paramount ... and should be.” Well Mr. Nicholson, that is exactly the spirit behind Private Member’s Bill, C-422. Bill C-422 would provide greater clarity to the law by finally defining “best interests of the child” in Canada’s Divorce Act.

Mr. Nicholson, have you read Private Members Bill, Bill C-422 yet???

Mr. Nicholson also went on to state; “The interests of children must take priority over a father's right to an equal parenting role after divorce.” I couldn’t agree more with Mr. Nicholson!!! However, I would have liked to see Mr. Nicholson go even further with that statement, and state that the interests of children must take priority over either parent’s, right, the Mother or Father, to an equal parenting role after divorce. I believe that had Mr. Nicholson shown some integrity and concern for the children's best interests, he would have stated it in such a gender neutral way.

However, I thank Mr. Nicholson for making such a transparent statement, as it clearly shows that there is a gender bias in the so-called, "Family" Justice System here in Canada. If there were no such gender bias, Mr. Nicholson's words would have clearly stated "the best interests of children must take priority over either parent's right, the Mother or Father, to an equal parenting role after divorce." Mr. Nicholson's words however, did not reflect a gender neutral Family Justice System here in Canada. They clearly reflected the current, broken, gender biased, failing system that we have in place in this country, as well as Mr. Nicholson's plans to have the system remain broken, and continue to allow it to fail children and their families.

The problem with Mr. Nicholson’s statement, and I quote, “The interests of children must take priority over a father's right to an equal parenting role after divorce,” is that Mr. Nicholson falsely juxtapositions children vs. fathers, when in reality in most cases, the best interests of children are protected and served by equal parenting and maximizing father-involvement after divorce. What our courts and the law must do, and what they are currently failing to do, is to protect our children's right to have a relationship with both parents after divorce or separation.

Are there exceptions? Of course there are. If dad, or mom, is a drug addict or a raging alcoholic; if dad, or mom, is mentally ill, physically abusive, or generally violent, then the other parent should get sole custody. And yes, there are times when the demands of dad's, or mom's job, make equal parenting unworkable. But these are exceptions--in general, kids do best when they spend roughly equal amounts of time with each parent, and when their right to a relationship with both parents is protected.

The National Post article went on to state that Mr. Nicholson, and I quote, “won a cheer from CBA members for saying he supports the current principle in Canada's Divorce Act.”

Why would all of the Lawyers cheer? They cheered because if the current, failing, and broken system remains in place, they all stand to make a ton of money. You see, the longer Family Law Lawyers can keep the conflict going, the more money they make. Forget the fact that studies show that the conflict is extremely harmful to Children, and that the children are having their best interests thwarted. Forget the fact that the current system is failing our Children miserably. There is a ton of money to be made in the Family Law industry. Lawyers, Judges, Assessors, etc, etc, can make a ton of money if there is conflict among divorcing couples.

To the Lawyers, the Judges, and our Politicians in Canada, money seems to be more important than the children of this country. It is as if they don’t even see Children any more. All they see is dollar signs with pigtails and baseball caps.

Bill C-422, would fortunately help reduce the conflict for divorcing families, but unfortunately for the parasites that are getting rich, making their living off of the conflict, it would reduce their bottom line. I believe that Mr. Nicholson knows this, and is just looking to do the politically correct thing for his own career. He could care less about the best interests of the children.

Don’t the children of this Country deserve better??? Don't Canadian Families deserve better???

To read the National Post Article on Justice Minister Rob Nicholson, please click here.

To read Maurice Vellacott’s response to the comments made by Mr. Nicholson, please visit the Vellacott’s Response To Nicholson Page on this website.

                       
Rob Nicholson's Press Secretary Releases Statement
                       
On August 18th, 2009, Bret Downe, Publisher & Editor-in-Chief of Scene magazine in Canada, decided to ask Nicholson's Press Secretary Pamela Stephens about Nicholson's views on shared parenting.

