Part IV, Best Interest of the Children and Conclusions.
During her speech to the Canadian Bar Association on the 24th January, 2002, Madam Chief Justice McLachlin congratulated herself heartily about the verdict that she delivered in Gordon v. Goertz (1996, 2 S.C.R. 27; 1996, S.C.J. No. 52; File No.: 24622), with the Women's Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF) and Children's Lawyer for Ontario appearing as interveners.
Madam Justice McLachlin:
3 "The father saw the child frequently following separation. A custody access study prepared before trial showed that the father had "consistently spent more time with the child" than the mother had in the post-separation period. In a mediated agreement pending trial and judgment, the mother and father agreed that the child would reside with both parents on a rotating basis, and that if one party moved, the child would continue to reside in Saskatoon with the other."
As the learned judges conceded above, the child spent consistently more time with her father than with her mother. This, by any standard except the feminist one, would make the father the primary caregiver, thus the mother, rather than the "father saw the child frequently".
Having admitted that the father was the prime caregiver while the mother was too busy furthering her own interests, the judges nevertheless allowed her to renege on her agreement and to remove the child as if she was a piece of luggage to be carried to where ever the mother wished.
This would have been the perfect opportunity to prove that judges, indeed, base their decisions on the presumption that the only consideration is the best interest of the child. What was delivered instead was another example of bewildering rhetoric, page after page.
I can only guess the trouble that the Saskatoon (Canada) mother, who wanted to study orthodontics, must have had in finding a combination of courses that were available only in Adelaide, Australia. There is no dearth of universities offering courses in orthodontics in North America.
Madam Justice McLachlin continues:
54 "Taking all these factors into account, I am of the view that the trial judge did not err in continuing the mother's custody of the child, notwithstanding her intended move to Australia. I find no support in the evidence, however, for restricting the father's access to Australia. Access in Canada would have the advantage of making the father's limited time with the child more natural while it allows her to maintain contact with friends and extended family. Accordingly, I would uphold the custody order and vary the access order to provide for access to be exercisable in Canada. I would add that both parents should equally share the cost of sending her to Canada, in that both have ample means. If the parties cannot agree on the details of access on these terms, or the necessary financial arrangements, they may apply to the Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench for direction."
It seems that the child got buried under an avalanche of 34 pages (27,000++ words) of obiter dicta. The learned judges pontificated about various scenarios, always stressing that it was purely in the search for the best interest of the child. They failed to consider that no matter how well the parents might be able to shoulder the travel costs, money does not equal time and effort. Would the supreme judges concentrate on facts rather than trying to find excuses for the inexcusable, they would have been able to solve their dilemma in a matter of minutes and in two sentences.
Instead, having squandered their time, they came to the conclusion that in the best interest of the child, according to some perverted logic, the then seven year old girl would have to travel half way across the world, alone, so that she can meet the parent who until then had been her primary caregiver.
The shortest flight from Toronto to Adelaide, with a couple of connecting flights, is about 28 hours, not forgetting that the child also has to get from Toronto or Vancouver to Saskatoon and back. The waits for connecting flights at the various airports would interfere with her sleeping patterns. Or, alternately, she would have to spend a night, alone, at some point of connection to another carrier.
Considering the emotional and physical trauma associated with such a long journey, it is hard to see how that fits into the "best interest of the child" dogma which includes minimum harm to the child and maximum contact with both parents. It would rather seem to be grievous harm to the child and her relationship with her father, who, as acknowledged, had been her primary caregiver until the move.
Madam Justice McLachlin:
6 "Gagne J. concluded that he should permit the child to go to Australia with her mother. After citing various decisions considering similar situations and noting the diverse results, he stated:
"I relied heavily on Judge Carter's judgment and her findings of fact that the mother was the proper person to have custody of this child. There will be an order that the petitioner be allowed to move to Australia to study orthodontics and to take the child Samantha with her.
Now, the respondent will have liberal and generous access to Samantha in Australia on one month's notice and not to remove the child from Australia. Samantha's school should be interfered with as little as possible during these visits."
