Wednesday, May 27, 2009

"Robin" free as a bird

Tue, 2009-05-26 17:29.
Shuyee Lee

The four year saga pitting the courts against "Robin" aka the man who scaled the Jacques Cartier Bridge- is over.

And our wannabe crimefighter has discovered his fate.

In our last episode, mild-mannered engineer Benoit Leroux was ready to defend his request for an unconditional discharge after being found guilty of mischief and conspiracy for dressing up as Batman's sidekick Robin and scaling the Jacques Cartier Bridge four years ago to bring attention to the rights of single dads in custody cases.

But Judge Gilles Cadieux says they have to send a message of dissuasion to the public so he gave him a conditional discharge including 180 hours of community work and two years probation, assuring Leroux the discharge meant no criminal record, so no problems travelling to the U.S. to work or to see his young daughter there.

Leroux looked and sounded tired and somewhat defeated but he is satisfied and content the four year battle is over and he can hang up his cape for good.

"It feels really well. It's a weight on my shoulders (that) is lifted even though I have to make a lot of hours of community work."

Power' move by male students ruffles U. of C.

By Sara Olkon

Tribune reporter

1:58 PM CDT, May 27, 2009

Click here to find out more!

A group of University of Chicago students think it's time the campus focused more on its men.

A third-year student from Lake Bluff has formed Men in Power, a student organization that promises to help men get ahead professionally. But the group's emergence has been controversial, with some critics charging that its premise is misogynistic.

Others say it's about time men are championed, noting that recent job losses hit men harder and that women earn far more bachelor's and master's degrees than do men.

"It's an enormous disparity now," said Warren Farrell, author of "The Myth of Male Power" and former board member of the New York chapter of the National Organization for Women. He noted, among other things, an imbalance in government and private initiatives that advance the interests of women and girls.

Further, Farrell said, just because some men are doing well is hardly a reason not to applaud efforts to boost the careers of other men.

"It's like saying 'is it OK for the Yankees to keep recruiting new players because the Chicago Cubs have not won as often?' "

Steve Saltarelli, the president of Men in Power, wrote a satirical column in March in which he suggested forming such a group. "Anyone with an interest in both studying and learning from men in powerful positions, as well as issues involved with reverse sexism, may become a member of MiP," he wrote.

Shortly after the column ran, Saltarelli started getting e-mail messages from men eager to join.

"Mainly people are just excited about the idea that men can have a group as well," Saltarelli explained.

Sharlene Holly, associate dean of students and the director of student activities, said the University of Chicago has approximately nine women's advocacy groups on campus; this group would be the first male advocacy group.

Saltarelli said some 125 students -- including a few women -- have joined the group via its Facebook page. He said the group would host pre-professional groups in law, medicine and business, foster ties with alumni, bring in speakers to discuss masculinity and mentor local middle school students as part of its "Little Men in Power" program.

Holly said she expected to approve the organization's application this week. As a registered student organization, Men in Power could then apply for event funding. The group plans to hold its first event, a student panel discussion titled "Gender and Media: Trespassing the Taboo," on June 2.

Saltarelli, who plans to attend law school, said the emergence of Men in Power has angered some students, especially "people very set in their ways."

To be sure, its title attracts attention.

"The name implies some things that I don't love," said Liz Scoggin, a third-year student who joined the group a couple of weeks ago and now heads its outreach efforts. "I feel like it implies there aren't enough men in power or that kind of thing."

But Scoggin, who is close friends with Saltarelli, said she joined after learning more about the group's aims and after she felt assured that the organization would not pursue a sexist agenda.

Jessica Pan, president of Women in Business and a fourth-year student, questioned whether Men in Power's goals were being met by existing student groups.

"I'm not sure we really need another student organization that focuses on pre-professional development for men," Pan said, noting that, in just the area of business, there were five or six students groups that were gender-neutral.

Similarly, Ali Feenstra, a third-year student and a member of the Feminist Majority, questioned Men in Power's utility.

"It's like starting 'white men in business' -- there's not really any purpose," she said.

Fred Hayward, founder of Men's Rights Inc., would disagree.

Hayward, who is based in Sacramento, Calif., started his men's group in 1977. Then and now, he said, women have not paid enough attention to what it means to be a man in modern society.

Hayward said one of the biggest myths borne of the women's movement was that men like to help each other out.

"We are competing directly for access to women and jobs," he said.

The group's birth comes at a time when the recessionary ax has fallen especially hard on men. In February, the national unemployment rate for men was 8.8 percent, compared with 7.3 percent for women.

Future employment is also an issue, some experts say. Since 1981, women have collected 135 for every 100 bachelor's degrees awarded to men, according to Mark Perry, an economist at the University of Michigan in Flint. The gap is even wider at the master's level, with women trumping men 150 to 100, he said.

Saltarelli hopes Men in Power will help more men get ahead while raising awareness of the male experience.

"If we have good men in our society, everyone benefits," he said.

