Thursday, August 20, 2009

Canada needs judges, justice minister says ~ But apparently not Dads

Nicholson is in the news but has apparently back peddled on the statements by O'Neil in the following story with respect to PMB C-422. I will provide my own analysis and opinion as we read through the missives.

Firstly it is clearly nice for a lobby group like the CANADIAN Bar Association holding a convention offshore in another country to get the Justice Minister of Canada to provide a key note address. Secondly how should one view a person who is a member of this same lobby group pandering in the manner he did. Thirdly, I thought there were laws preventing this kind of potential corruption when politicians deal with lobby groups, especially also being a member of the same group. Does the Minister of defense consort with and provide personal opinions from the defense contractors association? On the surface is does appear innocent but probe deeper and I think you will find a change in the law such as C-422 proposes may do lawyers out of some business. Has Nicholson been "played" as a sap by his brethren? It wouldn't be the first time a politician has suffered such a malady.

Inasmuch as my heritage is Irish I do hold this country in high esteem. You do have to ask yourself, however, how do you get the highest justice official in the land to travel to a foreign country at tax payers expense, including men who pay the vast majority of same, and categorically state he does not believe his own gender is equal when it comes to parenting?

He touts the undefined "In the best interest of Children" which means just about anything to the specific judge dealing with custody orders. Its like mom and apple pie. Nicely stated, poetic and morally of the highest order but elusive - except for apple pie. When you eat it you know if its good or bad and when its good - its the best. We all know not all moms are good just as not all dads. In IPV things are pretty much equal between genders with Lesbians having a higher rate. I note one female lawyer indicates an old canard which means how could we ever give men equality as they will abuse unprotected children.

“Will you stand up for children and oppose this private member’s bill?” asked Meg Shaw of Kelowna, B.C.

Shaw, in her question, said Vellacott’s bill “seems appealing,” but said that experience in other jurisdictions shows that a shift in focus would mean children wouldn’t be adequately protected.

Does she refer to feminist shrieking in Australia? Shaw as usual cites not one credible source for this comment.

What gets overlooked is the mom is the biggest abuser and killer of children in the USA and OZ.

I remain befuddled by this kind of political posturing concerning our children but cynical to the core. Politicians are chameleons and change as often as it is necessary to get re-elected. After all it isn't principle its popularity. After the article I will show a letter I received from this same Minister carefully crafted as only professional letter writers in the upper echelons of power can achieve. They are good at what they do and Minister's rely heavily on their craftsmanship - or is that craftspersonship?

Canada needs judges, justice minister says

Peter O’Neil, Europe Correspondent, Canwest News Service Published: Monday, August 17, 2009

Canada's Justice Minister Rob Nicholson speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa June 8, 2009.

Chris Wattie/Reuters Canada's Justice Minister Rob Nicholson speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa June 8, 2009.

DUBLIN -- Canada needs more judges, Justice Minister Rob Nicholson said here Monday while taking sometimes critical questions from the country's legal community on the Harper government's tough-on-crime agenda.

Mr. Nicholson was speaking to the Canadian Bar Association at its annual meeting in Ireland's capital.

"As I point out to my colleagues, the country keeps getting bigger, the issues are getting more complicated, and you know there are more demands" on the justice system, Mr. Nicholson told CBA members.

"We need to have more judges."

The minister, who was being asked about the shortage of family court judges, acknowledged that there was a particular problem in the Canadian North.

He noted that a bill passed last year was the first piece of federal legislation to increase the number of judges since 1991.

Mr. Nicholson was referring to an amendment to the Judges Act to increase by 20 the number of provincial and territorial superior court judges across the country as part of a plan to reduce court backlogs and case delays.

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. He won a cheer from CBA members for saying he supports the current principle in Canada's Divorce Act that the interests of the children must prevail.

Liberal MP Brian Murphy, vice-chairman of the House of Commons justice committee, said he was pleased with the minister's declarations on both issues.

Mr. Murphy, who is attending the CBA annual meeting, said Canada needs more and better-trained judges, particularly in areas such as family law and in complicated areas like internet crime.

Several lawyers who grilled Mr. Nicholson on other matters, such as the government's new policy on clemency for Canadians facing the death penalty in foreign countries, were less satisfied.

The minister said he'd pass on CBA's objections to that policy, which was described Sunday as unprincipled and inconsistent, to Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon, whose department issued the policy statement.

He also wouldn't say whether the government would accept a Federal Court of Appeal ruling Friday ordering Ottawa to make diplomatic efforts to repatriate accused terrorist Omar Khadr from the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay. The CBA has been pushing Ottawa to return Mr. Khadr to Canada.

Letter to the Editor - National Post 19/8/09

Playing politics with our kids

National Post Published: Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Re: Children Should Be Top Priority In Divorces: Minister, Aug. 18.

