|Thank you for taking the time to hear my concerns and those of the public in general. My story is not an uncommon one, my concerns deal mostly with family law and the processes within. My wife and I separated approximately 3.5 years ago. After failing to make an equitable arrangement, the lawyers were engaged. After many months of denied access, false allegations, family assessments and perjury, a settlement was reached for joint custody, a 50/50 joint living arrangement. One week at my sons Mothers house and then one week at my house. |
Unfortunately my son has a medical condition called asthma; he was diagnosed as moderate to severe. His mother is a smoker. After many lengthy discussions I brought forth an application to Court of Queens Bench on October 31/97 to try and get my ex-wife to stop smoking. I was protecting my son from harm. Doctors had seen my son approximately 28 times in the last 2 years for respiratory problems, and I felt it had to stop.
I had compiled months of evidence, doctors letters of support, and asked that if my ex-wife did not quit exposing my son to a harmful environment that her access be reduced until such time she could provide a safe environment. Once that was done we could then re-instate the original access order. I was not being malicious in this application, but I felt I was being extremely fair. I was protecting the best interests of my son. My ex-wife countered my application for more child support and sole custody (I currently pay $300.00/month which is already above the guidelines).
The judge took 3 weeks after our day in court to hand down her decision. Madam Justice Kent declined my application stating that I took unreasonable steps to prove the mother was harming the child and she felt that I was trying to break the mother/son bond rather than protect my son from harm. She also stayed the counter application, saying if I should bring this matter before the court again, she would grant the cross application for more child support and sole custody. As well I lost my medical privileges to my son. His mother, the offender, has all medical decision making powers over the child she is hurting. I was not only declined in my application, I was punished for trying to protect my child. Even though my ex-wife committed perjury, lied and manipulated the system, I was not able to protect my child, nor were any of the perjury laws enforced.
In some countries, even some provinces within Canada, a parent who smokes in the presence of a child with a respiratory disorder is considered a child abuser. In Alberta, this is not the case, and if you should act on this you will be punished as if you were the one harming the child.
The mental anguish of not only the separation of a family, but the ongoing battles are taking its toll on the parties involved and the children of this country. We have fathers who were good fathers prior to the date of separation, now being accused of horrible crimes against children with no evidence to support such allegations. These fathers are losing their rights to see their children based on lies. The Grandparents and extended families are losing their rights to see these children. And the children are losing their rights to be with both parents and learn about their heritage. Should one of these so called weekend fathers not pay the huge sums of Court Ordered money to the custodial mothers, they are treated like a common criminal no matter what the circumstance is. This is not a money matter in most cases.
Most fathers want to be a part of the childrens lives, but because we have gender bias in our court rooms, and [of] laws not being enforced, the children of today are not going to know what a father is, or what a father does. I have personally witnessed decisions in our Alberta family courts where a drug abusing, non stable, abusive Mother was given custody of a child over a stable father because of allegations supported by NO evidence or prior history of abuse. Whose best interest is this in?
As society as a whole changes, then the support systems of society must change with it. I propose the following changes:
Enforcement of the perjury laws
Accountability of Judges
Accountability of Lawyers (if they knowing let a client file a false document, they are charged under the criminal code as well)
That the courts of Alberta acknowledge that Fathers are parents too. And in some cases the more capable parent to raise a child.
Mandatory joint custody of children the date of separation (unless there is proven abuse)
Punishment for contempt of court
Monetary caps for lawyer fees and family assessors
The Courts of this country were established to protect the rights of society, and punish the offenders who commit acts against society.
Family Courts were established to protect the children of this country and their right to grow up in a safe, healthy environment. These children are our future, let us teach our children to be good parents and good citizens. To do this they need strong moral guidance, an education, and a loving home environment. I ask that this be provided to the children of this country, they deserve it and I think we owe it to them. Thank you for your time today.
Robb, you stated in your last paragraph:
"Family Courts were established to protect the children of this country and their right to grow up in a safe, healthy environment."