New Fathers 4 Justice ~ ‘Spiderpostie’ kicks up a stink with Gordon Brown

Well done NF4J. For those of you who think this is foolish. Think again. The notion of getting political change requires one get attention.

The activity is about and for children. Children think of dads and moms, at certain points in their upbringing, as Super Heroes. Super Hero costumes are kid friendly. They do not scare children.

No change can occur without getting the attention of the public and law makers. Finally these civil rights advocates for making children's lives more complete, secure, and fulfilled are doing it for love and the passion derived from being marginalized. The notion of dads walking away is not in their thinking process.

I wish everyone hired to do a job had their passion. Wouldn't it be nice if your MP's had the same passion for children as they do for graft and corruption!MJM

'Spiderpostie' sends nappies to Gordon Brown
'Spiderpostie' sends nappies to Gordon Brown

By Chine Mbubaegbu
May 27, 2009

A Tilehurst dad dressed as Spiderman posted nappies to the Prime Minister as part of a stunt to push for greater rights for fathers.

The man, who is in his 40s, donned his ‘Spiderpostie’ outfit and sent the nappies to Gordon Brown to urge him to stop ‘disposing’ of dads in society.

His nappy-posting follows other similar stunts by Fred Flinstone in Devon and Batman in Sussex.

Across the country, members of campaign group New Fathers 4 Justice have been dressing as superheroes and posting nappies to Downing Street.

The dad, who asked not to be named, recently joined the group and hopes his nappies will push the Prime Minister to action.

Spiderpostie said: “I don’t need to use my super powers to see what the family courts are doing to fatherhood and loving dads. It is incredible the Government and family court system can justify doing this to loving dads.

“It’s time this Government stopped acting like children, realised that we are sitting on a time bomb. Society is in breakdown and fathers should have a right to have contact with their children.

“We need to send messages that they will listen to and we are fighting for change. The recent opening of the family courts is just another web of deceit.”

The anonymous dad joined New Fathers 4 Justice – a group set up after Fathers 4 Justice disbanded in September 2008 – after struggling with the court system for two years while divorcing his wife.

Speaking to the Evening Post, he likened the family courts system to the latest MP expenses fiasco and said both needed greater transparency.

He said: “There’s lots of things going on behind closed doors. I have experienced a hell of a lot of bias against fathers in the family courts.

“Before I filed for divorce, there was no problem at all with child contact, but once solicitors got involved it was like throwing a hand grenade into the situation.

“They want you to argue between your ex-partner as hard and as much as possible. We want to change that with this campaign.”


Well done NF4J. For those of you who think this is foolish. Think again. The notion of getting political change requires one get attention.

The activity is about and for children. Children think of dads and moms, at certain points in their upbringing, as Super Heros. Super Hero costumes are kid friendly. They do not scare children.

No change can occur without getting the attention of the public and law makers. Finally these civil rights advocates for making children's lives more complete, secure, and fulfilled are doing it for love and the passion derived from being marginalized. The notion of dads walking away is not in their thinking process.

I wish everyone hired to do a job had their passion. Wouldn't it be nice if your MP's had the same passion for children as they do for graft and corruption!

MikeMurphy, Sault Ste. Marie, ON Canada
27/05/2009 at 20:44

Well done Spiderman!!! Labour has been in government now for 12 years and have done absolutely nothing to stop the plight of fathers in the UK. The likes of Brown, Harman, Straw and Ed Balls do not give a jot about Dads not seeing their kids. It must stop. The solicitor "gravy train industry" must stop.....for the sake of our kids. I for one will be sending a message in my nappy to Gordon too and hope everyone else does!!
spider on the roof, bristol
27/05/2009 at 17:20

Although I do support the cause they are fighting for, they could go about getting their message across in a more responsible, sensible manner.

I mean, after all, they want greater access rights to their kids yet their stunts make them look like irresponsible morons who shouldn't be given any access to their own children.
Emma Royds
27/05/2009 at 12:54

Well done Spiderpostie

WE hear on the news that there were worries some MPs caught with their fingers in the taxpayers’ pie were contemplating committing suicide.

What about the fathers denied access to their children who commit suicide on a fairly regular basis due to the present family court system?

This is a scandal and it seems only people in high office are able to fiddle their expenses while the rest of us have to cope with no access to our children, the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission, or the threat of redundancies.

These hypocrites, many of whom are partners in law firms or have an interest in keeping the ‘family law gravy train’ going, should be treated the same way as fathers – ie confiscate their passport, deduct money from their bank accounts, and take their driving licences away if they refuse to pay back their expenses.

Recently the welfare reform bill gave CMEC the ability to take maintenance payments without prior approval or scrutiny from a court.

For fathers, this means the safety net of the court has been removed, despite the fact the present Child Support Agency has a well-documented history of making mistakes. These measures are draconian. Many divorced parents, mainly fathers, are fighting to keep themselves afloat after separation and many absent parents will be hounded for money they don’t have or owe. For years, many fathers have been struggling to overcome the debt, poverty and childlessness forced upon them to fight the system, Cafcass and the CSA.