The order of granting the father "liberal and generous access" that involves travel from Saskatoon, Canada, to Adelaide, Australia, is an oxymoron. Madam Chief Justice of Canadas expansion of the order is an obscenity as she ordered the then seven-year old girl to travel alone that distance so that she can have "liberal and generous access" to her father and "maintain contact with her friends and extended family" while having as little as possible interference with her school attendance.
The learned judges never clarified what they meant by "liberal and generous access". Considering the distance, one is left to wonder whether even once a year is an attainable goal. Anyone with the slightest concern for the welfare of the child would have allowed the child to remain at her home and granted the departing parent "liberal and generous access" in Saskatoon. I may be wrong, but I have a feeling that the mother may have found that she could, after all, find the right combination of subjects at a nearby university had the judges delivered justice instead of a judgement. I have no doubt that we would see fewer parents wanting to move if they were sent the message that they could not take their meal tickets and pawns with them. A parent's constitutional right to move does not conflict with the child's constitutional right to remain. That conflict is created by the judges who regard the child as the property of the custodial parent.
Each time that I travel aboard I see bewildered looking children, alone, at the airports. One particular little boy comes to mind. I saw him, maybe full six years of age, at the Zurich airport. He had a tag hanging in front of his chest: "name: Samuel [not his real name] -- destination: Vancouver". He had come from Delhi where one of his parents was with a Canadian company and he was going to the other parent in Vancouver. He had a six-hour wait in Zurich, then another few hours in Toronto. All together, his travelling time would be close (or maybe more) to 40 hours. He was scared, tired and disoriented.
This the legacy of Gordon v. Goertz that our Madam Chief Justice is so proud of. A legacy that could have been so easily made to conform with the "best interest of the child" presumption, had justice, rather than radical feminist ideology, prevailed.
Status of Women Canada, in a document called "Women's Movements and State Feminism: Integrating Diversity into Public Policy. The Femocrat Model of State Feminism." (May 2001), reports that
the Department of Justice has assembled a network of gender-based analysis specialists drawn from academia and women's organizations who act as resource persons to offer advice and guidance on issues related to policy development, research and the drafting of legislation. In keeping with the accepted wisdom that gender-based analysis most effective when supported by senior levels of the bureaucracy, the department also appointed a senior advisor on gender equality to spearhead this set of initiatives and to monitor upper-level management mandated to implement these guidelines. [p. 32]
To be operationalized fully, the policy recommendations adopted at the end of the research project must have sanctions for non compliance which require internal and external accountability, and commitment from elite levels of leadership." [p. 34]
Would the judges depart from the policy directives as made by the "femocrats", "state feminists" and activists, they would be seen as being in "non-compliance".
Let us not forget that "equality" according to the gender specialist means the following:
"A gender research approach begins with women's experience as they see it."
"Womens experience as they see it", especially after they have been briefed by various professionals, has nothing to do with reality and equality in law.
Rather than pandering to the greed, whims and malice of some women who see their children as mere meal tickets and their husbands as walking wallets, the message that we need to get across is that father involvement in their childrens lives goes beyond paying support and an occasional visit. The best interests of the children, whom the judges are not interested to see or hear, do not coincide with how much money can be extorted from the father or with the mobility rights of the custodial mother.
The case for joint custody as a tool to reduce divorce rates.
By encouraging father involvement, the presumption of joint custody would automatically reduce divorce rates, as it would remove the profit aspect from divorce. Richard Kuhn and John Guidubaldi make a strong case for joint custody in their report titled: "Child Custody Policies and Divorce Rates in the US" [11th Annual Conference of the Children's Rights Council October 23-26, 1997. Washington, D.C.]
Margaret Brinig and Douglas Allen, both economists, analyzed all 46,000 divorces filed during 1995 in four states: Connecticut, Virginia, Montana and Oregon. They correlate the above data in their document "These Boots Are Made for Walking: Why Most Divorce Filers Are Women" They conclude that women are much more willing to split up because they, in addition to material benefits, typically do not fear losing custody of the children. Instead, a divorce often enables them to wield unrestricted power, at times lethal, over the children and their fathers.
Importance of Fathers.
