Then we have the likes of the infamous man hater Rowan Kelly. See below for their comments. If this is as good as the "feminists for mom having everything after divorce" side gets its a pity. I expect better than that silliness. Thank goodness for loose cannons like her though because it clearly shows the kind of mentality that wants to discriminate against good dads.
Aug 21, 2009 04:30 AM
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Take, for example, last year's Bill C-484, ostensibly all about protecting "unborn children" but definitely not, oh no no no, about limiting women's reproductive choices.
Until, of course, on the eve of the election, when it was killed because the Conservatives didn't want "to reopen the abortion debate." That, months after the bill had passed second reading.
Then there's the pesky women's equality thing.
In 2006, one of the first things the Harpies did was strip the word "equality" from the Status of Women's mandate – as if ensuring women's equality wasn't the ministry's raison d'être.
Then, last year, only after howls of outrage from feminist groups, did they sneak it back in. Not that it made a difference since they had already cut the funding necessary to advocate for equal rights.
Now comes C-422, An Act to Amend the Divorce Act.
It's a private member's bill introduced in June by one of the most socially conservative backbenchers in the government, Saskatoon- Wanuskewin's Maurice Vellacott. He is past co-chair of the Pro-Life Caucus, an advocate of creationism in education, a vocal opponent of gay rights and, lest we forget, so harsh in his criticism of former Conservative-converted-to- Liberal MP Belinda Stronach, that the word "prostitute" came up in his diatribe.
The good news is, private member's bills are rarely passed.
The bad news is, research shows that they influence government policy – and, as the record shows, often reflect party policy.
Just so you know where this is all coming from.
The main aim of C-422 is to automatically award "equal parenting" rights to both parents in a divorce decision because, as research shows, children have better outcomes when both mother and father are (positive) presences in their lives.
In other words, judges should presume that equal parenting is in the "best interests of the child," unless proven otherwise.
Which, at first glance, sounds great. Who can argue with the idea of an engaged, loving and caring father remaining involved in his child's life – and not just as an every other weekend, cheque- writing daddy?
I see the men on my street and in my neighbourhood so very much part of rearing their children, doing much more than manning the barbecue and ferrying them to hockey practice.
But marriages break up.
Many do so amicably enough, with couples working out their parenting responsibilities without dragging armies of lawyers into the courts which, by the way, now award joint custody in almost half the cases.
I also know great fathers who have struggled to maintain their relationships in the face of angry exes, who use the kids as pawns, cut them off from their extended families and worse.
Fortunately, such women are in the minority.
But C-422 will cause more problems than it will solve, say women's and legal groups such as the Quebec Bar Association.
In fact, last month at the annual meeting of the Canadian Bar Association, federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson was cheered when he hinted that, personally, he wasn't 100 per cent behind the bill.
To outline all the reasons that the bill is flawed, even dangerous to women and children, not to mention potentially costly to the court system, would take the whole page – and I don't have that.
But here's just one example: Among the secondary considerations a judge must take into account is whether there's "family violence committed in the presence of the child." If the abuse occurs behind closed doors, hey, no problem. That despite how research shows that, in half the cases of violence, the battering begins after separation.
Nobody is saying that our divorce laws, last significantly changed in 1986, don't need an overhaul. They do.
But C-422 is not the reform we need.
Not when you consider the source, the context and that Conservative agenda.
Antonia Zerbisias is a Living section columnist. firstname.lastname@example.org. She blogs at thestar.blogs.com.