Often, the very people who proclaim to be acting in the child’s best interests are those who profit the most.

Neil Rees, Reading

27/05/2009 at 12:53

Man in Spiderman costume tells government to "stop acting like children"...
Millicent Reeves, Upper Caversham
27/05/2009 at 12:34

Globe & Mail ~ Mother of ‘missing' 10-year-old girl arrested in B.C.

Sanity can prevail. When no action was perceived on this case the justice system fell into further disrepute. Hopefully the child can get counselling and be reunited with her father.MJM

Girl called 911 to say she had been abused; police learn she had been declared missing by father two years ago

Globe & Mail, Ian Bailey

Vancouver From Wednesday,

The mother at the centre of a cross-country custody dispute that gained considerable attention when the child in the matter ran away from her Vancouver home and called 911 has been arrested.

Araceli Bravo was detained by Vancouver Police at an undisclosed location in the city. Montreal police are expected to arrive Wednesday to escort her back to Quebec.

Police in B.C. were acting on a Canada-wide warrant for abduction in contravention of a custody order, said Constable Jana McGuinness, a spokeswoman for Vancouver Police.

The arrest was “uneventful,” Constable McGuinness said, noting that police in Vancouver acted on information from their counterparts in Montreal. She declined to be more specific.

Constable Yannick Ouimet of the Montreal force said he could not comment on the information supplied to B.C. police. “We never reveal our tactics,” he said Tuesday, noting that he had not even heard about the arrest of Ms. Bravo until told about it by a reporter.

Ashley Gonis, 10, turned up at a Vancouver SkyTrain station last month and called 911 suggesting that she was being abused at home.

Police dismissed that suggestion. Ashley's Montreal-based father, Frank Gonis, had been looking for her for two years after Ms. Bravo allegedly kidnapped her in a custody dispute. Although Montreal police had issued an arrest warrant for Ms. Bravo, it was enforceable only in Quebec until recently.

Mr. Gonis, a home renovator, said Tuesday that his focus now is on his daughter.

“Ashley is coming home. That's all that's important,” he said in an interview. He said he expected his daughter, now under government supervision in B.C., would be placed in foster care when she is returned to Quebec while decisions are made about how to proceed.

“I know she's mixed up,” he said.

Mr. Gonis travelled to B.C. after his daughter turned up, but the custody dispute with Ms. Bravo continued in the courts and he was unable to see Ashley.

“It didn't go well,” he said.

He noted that authorities lost track of his former partner after the hearing, until Tuesday.

Mr. Gonis said he never gave up due to concern about his daughter.

“I knew I could offer her a lot,” he said.

As for Ms. Bravo, he added, “she'll have to go before the courts and we'll see what happens.”


New research finds family breakdown costs billions annually; quantifies the savings were family breakdown to decrease

The Institute of Marriage and Family Canada invites you to join us for a briefing on June 3, 2009. In “Private Choices, Public Costs: How failing families cost us all,” authors Rebecca Walberg and Andrea Mrozek examine the relationship between poverty, families and government. They quantify government spending directed at poverty alleviation for broken families through welfare, child care costs and housing. That cost rises into the billions annually; the exact price tag will be released at the lunchtime briefing on Parliament Hill on June 3.

Consistently, not only in Canada but in OECD nations, lone parent households are more likely to live in poverty. “Certainly the main concern around family breakdown is the emotional toll,” say the authors Rebecca Walberg and Andrea Mrozek. “But the fiscal costs are evident, and those can be more readily measured.”

The report describes

• the relationship between strong families and a strong economy
• the feminization of poverty
• how Canada compares with other nations
• the methodology used to reach our conservative estimate
• recommendations

The report highlights the costs province by province, discussing why and how stable marriages contribute to a stronger economy. “If we are serious about reducing poverty,” say the authors, “especially children and women in poverty, we must address the effects of family breakdown.”

Please join us on June 3 to learn more about the costs of family breakdown.

For more information, check
To register, click here

Date: June 3, 2009
Time: 12:00-1:30
Place: Room 214, Wellington Building, 180 Wellington St., (corner of Wellington and Bank)

This briefing is open to the public and free of charge, however, registration is required for parliamentary security and to confirm numbers for lunch. (A light lunch will be served.)

For additional information or to arrange an interview, please contact Andrea Mrozek, Manager of Research and Communications at the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada at 613-565-3832.

The Institute of Marriage and Family Canada conducts, compiles and presents family research to ensure that marriage and family-friendly policies are foremost in the minds of Canada’s decision makers.

2001-130 rue Albert Street Ottawa Ontario Canada K1P 5G4
t 613.565.3832 f/t 613.565.3803 1.866.373.4632

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

Equal and Shared Parenting ~ The Movie