The next five reports, among countless others, leave little doubt about the importance of father participation in their children's schools and lives. They send a clear message that it is not enough that fathers are allowed to visit with their children. What is needed is the ability to participate actively in all aspects of the children's lives. Again, this antithetical to the feminist view that financial contribution by fathers is all that is necessary.
- Conference "A New Understanding of Parent Involvement: Family-Work-School" (April 12-13, 1996)
- U.S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs National Institute of Justice Executive Office for Weed and Seed (January 5-7, 1998). "What Can the Federal Government Do To Decrease Crime and Revitalize Communities? Trend Four: There is an Increase in the Number of Fatherless Children, Who Are More Prone to Delinquency and Other Social Pathologies"
- Nord, Christine Winquist. "Father Involvement in Schools" ERIC Digest. (1998-06-00)
- Pascal D. Forgione, JR. National Center for Education Statistics. "Fathers' Involvement in their Children's Schools. Commissioner's Statement" (October 2, 1997).
- U.S. Secretary of Education, Richard W. Riley, and the staff of the U.S. Department of Education established the Partnership for Family Involvement in Education in September 1994. One of the major publications by this think-tank "A Call to Commitment : Fathers Involvement in Childrens Learning" (1998) notes: "Divorce severely impacts a father's ability to be involved with his children. In 82 percent of marital breakups today, fathers do not have custody of their children (U.S. Bureau of Census, 1996)" The report goes on to make lucid recommendations, including what steps schools should take in order to maintain communication between fathers and children.
In the conclusion to her address to the CBA Madam Chief Justice of Canada says:
"All of us must use all our intelligence and our hearts to bring family law into the 21st century with pride, honour, and respect. Above all, we must be pro-active. It is our task to ensure that family law continues to meet the needs and expectations of our changing society. Our track record in recent decades, both in terms of substance and procedure, is impressive. But we cannot rest on our laurels."
What is the track record? It is an upward spiral of child poverty, overcrowded jails, unemployment, juvenile crime, truancy and teen-age pregnancies, all of which have been shown to be direct consequences of fatherlessness, which in turn is a direct consequence of Gordon v. Goertz and other similar abominations. Suicides by men in their prime who have been robbed of their children and bankrupted by excessive support payments and legal costs, including those of their ex-wives which they are ordered to pay, have become an epidemic. Considering that our family court practises promote, rather than discourage, father estrangement, there do not seem to be any laurels to rest on.
Dr. Aaron T. Beck, University of Pennsylvania, says in his "Risk Factors for Suicide in Psychiatric Outpatients":
"Previous studies of suicidal patients suggested that three cognitive factors were associated with high suicide intent: high hopelessness, low level of self-esteem, and impaired problem-solving ability. Other previous studies have supported the role of the first two variables as predictors of eventual suicide."
All the above factors can be seen to be directly linked to the bias in family courts. Once the control of his life has been taken away from an individual he no longer has the ability to solve his problems. That leads to high hopelessness and low level of self-esteem. Yet, study after study ends with the remark that it is not fully understood what is the cause for the ever-expanding epidemic of suicides by men who are in their prime.
Divorce and separation not only increase suicide risk for men but also for children. After surveying 752 families at random, Carmen Noevi Velez and Patricia Cohen divided the children into those who had never attempted suicide and those who had done so at least once. They found that the two groups differed little in age, family income, race, and religion. But those who attempted suicide were more likely to live in non-intact family settings than were the non-"attempters". [in their "Suicidal Behavior and Ideation in a Community Sample of Children: Maternal and Youth Reports," Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 273 : 349-356]
Madam Chief Justice of Canada lauds the concept of a legal practice known as "collaborative lawyering" without any further thought to the fact that unless the profit aspect of divorce and sole custody are removed there is no way of convincing the partner who stands to gain from adversity to co-operate.
Lets look at the facts and leave mythology aside. It is expected that courts order sole custody in the absence of mutual consent, even when both parents have equal parenting abilities. Sole custody is usually ordered to the mother even if the father has been proven to be the more involved parent, like in Gordon v. Goertz. "Mutual consent" is an unrealistic goal as long as sole custody has its rewards. It goes without saying that no amount of mediation will convince the parent who can expect to gain from sole custody to consent to joint custody.
