Saturday, September 6, 2008

The National Post's Barbara Kay: Canada's sorry record of abandoning fathers

A Voice For Divorced Dads

Canada felt the pain of gays denied a gold ring, yet remains oblivious to fathers denied their own flesh and blood

Barbara Kay, National Post

Published: Wednesday, September 03, 2008

If you live in the Chatham, Ont., region, be warned that today you may happen upon a purple Barney Mobile full of scary characters like Batman, The Incredible Hulk and Wonder Woman.

Kidding. The Barney Mobile characters aren't the least bit scary. They're just ordinary dads and moms from the Fathers 4 Justice movement (F4J), presently touring Canada in support of MP Maurice Vellacott's private member's motion (PMM 483) that seeks to enshrine the principle of equal parenting (absent extraordinary circumstances) as the default legal option in the event of divorce.

Spider-Man on a roof, The Incredible Hulk atop a construction crane, Batman and Robin scaling a bridge: The F4J objective is to attract maximum publicity with an ironic touch and minimal public inconvenience. F4J has staged over a hundred superhero "protests," none of which have caused physical harm to people or property.

Walter Fox is the go-to Toronto criminal lawyer for F4J dads in legal trouble. He is presently defending several activists on charges laid after two non-violent August superhero actions. "Toronto's version of a terrorist is a middle-aged man in a Batman outfit," Fox scoffs, referring to Toronto's disproportionate reaction -- Emergency Task Force swarmings, streets being cordoned off, jailings and association bans -- a stark contrast to the bemused, non-confrontational reactions to F4J stunts by security forces in other Canadian cities such as Regina, Vancouver and St John.

York University sociology professor Rob Kenedy -- Canada's only academic with expertise in the fathers' rights movement --has interviewed 200 activists in the field for a book he is writing on the subject of equal parenting. He deplores Toronto's spirit-breaking, "villainizing" tactics.

F4J's instantly recognizable comic-book icons were chosen, Kenedy adds, precisely because they remind the world that Superman and Spider-Man are fictional guardians of society's most vulnerable. The symbolism is apt because in real life loving fathers are superheroes to their children.

The Barney Mobile tour, which ends in Ottawa on Oct. 7, promotes a simple message: Fathers have the natural and moral right to love and be loved by their children. As credible studies show, that can only happen by spending equal, or near-equal, time with them.

In our outmoded adversarial family-law system, women win sole custody in over 85% of contested cases. To believe this is a fair outcome that truly addresses "the best interests of the child" (once a worthy ideal, but over the years hollowed out into a meaningless mantra, cynically deployed to defend mothers' entitlements), you would also have to believe that mothers are more valuable to children than fathers, or that fathers are inherently inferior at parenting, or that women are morally superior to men.

As it happens, many ideologues do profess and promote all these beliefs. Because these ideologues are overrepresented in the legal and academic communities from which policy advisors are disproportionately drawn -- and because they are politically aggressive -- they have successfully chilled rational public discourse that would inevitably lead to long overdue reform.

Polls indicate that 80% of Canadians approve of equal parenting. Study after study points to the deleterious social effects on children in households where the father is mostly or completely absent.

Our family court system is "a national shame," according to University of British Columbia sociology professor Edward Kruk, Canada's foremost authority on custody and its outcomes. "It is a form of child abuse," Kruk says, "to have a fit and loving parent forcefully removed by a court in the absence of any child protection concerns."

After children's infancy, men can parent as capably and responsibly as women. Almost three million North American men are raising children solo, and the sun still rises in the east. In a growing number of U. S. states, such as Maine and Iowa, equal parenting is now the rule. In Australia, a country not unlike Canada in demography and socioeconomic indicators, the law stipulates that joint custody will prevail if parents can't agree to custody arrangements.

Why, then, does socially enlightened Canada have one of the highest father-removal rates in the world? Why were we so ahead of the curve in feeling the pain of homosexual lovers denied a band of gold, but remain so far behind the curve in feeling the pain of heterosexual fathers denied their own flesh and blood?