Ostensibly, that was the reason for establishing the Family Courts. They were being promoted and implemented under that premise. Justice Marie Bowker, after whom the building in Edmonton is named that houses Alberta Justice today and who was instrumental in getting Family Courts into operation in Alberta, promoted it under that premise. However, we must also look at the reality of life and the circumstances, the practicalities of the legal system, that caused the desire to have Family Courts. In the light of that, it becomes soon clear that, although in "amiable" circumstances of divorce all parties may, and at times do, benefit from the institution of the Family Courts, that the Family Courts can't help but being instrumental in bringing about higher rates of acrimonious divorces.
The "freedom" promised by the proponents of modern liberalism and manifested by the radical extremist student activists of the Sixties brought about much relaxed moral standards. It created in many people the wish to be relieved from their obligations towards society and family. That wish was expressed through the implementation of no-fault divorce laws that were forced into existence primarily by radical, family-hostile feminists.
Increasing numbers of people, primarily women, were being indoctrinated and tempted by the lure of the promised "freedom" that would relieve them from the "slavery and serfdom" of marriage. They were enticed into filing for divorce so that they could "have it all." For many it meant that they increasingly saw less need even to become married and raise their children within the confines of a traditional nuclear family. Why be married and "slave for a husband" when his pay cheque could be hers if only she could have his children and be "her own boss"? Men have become increasingly vilified during the last thirty years to drive these thoughts home in anyone's mind. The saying "a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle" is one of the more benign. At the other end of the range is the one that states, "All men are rapists, and that's all they are."
Why stay married and why even become married if it is possible to "have it all" with the full help of the justice system and social agencies that insist (at least at that time they did, now less so, for the obvious reason that we are going broke) that a divorced woman and "her" children should continue to live in "the level of comfort that they have become accustomed to" during her marriage?
The reality of course is that a single mother with children "must do it all." Society stressed and strove to establish a level of comfort even for unmarried mothers that kept them comfortable and out of poverty. Mothers are thought to be entitled to that level of comfort, because they are mothers. All women are thought to be entitled more than the other half of society, because they either are mothers or may or could have been mothers. Men are just providers, whether they are married or not. They can never be mothers, they should therefore not be entitled to as much as mothers are.
However, men can't be held to be blameless in all of that. Just like women, they too have sexual urges that are based in the need of humans to procreate. The casting-off of the fetters of morality that gave women greater freedom and sole control over their reproductive choices also gave men greater sexual freedom. The relaxed morals caused an ever-increasing number of divorces, singles bars, a larger number of "unattached" women, a larger number of free-roaming teen-agers -- increasingly less controlled by their parents and reaching puberty at an increasingly earlier age -- and, resulting out of that, an increasing amount of what used to be called illegitimate sex and is now for most people perfectly acceptable. That also created more instances of out-of-wedlock pregnancies and the resulting killing of unborn children. However, for every child thus killed, we still permit two to be carried to full term, and a large number of those are born out-of-wedlock.
Divorces and illegitimate births are grist for the mills of the legal system. The legal system loves them and derives most of its income from them. The judicial system soon became swamped with divorces. Divorce, now made easy and financially enticing because of the largesse of society now provided a far greater incentive to be played out in the courts than ever before, because there is nothing more tangible than money.
The regular judicial system exists primarily for punishing offenders that break the laws intended to enforce adherence to moral standards. It can't function without establishing fault on the part of the alleged offenders. The advent of no-fault divorce laws in the early Seventies soon swamped the judicial system with divorces. There were long delays in resolving the backlog because the system was designed to guarantee the litigants the due process of the law, by establishing guilt beyond any reasonable doubt. It was thought that since women were entitled to have their freedom and were entitled to be allowed to escape the "bonds of marriage" simply on their say-so and without the need to find fault, that the adversarial court system and its slow processes were not addressing the needs of women and "their" children. The long delays in the divorce system left women in financial needs when they walked out of their marriages or kicked their husbands out. They were in limbo until a formal divorce settlement was reached. Until a settlement was reached, it was difficult for them to have access to financial resources, family assets, or the salaries or other incomes of their expunged husbands. The regular courts were a bottleneck in the speedy deconstruction of existing marriages.
Family courts were created entirely for that reason alone. It was thought that a simpler, speedier, "abbreviated system of justice" for litigation relating to family issues would prove advantageous. Unfortunately, that's not the way it worked out, other than for the people that make their living within that sector of the judicial bureaucracy, as many men who had to go through the Family Court system found out.