About 80% of custody awards in Sweden are for joint custody. Litigations about child-support are rare as both parents are viewed to be equal partners, equally capable of earning a living. Once the reasons for disagreement, which are money and control, have been removed, parents dont have much left to fight about, especially as they are not forced into a slave-master, and a host-parasite relationship, and thus are able to preserve their dignity. Rather, they learn to view shared physical custody as a plus which gives them a welcome respite from the mundane tasks of child rearing.
In jurisdictions where the mother can expect sole custody and accompanying benefits it is the mother who refuses to negotiate except on her terms. Even Prof. Bala, whom Madam Chief Justice quotes in her speech, has had to admit that mothers file most false allegations of abuse during divorce and custody proceedings. His report, called "Sexual Abuse Allegation When Parents Have Separated: Social Context & Evidentiary Issues" was issued after the speech by Madam Chief Justice, but the data have been available long before. The report involved 262 alleged child victims (74% of them alleged sexual abuse).
Prof. Bala documents that about 71% of the allegations were made by mothers (64% custodial and 6% non-custodial), 17% were by fathers (6% custodial and 11% non-custodial. Corroborating other research, he says:
"In 45 of the 150 cases (30% of the cases where abuse was not proven) the judge believed that it was an intentionally false allegation.
In the 89 cases where the court found that the allegation was clearly unfounded, the accusing party lost custody in 18 cases, though this was usually for reasons not directly related to the making of an unfounded allegation of abuse. In only one case was the accuser charged (and convicted) for false reporting (mischief) in connection with the false allegation, though in 3 other cases the accuser was cited for contempt of court in connection with denial of access. In the 51 cases where abuse was proved on the civil standard, access was denied in 21 cases, and supervised in 16. The abuser was criminally charged in only 3 of these 51 cases.
Thus, even if perjury is proven, the accuser has nothing to lose but everything to gain as courts seldom reverse an interim order. A false allegation is a form of child abuse as well as it removes the children from the other parent and places them into the care of a parent whose own interests are of paramount importance to her.
Who gains from marriage and/or divorce?
The first thing that a married woman in Canada achieves on her wedding day is the freedom of choice either to be in or to stay out of gainful employment and yet be provided for. No unmarried woman, or any man, unless very wealthy, has the same choice though they also have the freedom to decide how much or how little they earn. Only a divorced or separated man, or a never married non-custodial father, can be ordered to work a certain number of hours in order to earn a certain salary, so that he can support his ex-wife and his absent children, often at the expense of those of his children who live with him.
The male partner, for some fathomless reasoning, is seen to have gained an economic "advantage" from marriage as he was able to "further his career" by working longer hours while his partner performed some housekeeping and child-minding duties which he, of course, would not have needed if he had remained single. It is questionable how many of those functions were actually performed by the female partner herself. It would seem that the less the woman contributed during the cohabitation, the higher her reward. The losses that men incur because of the marriage and its breakdown are not tallied, neither are the lifes necessities and luxuries that women would have not been able to provide for themselves without the marriage.
Once the relationship breaks down, the man is ordered to minutely account for his time and for everything that he owns and earns. He is ordered to relinquish his home and to continue to support not only his children and his former wife, though he may be prevented from having any contact with them, but the womans new household as well. Thus, marriage and its breakdown clearly mean an economic disadvantage to the male partner. It is no wonder that men are beginning to question the wisdom of getting married as shown by some recent studies.
Considering that we are led to believe that men not only gain from marriage but from divorce as well it is surprising to read the following:
"Who is moonlighting and why? Evidence from the SIPP" p. 8: "Divorced men have the longest moonlighting duration ..."
Bank of Montreal Special Report March 27th, 1998 "Primer On Canadian Bankruptcies" says that divorce may also be a reason for the increasing number of consumer bankruptcies:
"As well, a disruption to income that usually coincides with a divorce could push some individuals involved in such a family break-up to bankruptcy. The ratio of new divorces to new marriages has been on an upward trend over the past few decades, rising from 16% in 1970 to 48% in 1995. Commentaries that the rising divorce rates could be a factor behind the rising incidence of personal bankruptcies seem to contain a grain of truth, as this ratio is statistically significant in the consumer bankruptcy regression."