Politicians of all parties must get on board the Barney Mobile and lend their support to PMM 483. The time for custody justice is now.

bkay@ nospam

by JimBWarrior
Sep 03 2008
3:30 AM

Greetings from New Zealand - Top reporting of this nature will eventually STOP Governments tearing our Families apart

Keep up the good work Barbara

by jmurtari@AKidsRight.Org
Sep 03 2008
9:09 AM

I want to commend you on a great, common sense article on the need for the recognition and protection of parental rights!  Modern society seems to think we have already recognized all the fundamental rights -- but we have forgotten one.  The right to be presumed a FIT & EQUAL parent to your children.

Like all great rights of the past, there is some resistance and the idea scares some people -- but the acceptance of that right will make us all better as a society.

Also, like all Civil Rights struggles of the past, I have the deepest respect for the Moms & Dads willing to dress us as superheroes and risk arrest (during peaceful actions) to show how much they love their kids.

I'm writing from the United States, and I hope more of us could emulate their example!

by David_Skura
Sep 03 2008
9:42 AM

Barbara Kay .... for bringing this problem which so desperately needs fixing, to the attention of the public .. you have earned my respect and admiration.

please for the sake of all children and suffering fathers, continue your efforts.

by nationalposter
Sep 03 2008
11:21 AM

This anti-father agenda is just more proof of the social engineering that radical leftists in our courts and ivory towers are imposing upon Canadians.  The "men are bad" inherent in these outrageous and sexist judicial judgments are beyond belief and inflict incalculable pain to  fathers, children and society.  

Ms. Kay's last paragraph however, is incorrect.  BOTH situations (of blessing homosexual unions and denying heterosexual fathers their children) are consistent with the same ideological agenda of making the traditional family--the building block of society--weak.  When families crumble, chaos ensues.

Time for Canada to wake up to the matriarchal society it is becoming with men who grow up soft (or hard), because of absent fathers.

Shame on lawyers for their dishonest and contemptuous and sexist behaviour in divorce litigation.  

God help fathers in this country who are denied justice and falsely accused which bars them from custody of their children.

Women are not more valuable to their children, better parents or morally superior to men, despite the Feminazism inherent in our judicial system.  The time for father-justice is NOW!  


Sep 03 2008
12:27 PM

I remember thinking my dad was a super hero while I was growing up. Fathers 4 Justice are doing an amazing job at raising awareness for equal parenting in a way that shows what makes dads so awesome - being brave, standing up for justice, protecting their kids, and being playful at the same time.

I'm so glad Canada is seeing a turn from dead-beat or entirely absent dads, to dads that are engaged as fathers.

Thanks for covering this story.

by GPiskor
Sep 03 2008
12:38 PM

With an election call imminent, the M-483 motion will procedurally die on the order paper. However with 80% of Canadians supporting Equal Parenting, and the issue now front and centre in the public mind, family law reform is bound to become a Canadian campaign issue, all the more so since Family Policy has burst forth as a US election topic.

Currently only the Conservative Party   has a formal equal parenting policy as stated in its 2005 policy platform. All other parties – Liberals, NDP, BQ, and the Greens – either do not support it or refuse to state their position.

There isn’t a single Canadian who hasn’t witnessed the shortcomings of the current divorce legislation, either directly or through friends. A whole generation of children has grown up needlessly parentally disadvantaged and are ready to also express their views at the ballot box.

Parties who lack the courage to define their policies on such a fundamental issue run the very real risk of being boycotted at the ballot box.

by Ames27
Sep 03 2008
12:44 PM

I would like to agree with the above article!  I really appreciate what was said, as friends of mine are in a custody battle and in this situation the Father is much more capable of providing the best care!!  However like the article states Canadian law is very far behind on this issue in Canada!!  Why do we make it so hard, for the Fathers that want to be Fathers be just that!!  Fathers!!!  It is a shame that went the men do step up they feel like they are being pushed back down!

by Bisbille 101
Sep 03 2008
1:46 PM

Mrs Kay has been for a long time spoke person for the silent father. She also denounce the blatant corruption amongst the Canadian Family Court system and the detrimental effect on the children. Despite her regular contribution on the matter, the francophone mainstream media remain silent. They rather rant about violence against women and sexual harassment to collect the sympathy and the subvention attached to it.

