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For Immediate Release - Canada, Thursday, August 15, 2002

Children of divorce are still losers, proposed limited changes to Divorce Act fail to provide equality of parenting and to address bias of legal system.

Joint Press Release of Equal Parenting Supporters in Canada.

Equal Parenting Supporters in Canada are deeply disappointed that the Minister of Justice Mr. Martin Cauchon remains unwilling to listen to the will of Canadians to implement the equal shared parenting concept into the Divorce Act and to act on the recommendations of the Report "For the Sake of the Children."

The proposed elimination of "custody" and "access" from the Divorce Act is a minuscule change that completely fails to address the genuine needs of Canadian children to be assured of meaningful time with both parents as well as their grandparents and extended families following Divorce.

Canadians say that the courts are biased in favour of mothers when deciding where children are placed after a divorce, and how little access fathers are awarded.

For years, we have repeatedly tried to inform the government, as individuals and as groups, in public consultations and by writings, of the horrible damage done by a policy of depriving children of one parent in virtually every divorce. The government does not listen. The government does not act for the good.

Mr. James Hodgins chairman of the Committee for Fairness in Family Law says:

"The majority of Canadians believe that both mothers and fathers should continue to enjoy the same equal parenting responsibilities they have during marriage. Equal parenting ensures both parents are able to adjust to new parenting arrangements, and children receive the maximum support."

Mr. Eric Tarkington moderator of EPOC_NEWS says:

"Eliminating custody and access language from the Divorce Act will do precisely nothing to alleviate the suffering of countless thousands of Canadian children. We see clearly that Mr. Cauchon is trying to use a notion of "parental responsibility" to suppress consideration of the real needs of children and the indispensable rights of all parents."

Mr. Gus Sleiman president of the Men's Educational Support Association (MESA) says:

"Fathers deserve to be provided with equal opportunity to be able to provide their children with unconditional love and support especially after separation or divorce. The government should be supportive of the role of fathers in the life of their children by providing them with equality under the fundamental principles of our laws and protection of their human rights."

Ms. Yvonne Choquette founder of Mothers For Kids says:

"The government needs to realize that the past 40 years of government "de-parenting" of father or mother from a child's life is wrong and must be addressed.Tweaking the terminology without addressing the principles of government involvement is likely a strategy for cover up of the wrongs they have perpetrated on the children and families of divorce."

Mr. Martin d'Ajou of Entraide Pères-Enfants Séparés, Québec says:

"Le terme "responsabilité parentale" doit être absolument rejeté et nous croyons que le terme "parentalité égale" est beaucoup simple à définir: partage égal du temps passé entre les parents et les enfants, et partage en conséquence des coûts réels basé sur un budget négocié entre les parents, tout comme cela se fait dans les familles unies. De plus, en écartant les tribunaux et les avocats des séparations et des divorces et en facilitant la négociation, la réconcilliation et l'égalité, la majorité des familles se porteront mieux financièrement et émotivement. Les familles unies sont le noyau de la société."

Mr. David Osterman vice president of Fathers Are Capable Too (FACT) says:

"It appears that Mr. Cauchon will not even consider equality (shared parenting) as an option. Parenting is the most important job of our lives; yet fathers routinely face discrimination by the Canadian Justice system in retaining this most important of jobs. Children need the care and support of both parents."

Mr. Bill Flores founder of the Children's Voice says:

"Separating or divorcing families need society's help and a system that will guaranty children of equal, permanent and meaningful relationships with each of their parents. Mr. Cauchon proposed changes do little towards that end since it does not dismantle the adversarial system that rips parents off money that belongs to their children."

We urge Mr. Cauchon and the Government of Canada to make balanced changes to the Divorce Act that will introduce equal shared parenting as the presumption following separation, then it is up to the parents to apportion parenting time between each other. Children can then be assured that both of their parents are available and responsible to support their growth and development.

Equal Parenting Supporters in Canada is a group of organizations and individuals joined together to call on the Minister of Justice of the Government of Canada to provide Canadian parents with equality of parenting after separation or divorce.

List of organizations and contacts:

  • L'Après-rupture, ateliers pour les liens père-enfants, Quebec, Gilbert Claes (866) 624-7272
  • Fathers for Equality, Victoria B.C., Keith Harris (250) 652-3205
  • Parent and Child Advocacy Coalition, Prince George, B.C., Todd Eckert (250) 554-1418
  • Parents of Broken Families, Kamloops, B.C., Mickey MacMillan (250) 374-3370
  • Mothers For Kids, Toronto, Yvonne Choquette (416)580-5442
  • Equal Parents of Canada News, Toronto, Eric Tarkington (416) 636-0772
  • Human Equality Action and Resource Team, Toronto, Butch Windsor (416) 698-3655
  • FatherCraft Canada, Ottawa, Glenn Cheriton (613) 260-2659
  • Committee for Fairness in Family Law, Toronto, James Hodgins (416)721-3913
  • Men's Educational Support Association (MESA), Calgary, (403) 228-6366, Gus Sleiman (403) 541-1788
  • Freedom For Kids, Toronto, Nick Kovats (416) 990-2595
  • The Children's Voice, Toronto, Bill Flores (905) 829-3639
  • Entraide Pères-Enfants Séparés de l'Outaouais Gatineau, Québec, Martin d'Ajou
  • The Equitable Child Maintenance and Access Society, (ECMAS) Edmonton, Bob Bouvier (780) 468-6328
  • Grandparents Unlimited ,Edmonton, Elsie Cable (780) 454-8408
  • Fathers are Capable Too, Parenting Association (FACT), Toronto, David Osterman (416) 622-3450
  • Walter Fox, LL.B, Lawyer in Toronto, (416) 363-9238
  • Saskatchewan Coalition Against Family Violence, Saskatchewan, George Seitz (306) 584-8021
  • Parents' Coalition of B.C. Hal Legere (604) 417-4045
  • Association To Reunite Grandparents & Families, Ontario, Betty Cornelius (613) 474-0035
  • The New Brunswick Children's Equal Parenting Association, Saint John, NB, Edward Hoyt (506)674-0980
  • Alberta Federation Of Women United For Families (AFWUF), Calgary, Hermina Dykxhoorn (403) 228-2190
  • Equal Parenting Group Society, North Vancouver, B.C., Manfred Weber (604) 874-0060
  • Conseil pour la Condition Masculine - Canada , Dorval, Québec, William Levy (514) 591-5553

Note: Additional supporters to this document that were not able to provide their approval at the time of this release will be added at the following site; The press release will be available on the News&Announcemenst page of MESA's web site: www.mesacanada.com