It is a striking omission within the social science research community that there seems to be a lack of studies which would have focused on reasons for and effects of bankruptcies.
Power and Control.
A new study by Linda Waite, called "Does Divorce Make People Happy? Findings from a Study of Unhappy Marriages" concludes that people who were unhappy during their marriages continue to be unhappy after their divorces as well, even if they eventually remarry. Thus sole custody may leave children in the care of a parent who may be predisposed to have a negative outlook of life. As the balancing influence of the other parent is removed, this does not bode well for the children.
The divorce apologists ask us which is better: children witnessing constant bickering and fighting between the parents, or living with only one parent who cannot fight alone? They miss the point that once the target of bickering has been removed a new target has to be found, and that target often is one or all of the children. It is sad to note that the library at the Supreme Court of Canada does not list any of the current research into child abuse and neglect in their holdings, while having several titles that limit their exploration to child sexual abuse, written with a feminist bias.
But what about the epidemic of dead-beat dads, you ask. That is yet another figment of the over-fertile misandrist imagination. Men who receive their salaries every second week and who never fail to pay support, either child or spousal, on their pay-days are listed as being in arrears for half of each month because of the way that the enforcing agencies keep their books.
A report by the Parents' Fair Share Program (U.S.) examined the various ways by which low-income earners make informal contributions to their children and the mothers of their children. The researchers found that there was a preference by the mothers for informal support as they were able to draw welfare benefits as well. In addition, fathers had to meet certain conditions in order to see their children. At times those conditions became so daunting that fathers just gave up. This report dispels the myth that increased paternal participation leads to an increase in family violence. As fathers became more involved in active parenting, mothers reported a small increase in frequent disagreements, but these did not increase the level of aggression. The disagreements tended to be about child-rearing, a further proof that the impetus for divorce and sole custody is based on the desire by the custodial parent to have unobstructed control over the children and their non-custodial parents, usually the fathers. The study concludes: "It is also possible that the increase in disagreements occurs specifically because the custodial parents are resisting the non-custodial parents' new parenting efforts". [Virginia Knox, Cindy Redcross: "Parenting and Providing: The Impact of Parents' Fair Share on Paternal Involvement"]
In the opinion of J. C. Smith, an influential law professor and a prolific writer at the University of British Columbia:
"The pathological need of
males to dominate females stems from a deep seated unconscious hostility towards women which ranges from a mere resentment or fear of the feminine to hatred. An unconscious misogyny and gynophobia is a part of the psyche of the male of the species. A similar phenomenon is not to be found in the female.
I believe that the emancipation of women can be fully achieved only by a form of radical feminism"
[*] [In "The Sword and Shield of Perseus: Some Mythological Dimensions of the Law" International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, Vol. 6, 235-261, (1984) Pergamon Press Ltd]
* Note by F4L: If the term "radical feminism" (a.k.a. Marxist- or
socialist-feminism) is somewhat new to you, you need to expand your
knowledge. After all, radical feminism, the currently
controlling faction of feminism, governs just about everything that
is happening in your life. See,
Carey Roberts column
Carey Roberts is an analyst and commentator on
political correctness. His best-known work is an exposé on Marxism and the roots of radical feminism.
Carey Roberts' best-known work, his exposé on Marxism and the roots of radical feminism, is not necessarily easy to find,
this link will help with that. (Some of the URLs for the
article series appear to keep changing. For that reason the
identified link leads to an Internet search for the series. The
first or second link in the return list will most likely lead
you to the series.)
"Medusa had been a beautiful maiden who had been changed by Athene
Medusa is the converse of Athene, the free woman, the virgin owned by no man. She is the spirit of the feminine, undistorted, unrepressed, and untrampled - the angry woman, the witch in the pathological society. It is her face which turns a man into stone"
It is interesting to note that true to the feminist dogma J.C. Smith is blind to her own expression of hate, base on gender alone, so dark that it defies words. She is oblivious to the fact that Medusas woes were created by another woman, not by a man. First, the jealous Athena turns her into a hideous looking creature, then she helps to slay her and carries her severed head with her. It is hard to comprehend that anyone would see an angry woman to be the "spirit of the feminine" woman. By all accounts, Medusa was distorted, repressed and trampled upon by a woman who had caught her with her lover.
