Children are better off with both parents there
The Daily News
Published: Thursday, August 20, 2009
Re: ‘Children’s interests first priority in divorce, says justice minister’ (Daily News, Aug. 18)
I read your article about our federal justice minister making comments to the Canadian Bar Association meeting in Dublin, Ireland.
Rob Nicholson is either being misquoted or appears to have little understanding of the legal effects of the divorce process.
It is not about the best interests of children versus fathering rights. It is in the best interests of children to have both parents in their lives, both father and mother. This fact has been adequately researched and documented for years.
Children perform better in all areas of their lives when they have a mother and father present in their upbringing. This is not to say that single-parent families are deficient, simply a statement about the ideal situation.
MP Maurice Vellacott’s Bill C-422 to entrench equal parenting in the Divorce Act is simply to make changes that Canadian society has overwhelmingly supported by 80-90% in numerous opinion polls since the early 1990s.
This bill does not reduce protection for children, but clarifies what the best interests of children are and that equal parenting needs to be the starting point unless other factors are existing. These other factors could be practical considerations such as work schedules, or the necessity of protecting “the child from physical and psychological harm through abuse, neglect or alienation of parental affection.”
This bill specifically directs judges to take these considerations into account. Kelowna lawyer Meg Shaw was way off the mark when she suggested that this bill would somehow diminish the protection children might receive when required. In fact, it would have the opposite effect.
Federal justice ministers for many years have been quoted as dismissing parental rights as either nonexistent or minimal (re: Martin Cauchon’s oft repeated 2002 statement of “Parents have responsibilities, they don’t have rights”). Putting the best interests of the child is not in any way in conflict with parents having rights and responsibilities. We all know that having responsibilities entails having the power to perform them, thus the necessity for parental rights.
Theo J. Boere
Nanaimo Men’s Resource Centre