While Mrs. Stephens' reply commits to little about shared parenting, she does carefully distance Nicholson from the apparent anti-shared parenting position depicted in the article, claiming "comments made by the Minister were taken out of context and editorialized in the report by Mr. O'Neill [of Canwest News Service.]"

On August 19th, 2009, Justice Minister, Rob Nicholson's Press Secretary, Pamela Stephens, released a statement regarding the National Post Article from August 17th, 2009, to clarify Mr. Nicholson's views on shared parenting. Mrs. Stephens' full statement reads:

The comments made by the Minister were taken out of context and editorialized in the report by Mr. O'Neill on August 18th. Mr. Velacott's private member's bill on the issue of equal parenting, Bill C-422, is being reviewed, but the Government has not taken a position at this time.

Children require love, attention, a safe environment, and financial support. Most children want and need contact with both their parents, even after a divorce. For this reason, our Government supports a child-centred policy that encourages parents to exercise child-rearing responsibilities in a way that will promote their children's best interests.

We believe that strong families are the foundation of our society and that the best interests of the child are paramount. Our Government is committed to promoting positive outcomes for the entire family during separation or divorce.

Thank you,

Pamela Stephens
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Justice
and Attorney General of Canada
Tel/ (613) 992-4621
Fax/ (613) 990-7255
pamela.stephens@justice.gc.ca

WOW!!! What Mr. Nicholson will say in front of a room filled with Lawyers, and what he will have his Press Secretary say when he is called to account for his words, are two totally different things.

So which is it Mr. Nicholson, do you, or do you not, support Bill C-422??? Do you, or do you not, believe that our children deserve the right to have an equal relationship with both their Mother and their Father???

However, I do want to thank you Mr. Nicholson for exposing the truth behind your own Conservative Party’s Policy Declaration, in which it states in section K, under the title SOCIAL POLICY, #69, and I quote, “The Conservative Party believes that in the event of a marital breakdown, the Divorce Act should grant joint custody, unless it is clearly demonstrated not to be in the best interests of the child. Both parents and all grandparents should be allowed to maintain a meaningful relationship with their children and Grandchildren, unless it is demonstrated not to be in the best interest of the child.”

By publicly stating that you do not support Equal Shared Parenting, you have exposed that the Conservative Party as a whole does not support Equal Shared Parenting. The truth about your Conservative Party's Policy Declaration is that it states "Joint Custody", and that is nothing more than a deceitful attempt by the Conservative Party to acquire votes, as a common misconception is that joint custody means that the children spend half the time with each parent. Truthfully, "Joint Custody" is nothing more than a Legal Term in which one parent has sole physical custody (usually the Mother), and one parent has access of usually nothing more than every other weekend (usually the Father). The only difference between Sole Custody and Joint Custody is that both parents have the right to make important decisions in their child's life. It does not mean Equal Shared Parenting! You, of all people Mr. Nicholson would know that, wouldn't you?

To view the Conservative Party’s Policy Declaration, please click on the link provided below.

http://www.conservative.ca/media/2008-PolicyDeclaration-e.pdf

                        
Equal shared parenting is the right thing to do for Canadian Children.
                        
As Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff has written, “These groups demanded that the custody and access regime created by the Divorce Act of 1985 be replaced with a shared parenting regime in which both parents are given equal rights to bring up their children. These are sensible and overdue suggestions, and the fact they are being made shows that men and women are struggling to correct the rights revolution, so that equality works for everyone.”

Please help me ensure that our Canadian Government does the right thing for our children this time. These reforms are long over due, and need to be passed into law. Please visit the Write Your Member Of Parliament Page , to learn about how you can help ensure that Bill C-422 gets passed into law.

“Any Government that would have a so-called "Justice" System in place that would encourage a Parent to deny their own child the right to have an equal relationship with their other parent, cannot truly say that they care about the best interests of the Children. Their actions, or should I say inaction’s to reform such a broken system, speak very loudly. They are boldly stating: We do not care about the children of divorce in Canada. We do not care about Canada's future." – Dave Nash

 
   
 
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