Hopefully, Mrs Kay is not alone to speak the voice of reason. Paul Nathanson and Katherine K. Young had gathered compelling evidence all exposed for the layman to see in "Legalising Misandry", from public shame to systemic discrimination against men, McGill-Queen's University Press, 2006. A bible of reference for anybody concerned by the rise of the 'New World Order".  

by chuck80
Sep 03 2008
2:07 PM

It has always seemed to me that, in addressing the inequities in women's lives, the feminazis and assorted academic/elite scumbags did not simply seek to remove the inequities but also gave themselves over with complete abandon to trench warfare against males.

Aided by ambitious politicians and stupid patricians, they have reversed the inequality visited upon women but with such a perverse and orgiastic abuse of power, that they have done irreparable damage to society for years to come. And all this in the name of justice. What an execrable constituency!

Do judges and lawyers suppose that we are beyond the days of revolution and that they cannot be reached in their ivory towers?

Oppressed people eventually revolt and it is high time that people realize that Canadian family-law oppresses males. One spark could start a fire.

by hueofheather
Sep 03 2008
2:16 PM

Thank-You Barbara for covering this all-important story.

Children are being withheld legally from caring, loving, capable parents, most of them being fathers.

It is interesting to me how the media, politicians, social workers and other professionals, consistently report fathers are important to their children’s lives, and children and need their fathers.  They wonder where the dads are, and blame them for not taking responsibility for their children.  

Yet when the dads are paying their support/alimony and can't see their children because mom wants to move or is involved in a parental alienation scheme to destroy the father-child relationship, etc., a blind eye is turned to these fathers.

Noting that 85 percent of custodial parents are female, maybe we need  “Affirmative Action” to level the playing field quickly, if not unfairly.  Not in the “Best Interest of the child” you say.  Well in Canada,  “the best interest of the child” is defined only by the Judge.  He or she will make a determination about your family dynamics after knowing your case for a few days.  The fact is that Family Court outcomes are predictable, and a good attorney will tell their clients to settle out of court, and if the man had a full time job, then he should give up his kids, because it is a battle he cannot win in court if his partner is fit (or close to fit) to parent.

The message is simple; dad is a payor, shut up and pay.  Just look at the name of this Ontario Government website,  Today there are no women on the website, even though statistically women are poorer payors than men.

If you don't think that there is a problem here , then you have never dealt with a hostile custodial parent.  You may want to remember, "There but for the grace of god go I."

These men and women making political statements for equal shared parenting are indeed heroes.

And Barbara Kay, and the National Post are champions as well, for casting light on Canada's dirtiest secret, the family court embarrassment.

by Sassylassie
Sep 03 2008
4:28 PM

This anti-father agenda is just more proof of the social engineering that radical leftists in our courts and ivory towers are imposing upon Canadians.  The "men are bad" inherent in these outrageous and sexist judicial judgments are beyond belief and inflict incalculable pain to  fathers, children and society.

Yep their goal is a fatherless society, England is already struggling with that problem.  Fathers play an equally important role in the molding of children yet the courts negate that fact.  

Great article B.  Kay.

by supportsage
Sep 03 2008
8:56 PM

I agree with the concept of equal parenting. I have been given a great shock in finding our court system is stuck in the middle ages. It cannot change and we must change it. Many men are actually dying from this, suicide seem to be the only way out. I chose to fight on with or with out my kids. This is a great injustice.

Sep 03 2008
9:52 PM

Once again Barbara, you've written a well thought out article. I too will be taking part in and supporting the F4J Barney Mobile as it passes through London. Please support this cause as it passes through your community and educate yourself on the positive effects that Equal Parenting have on children.

Thank you again Barbara!

by Fairness4fathers
Sep 03 2008
10:05 PM

This disgrace of a system is rampant in the United States also. The lawyers and judges greed over rules everything that "Family" represents. We hear of father after father turning to alcohol, drugs, and suicide over the depression of being denied their children. Meanwhile, we have Barack obama standing before our nation and stating "fathers need to be more involved".

by fixchildrensaid
Sep 03 2008
11:05 PM

Another excellent article, Barbara.

The F4J Barney Mobile will be making an appearance in London, Ontario, on Friday, September 5 from noon to 8 PM.

The location of the appearance will be at the Army, Navy & Air Force Veterans Club at 797 York Street (at Rectory), which is kitty-corner to the main entrance at the Western Fair.

There will be numerous handouts for children, as well as opportunities for the children to have their pictures taken with the local superheroes.

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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