Canada’s hallmark is the respect and rights of its citizens above all else. The “Charter of Rights and Freedoms” encourages a just society free from discrimination. There is protection of rights based on an individual ’s beliefs, race and gender. Harassment and discrimination will not be tolerated. The only exception, it seems, is the blatant bias against fathers in Family Court.
Does it not seem obvious that when over 90% of custody, spousal support and cost orders go against men it may indicate that the rights of both parents (genders) are not being protected?
At first I couldn’t believe this could happen in Canada. I thought in our society each member has the right to equal justice and to have the assurance that in court each party could present their case and be heard. Yes you can but if you are a man it will go against you and when you lose, as a final insult, you are ordered to pay the costs of the winning party. Guess who pays…. In essence, the bias of the courts is a deterrent to peace in the family.
In meetings leading up to the Government’s own report “For the Sake of the Children ” many witnesses expressed the view that judges still operate on the presumption that mothers are better parents. It was identified that Canada has a long history of using the gender of parent to guide custody decisions. This gender preference is created and led by judges in courtrooms, yet evidence does not support that one sex has innately superior parent. Even lawyers testified that for male clients looking for custody is an uphill battle.
In the report a great deal of professional literature about children and divorce concluded that it is in the child’s best interest to have continuing contact with both parents after divorce.
The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, known as the Charter, is a far-reaching document contained in the Constitution Act, 1982 . It guarantees to all Canadians rights to liberty, equality under the law, and freedom of religion, expression, association and peaceful assembly among other things. It is the supreme law of the land. This means that it, normally, takes precedence over any federal or provincial law. That is, if any legislation, either provincial or federal, conflicts with the rights guaranteed in the Charter, it must be amended appropriately or it is likely to be struck down by the courts.
In 2007 Canada reflected on the 25 year anniversary of the Charter with much media attention. As reported public opinion polls show a high levels of support for the charter as Canadians have clearly come to see themselves as individuals with rights that cannot be trampled.
So how does this relate to Families?
Introduction From Jim Brown’s examination of the Charter in the Hamilton Spectator:
There was a time when Parliament’s word was law and that was all that was to it.
That was before the Charter of Rights and Freedoms put a legislative leash on politicians and handed a licence to the courts to wade into the great and not so great issues of the day. Canadians have become accustomed to judges having their say on everything form abortion to same-sex marriage, medicare to cigarette advertising, pornography to aboriginal land claims, crime in the streets to the war on terror.
There are however ongoing debates including whether the Charter has enhanced democratic traditions or nurtured a politicized judiciary.
Stephen Harper was barely a month into office when he suggested judges should show deference to Parliament and “apply the law, not make it.”
Ogoode Hall law Professor Allan Hutchinson was quoted in a Globe and Mail article by Justice Reporter Kirk Making.
“We have come to think that the courts play a role in true democracy, In reality, there is this sapping of democratic energy. People are looking to the courts to rescue them rather than politicians. Politicians love this; it gets them off the hook. It has allowed them to pander to the public, because they’ve got the courts behind them to take care of things. My question is: Why do we have any confidence that the courts have any idea what they are doing, when it comes to significant issues?”
A little disconcerting to hear this from a law professor….
Calling all Politicians….please take the Family back from the courts and into the hands of the people’s representatives who should not be abdicating their responsibilities.
There have been a number of recent examples that relate to the importance of an individual’s rights yet the courts continue to discriminate against fathers. Examples include:
The news coverage dealing with the concern for the violation of human rights of terrorist suspects. At what point will fathers and men be given rights at least equal to suspected terrorists in the Family Court System.
The Supreme Court ruled a woman was to continue to receive support because of trauma caused by divorce. This says that although “no fault” is the default there are exceptions. Well in many cases, why is there no exception? Many families are traumatized by the actions of courts each year. Isn’t it time that the rights of all “family” members be respected equally????
A new government proposal has been made to set up a pay equity enforcement agency that would police private businesses for wage discrimination based on gender. At what point will government enforce equality for fathers with equal parenting and access to see their children.
Ontario has just written a statute that children of lesbian couples are legally co-parents. A Superior Court of Justice ruled that not doing so was discrimination on basis of sex and violates their rights to equality under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. So how about the rights of natural fathers after divorce? I wonder how judges will choose to discriminate when these lesbian couples divorce?
The proportion of gay and lesbian couples in Canada is estimated at around 2% yet the amount of time spent by the governments in the past 2 years on the question of definition of marriage as it relates to gay and lesbian couples far exceeds all the time dedicated to parental equality over the past 15 years which impacts 50% of families.
⦁ In another ruling Ontario’s highest court has given a child 3 parents. The biological father, biological mother and a lesbian partner. This while judges are taking away rights of good fathers to be equal parents for no reason.
⦁ Judge Douglas Rutherford of the Ontario Superior Court struck down what he calls an “essential element” of Canada’s legal definition of terrorism, saying it infringes on freedom of religion, thought and association guaranteed in the Charter of Rights. Do I need to repeat, when will Canadian fathers will be accorded the rights enshrined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms?
In a January 2007 ruling, a Saskatchewan court denied the biological father custody of his eight-month-old son given up by the mother and additionally refused him any access for at least a year. This ruling was not based on the biological father being proven an incapable parent but simply the judge deciding another couple would be better parents. What gives a judge the right to proclaim himself God and without cause and deny a father his rights? Do estranged fathers not have rights? What kind of precedent does this set when a judge can simple take away a parent’s child because he believes another parent is better suited?
In January 2007, Prime Minister Stephen Harper apologized to Maher Arar who had been falsely accused as a terrorist by the system. As compensation he was given $10M and $2M for his legal bill. Every year thousands of fathers are falsely accused by a corrupt justice system that for no reason tortures them by taking away their children, homes, assets, income and hope for the future. Judges issue unrealistic orders for support creating deadbeats then the enforcers come in to garnish their wages, kill their credit rating,
suspend drivers license, passports, publish their pictures on the internet and in some cases send them to jail….and this is sanctioned by the government. Where is the Justice? If the government were to provide compensation for fathers tortured by the justice system, the treasury would be bankrupt.