How Has The Canadian Government Failed Children And Their Families?

Family Law Reform - Failing Grade

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 of 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 its own Canadian Charter of Children’s Rights?

C) To the Canadian People:

Doesn’t the fact that the Canadian Government is ignoring their 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 CanadaUnfortunately, 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, 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:

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