On the other hand, one can see the direct link to feminism in the Gorgon sisters: they only had one eye that they shared between the three of them. So do the feminists.
In her speech to the CBA, Madam Chief Justice, who also taught law at the University of British Columbia, echoes the sentiment:
"Finally, we have come to understand that sexual, financial, and emotional abuse can be as devastating as physical abuse and that all involve issues of power and control.
A third critical step was the realization that crimes of domestic violence must be evaluated not just in terms of the physical context of who did what to whom but in the full context of their social and psychological realities."
Women subject their divorced and separated male partners to financial and emotional abuse by using the courts as proxies, having, maybe, already subjected them to similar abuse at their own hands in addition to physical abuse.
Children are the most formidable weapons in the hands of a parent who wishes to exert power and control over the other parent. Men who do not want to abandon their children have no option but to stay in an abusive marriage or a common-law relationship. If they report the abuse to the law enforcement agencies they will be laughed at, at best, most likely they will be arrested under the current Zero-tolerance policies. Would they attempt to seek justice in the courts of law, it would be their word against that of their female partners. The first thing that their lawyers, if honest, will tell them is that family courts, better known as "womens courts" are run by such advocacy groups as the Woman Abuse Council of Toronto (see Part I) and operate under the dictum: "believe the woman". As Madam Chief Justice herself admits, who did what to whom no longer matters, what matters is what is perceived to be the "social and psychological realities", which, when seen through the eye of the Gorgon sisters, is a foregone conclusion of male culpability, no matter who did what to whom.
In 1990 she also said:
"The presence of women [in the judicial system] means that women's concerns are sure to play a part in the court's deliberations, that the feelings and viewpoints of women will be canvassed. Symbolically, the courts stand as reflections of our society. It's important women be there." [In: Beverly McLaughlin, "The Title and Degree of Doctor of Laws" (honoris causa) Conferred at Congregation, University of British Columbia, September 27, 1990]
Though admitting her bias, she is firmly convinced that she has no bias. The presence of women who subscribe to the feminist ideology like Madam Chief Justice of Canada and many, if not most (there are a few exceptions), women and acquiescent male judges and lawyers, means that womens feelings are taken into account only when they coincide with the feminist mythology. Women who refuse to toe the line and speak the truth are seen to be "in denial".
Madam Chief Justice of Canada bemoans the billions that we, as taxpayers, are forced to spend each year to combat the mythical and unsubstantiated "Violence against Women". All available crime and health statistics show that women are less likely than men to be victimized. All intentional injuries suffered by women account only to a small fraction of their injury related hospitalizations. Injuries inflicted by intimates are a subgroup of intentional injuries. Thus, the most resources are spent on issues that qualify for the least.
Margaret F. Brinig and Douglas A. Allen, in their "These Boots Are Made for Walking: Why Most Divorce Filers Are Women" [American Law and Economics Review 2-1 (2000): 126-169] note:
"A randomized study of 46,000 divorce cases published in the American Journal of Law and Economics found that in only 6% of cases women claimed to be divorcing abusive husbands, and that adultery was cited by women as a cause of divorce only slightly more than by men. Surveys of divorced couples show that the reasons for their divorces are generally a lack of closeness or of "not feeling loved and appreciated."
Considering that the definition of "woman abuse" is all encompassing, including a professed fear, and that many of the 6% of allegations are later proven to be false, the number of divorces due to wife abuse is miniscule.
The then Chief Justice of Canada, Antonio Lamer reportedly said:
"Since the charter came into effect, we no longer rule on cases. Now, we rule on the laws themselves." [In: "Benevolent Monarch. How the charter has helped Antonio Lamer turn his dubious ideals into the law of the land" The Alberta Report September 21, 1998]
The role of a judge is to determine the validity of the case in front of him. The determination of the validity of laws is the role of the democratically elected government, though in Canada even the government is now under the direction of the "gender equity" specialists.