In many cases, if not all, the initial report by the family court worker will be the matrix that the judge will go by and just rubber-stamp when he delivers his decision. The Family Court system is a travesty of justice, which, especially in contentious or acrimonious divorces denies the "accused" (invariably men) the due process of the law, in violation of our constitution. It causes many people to be justifiably dissatisfied with the decisions that are handed down and to take their cases through successive stages of appeal, if they can afford it. Women are more likely to be able to afford it, because they are far more likely to be given Legal Aid, by which they then have virtually unlimited resources to carry on with their fight indefinitely. All of that perhaps to some extent has lessened the divorce case load in the lower Court, but it has increased the case load in successively higher stages of the Courts of Appeal. 86 percent of the case load in the Ontario Superior Court is now comprised of cases relating to divorce and custody litigation. From all appearances, the situation is no better in any of the other provinces. That is caused directly by the Family Courts.
As in your case, the primary objective of the "claimant" is to establish possession of the assets, including the secure source of an income for many years to come: the children. Any imaginable means are applied to achieve that goal; all in attempts, usually successful -- as you well know -- to establish the "status quo" upon which all else follows.
As a rule, the very first hearing in Family Court will cast the status quo in stone. Perjury is a common tool used to achieve that goal, along with false abuse allegations of all kinds. The lies don't matter. What matters is that they work well. They can be uttered without fear of punishment, because, for the sake of an abbreviated process, the rules of evidence have been discarded in Family Court. The relaxed or, better, non-existent standards for rules of evidence in Family Court encourage the making of false statements.
Lawyers, and paralegals in battered-women's shelters alike, call false abuse allegations "The Silver Bullet," simply because they always get the demonized man. It is not for nothing that lawyers speak of the Family Court as "the kangaroo court."
As frustrating as it may sound, the reality is that for many men there is no justice in the Family Court. As far as I know, neither in the Family Courts of Alberta nor anywhere else has a demonstrated perjury ever resulted in an indictment, let alone conviction, or, Heaven forbid, sentencing of the woman who perpetrated it. That is rarely less so in the Court of Queen's Bench in Edmonton. In only one case of a father that we know about did the perjury of his ex-wife result in her conviction for that crime and caused her to suffer token incarceration. Justice Trussler put a publication ban on the case "in the best interest of the children." The father went bankrupt twice in the process of obtaining that conviction -- after he was reduced to representing himself in Court because he had no funding left for providing lawyers with an income any longer in a series of over thirty hearings pertaining to basically nothing more than an attempt to have an access order enforced.
Women are a protected species, to be guarded against the depredations of brutish men; at all costs! So what?! It'll only be men who must pay the price. Men are expendable. They always were, throughout all of history, but now they have also been discredited as parents because they can't ever be mothers. The children of course will pay too, because the majority of these children of divorce will grow up fatherless.
Children need fathers! Thirty years of escalating social and economic devastation of our society should have been sufficient to teach us that, but, in a society that deliberately dumbs down our children through inane, unproductive and feminist-inspired educational practices, it is extremely unlikely that a sufficient number of people will will understand and be concerned enough to cause changes for the better. That is all the more so in a society in which all sectors of the bureaucracy have by now been put under the domination of redfems and their sympathizers.
Ultimately, in consequence of that, all of society pays the price for the destruction of our families, but that is another story.
The irony of it all is that the burgeoning divorce industry is reflected positively in Canada's GDP figures, so, according to the books, the more people make their living from divorces, the more we are better off, even though nothing is produced that can be consumed by anyone. The costs of "no-fault" divorce litigation (in which everyone strives to establish fault) and its consequences are driving our society into social and financial chaos. Along with that come constantly escalating levels of taxation to alleviate these problems, ostensibly in attempts to prevent economic collapse. In reality, our increasing taxes are causing the collapse of our economy.
A society without a sufficient number of functioning families does not work, both figuratively and literally! For far too many people, the entitlement to support made available by the government, either through social transfer payments or through child support payments enforced by the government, proves to be a disincentive to obtain full employment. The enforcement of child support payments no doubt drives many fathers who are expunged from their families and rarely or never see their children to despair. These fathers are more easily unemployed, underemployed or join the underground economy at any opportunity. Many of them crack under the stress and kill themselves or others, or both.
Index to some of the testimony given at the Consultation Committee Hearings