It was comforting to see Justice Minister Rob Nicholson's response [ "I believe ... that the best interests of the child are always paramount"] to one of the lawyers of the multi-billion dollar divorce industry who was luxuriating in the hotels of Ireland for the Canadian Bar Association's "national" meeting.

The current divorce system results increases child suicide, drug usage, teenage pregnancies and poverty while lowering educational achievement. It is clear that the current system is structured to be more in the lawyers' best interests than those of our children.

It is time to stop playing politics with our kids.

Brian Jenkins, Mississauga, Ont.

The letter via email I received from Mr. Nicholson.

fromMinisterial Correspondence Unit - Mailout
sender timeSent at 08:57 (GMT-04:00). Current time there: 10:28.
date12 August 2009 08:57
subjectCorrespondence from the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
Dear Mr. Murphy:

Thank you for your correspondence concerning family law.

I regret the delay in responding. I sympathize with the difficult situations that may arise as a result of separation or divorce, particularly when children are involved. As Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, I am mandated to provide legal advice only to the federal government. I hope you will understand that, for this reason, I cannot comment on specific cases, or intervene, or otherwise become involved in matters of a private nature. Family law in Canada is an area of shared jurisdiction.

The federal, provincial, and territorial governments have the common goal of creating an improved, less adversarial family justice system across Canada. I would like to assure you of the Government’s commitment to making the family justice system as fair as possible for all concerned. While the federal government indeed takes the lead in proposing ways to achieve this goal, addressing these issues is a collaborative effort with the provinces and territories.

The Government supports a child-centred policy that will encourage parents to fulfill their responsibilities to their children in a way that will promote their children’s best interests. I particularly note your comments regarding gender equality in the family justice system. As you may be aware, the Divorce Act directs the court to make decisions on parenting arrangements based only on the best interests of the child, which is the core principle of family law.

Custody and access may be awarded to either parent, regardless of gender, or to both parents jointly. The Act does not favour either parent in making this determination. Your suggestion that the Divorce Act should be amended to make shared custody presumptive has been noted and will be given every consideration. However, the courts already have the discretion under the Act to order that custody be shared if they consider it to be in the child’s best interests.

Similarly, there is nothing in the Act that prevents parents who can agree on shared custody from making that arrangement for their children. As set out in the Act, the best interests of the child must take precedence in all court decisions involving custody and access. When making a decision about a particular case, courts must assess the means, needs and other circumstances of the child based on the facts brought before them. A parent’s past conduct cannot be taken into consideration unless it directly affects his/her ability to act as a parent.

Although the Divorce Act is a federal law, the provinces and territories are responsible for implementing it. I note that you have already sent a copy of your correspondence to the Honourable Chris Bentley, Attorney General of Ontario, who is responsible for the administration of justice in your province and the appropriate authority in that regard. I also note your support for Bill C-422, An Act to amend the Divorce Act (equal parenting) and to make consequential amendments to other Acts.

As you may be aware, Bill C-422 was introduced into the House of Commons by Conservative Member of Parliament Mr. Maurice Vellacott on June 16, 2009. As a Private Member's Bill, it will be debated in accordance with the rules of the House of Commons for Private Members' Business. Please be assured that the Government of Canada is committed to working with the provinces and territories with a view to resolving the many complex issues that arise both during and after separation and divorce.

Thank you again for writing and sharing your concerns.

Yours truly,

The Honourable Rob Nicholson

This is truly a well crafted document and as a former "crafter" of same when I was in public service I am impressed. It gives lots of information but is, as usual, non-committal. It describes split jurisdiction and then passes the buck to the Province. The Provincial's do the same thing in reverse. We have a federal law implemented by the provinces by federally appointed judges working in provincial court houses. These same judges receive a federal pension on retirement. Interesting federation we have don't you think. It almost appears as though it was specifically designed to be able to blame other politicians at other levels for the problems. It sometimes makes me wonder why we need a federal system at all if all they do is pass the buck and transfer wealth. I am being just a tad rhetorical on that point.

Here is an update AKA as "spin doctoring" from the Minister's PR apparatchik. Note she states
"strong families are the foundation of our society" yet our families are failing and children suffer the consequences at alarming rates. Look at the negative social outcomes for children in single family female homes. It is appalling. The best interest of the child mantra is carefully crafted "spin". If they really believed this better care and resources would be assigned to prevent family breakdown and save families from destruction at the very hands of the lawyers Nicholson was pandering to. They love the adversarial system pitting one parent against the other with children as the prizes. It is a dysfunctional and utterly morally bankrupt method of child disposal. In 90% of court ordered cases the children become chattels of mom allowing control by mom of dad for the rest of his natural life if he doesn't commit suicide.

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 / Attachée de presse
Office of the Minister of Justice / Cabinet du ministre de la Justice
and Attorney General of Canada / et procureur général du Canada
Tel/tél (613) 992-4621
Fax/tél (613) 990-7255

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The work of Fathers 4 Justice and the Pain of Fathers ~ Activism in the UK

Equal and Shared Parenting ~ The Movie