Finally, it might be prudent to remind Madame Chief Justice about her own words:
"The day I wake up and look in the mirror and say, 'I decided a case to please this interest group or that interest group' ... that's the day I'm not fit to be a judge." [Aug. 23, 1999 - quoted in "McLachlin v. Iacobucci for job of chief justice", published in the National Post]
It is of little consequence what anyone of us says to our mirror in the morning. When ones decisions are based on ones own deep-seated, no matter how false, perceptions, one does not begin with the idea of pleasing anyone or any group. When one is convinced that one is acting in the best interests of ones own ideology, one will go to any lengths to try and convince the world likewise, no matter how futile the attempt.
What is of consequence is what we do during the day as Madam Chief Justice herself seems to acknowledge in an interview with The Hill Times: "Powerful new chief justice of Supreme Court opens up" by Christin Schmitz:
"Anybody who wanted to find my views on certain things could look at the judgements I had written and draw up tables, statistics, whatever...That is probably the best evidence of how a person is going to perform in their new role."
Yes, indeed. What I found when I looked was troubling, to say the least. The conflict between the perception of herself, as reflected in the mirror, and the image that she conjures up in the minds of those who read her judgements leaves her unfazed.
Whenever I want to sum up a person, I look at her bookshelf, or the lack of one. The list of documents at the library of the Supreme Court of Canada reflects the prevailing ideology of the judges. The latest acquisitions to the library include such titles as "Feminist thought : a more comprehensive introduction" by Rosemarie Putnam Tong and "Manifesta : young women, feminism, and the future" by Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards, just to mention two.
Documents under the subject "family violence" or "abuse/abused women" are drawn exclusively from feminist bibliographies. Academic and empirical studies that contradict the "women as the universal victims of male aggression" dogma are nowhere to be seen.
Though there are several documents about child sexual abuse, the most significant Canadian studies on child abuse, the "Canadian Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect" and its predecessor "The Ontario Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect", both under the editorial supervision of Dr. Nico Trocmé, are notably absent.
Contrast that with the fact that the library has three separate titles about domestic violence in Papua New Guinea. One is hard pressed to understand what these have to do with family law in Canada.
Going by the trend set by the Supreme Court under the tutelage of Madam Chief Justice of Canada, the Ontario Appeal Court judges recently in Kreklewetz v. Scopel (C35903) came out with the breathtaking statement:
"Because acknowledgement involves a volitional act of admitting knowledge of a fact, it is possible for a person to acknowledge something to be true in one context, but to decline to do so in another context."
I cannot help but think of how little Alice Raikes (the muse for "Alice in Wonderland" by Lewis Caroll) saw in the mirror the orange that was in her right hand to be in her left hand. When Caroll asked her for an explanation, she answered: "Supposing I was on the other side of the glass, wouldn't the orange still be in my right hand?"
When judges began to deliver judgements instead of justice they changed their title from "judge" to "justice". Just like the "wrong-way-round" dominates the book about Alice, so does the "wrong-way-round" dominate our gender biased courts. Lady Justicia in Canada has removed her blindfold and replaced it with the one eye of the Gorgon sisters.
Looking at the Court statistics one can see that attempts to justify the unjustifiable take a lot of time and effort. In 1991 the Supreme Court of Canada sat through 80 hearing days. In 2001 it was 62 days. The Court heard 125 cases and delivered 112 judgements in 1991, in 2001 they heard 96 cases and delivered 91 judgements. In 1991 seventeen percent of the applications were granted a hearing, in 2001 only eleven percent of applicants were successful. In 1991 seventy percent and in 2001 eighty two percent of the judgements were unanimous.
I give the last word to Thomas Jefferson:
"The germ of destruction of our nation is in the power of the judiciary, an irresponsible body working like gravity by night and by day, gaining a little today and a little tomorrow, and advancing its noiseless step like a thief over the field of jurisdiction, until all shall render powerless the checks of one branch over the other and will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we separated." (1821)