Equal Parenting and Proposed Divorce Act Amendments

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Men’s Educational Support Association (MESA)
Calgary, Alberta
May 28, 2018
The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau
Prime Minister of Canada
The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould
Minister of Justice​​

Please allow me to congratulate you for your efforts to amend the Divorce Act (R.S.C., 1985). Your action succeeded many genuine unsuccessful attempts to bring equality of parenting and fairness to the Divorce Act that is overdue for a major overhaul.

If Equal Parenting Isn’t Chosen Are Children Better Off?
The majority of Canadian fathers including the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, mothers and grandparents desire to have Equal Parenting to play a central role in the process of the amendments to the Divorce Act. Due to raising of awareness about divorce issues and the negative impact on almost every member in the nation; individual attitudes have been changing to support a more balanced and equitable distribution of parental equality and responsibilities, with a large number of law makers providing full support for the concept of Equal Parenting.​

MESA’s Role
We at MESA provide support and information to parents who experience a domestic crisis. Our observations for the past two decades indicate a major shift in attitudes of parents and a judiciary leaning to ease their rigidity in awarding of custody to fathers. We also observed that a large number of mothers are placed on supervised access by court orders.

The Prime Minister of Canada Support of Equal Parenting is at Odds With the Minister of Justice Omission
The Prime Minister of Canada support for Equal Parenting as evidenced by the following transcribed excerpts:​​

Right Hon. Justin Trudeau (Papineau)
2018-03-28 14:29 [p.18230]
Mr. Speaker, with budget 2018, we are taking the next steps toward building an equal, competitive, sustainable, and fair Canada.
Our budget plan means that we can continue to invest in ways that will strengthen and grow the middle class and lay a more solid foundation for our children’s future. By addressing the gender wage gap, supporting equal parenting, and introducing a new women entrepreneurship strategy, we are making important progress toward equality. This is a budget Canadians can be proud of.
Video Link of the Statement on Equal Parenting: https://youtu.be/zlKhsqJhLL0

Equal Parenting and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms “The Charter” guarantees equality before and under the law and equal protection and benefit of the law, “The Charter” under affirmative action programs does not preclude any law program or activity relating to disadvantaged individuals or groups.

Presumptive Equality of Parenting after separation or divorce is and should be at the heart of the Divorce Act when considering the proposed amendments.

Parents, regardless of their gender, in intact families are not considered a disadvantaged individual or groups, this designation extends to and when the parents separate or divorce. To depart from the fundamental principles of equality in this case, Equality of Parenting becomes an affront to our values and our families.

One Size Fits All
Canada is made up of the Provinces and Territories that are not of the same size but have different qualities and contribute to Canada according to their abilities. Provinces and Territories may disagree and fight among each other about many competing factors but they remain not only presumptive but always equal in upholding Canada.

Presumptive equality is a size that fits all Canadians; one example is Equal Parenting, otherwise, we descend into anarchy and disrespect to each other. There are numerous examples in the world about inequality and its effects on individuals, cultures and societies.

Non Equality in Parenting is the destructive force behind most parents’ fights in courts and outside courts; of course, this fight is also fuelled by financial gains as a result of who is to ascertain the decision making authority over the child.

Misinformation about Father’s and Men’s Groups
Presumptive Equal Parenting as presented by Father’s and Men’s groups is a principle of our Canadian values, not to be confused with “Equally Shared Time” as a scarecrow to women’s groups.

“Equal Parenting” is not a rigid interpretation meaning 50/50 time with a child; this is up to each individual parent to apportion the “parenting time” each according to their abilities and availability.

Studies and Reports in Favor of Equal Parenting
There are many studies and reports to enshrine and recommend Equal Parenting as the best available option to raise children after separation or divorce. One of those reports is: “For the Sake of the Children” Report that included 48 recommendations, was commissioned by the Canadian Government in December 1998 due to the work of the Special Joint Committee on Child Custody and Access.

A review of the proposed amendments to the Divorce Act indicates that some of the recommendations of the “For the Sake of the Children” Report are included or taken into consideration, however, the main recommendation No. 5 and 6 that calls for “Shared Parenting” which is at the heart of the changes is ignored in its totality.

The Best Interest of the Child test is well defined in the Report’s recommendation No. 16, detailed by 14 different and encompassing factors, but its done in conjunction with the principle of Equal Parenting or as described in the report as “Shared Parenting”.

Tweaking of the words from “Custody” or “Access” to “Parenting Order” or “Contact” in and by itself would not put to an end to the parent’s hostilities to defeat each other in court, and an appearance before a Dispute Resolution Officer can not eliminate this view. The terminology of Parenting Order or Contact is intertwined with the principle of Equal Parenting as without it the proposed amendments if enacted are hollow and will prove to be fatal to the Divorce Act.​

Mediation and Bargaining in the Shadow of the Law
While trying to keep feuding parents outside the court through the process of mediation and Dispute Resolution is a step in the right direction, this step can not succeed without a presumption of Equal Parenting, and bargaining in the shadow of the law would only produce the same results of winners and losers regardless of the terminology used, if and when equality is eliminated from the formula of the Divorce Act.

False Allegations to Thrive if Family Violence Definition is Expanded
Introducing family violence elements as proposed “any conduct whether or not the conduct constitute a criminal offence” will make the job of a Dispute Resolution Officer to resolve the dispute prior to an appearance before a judge next to impossible due to the factors relating to family violence that you are proposing will breed unprecedented false allegation by spouses against each other in order to gain control over the child. False accusations will reach their highest levels undertaken with impunity to the accuser if there are no proper safeguards to prosecute the offending accuser of this destructive phenomenon.

Males are equally abused as Females
There is a well known proverb called “Be Careful What You Wish For”, as it may surprise you to find out that fathers and men are abused by their female spouse not only at almost equal rates but it could be a lot higher than that of women claiming abuse, this is due to men abstaining from reporting abuse as opposed to women.

While divorce cases may involve a rate of about 3-5% family violence matters, this rate contradicts with the propaganda spread by Family Violence advocates that the majority of divorce cases are plugged by family violence against women.

Transfer of Wealth Disguised as Child Support
Concentrating on strengthening the child support collection mechanism to include access to confidential information is a misguided step, it is aim as indicated is to help single poor mothers, this is a poor policy that ignores parents, mostly fathers ability to care for the child, instead, this policy gives emphasis to the transfer of wealth from fathers or men to support mothers or women who usually turn to government for protection and support.

Equal Parenting an Opportunity to Share Child Care
What if women and women’s groups disregarded their fears and opposition to Equal Parenting and willingly share with fathers a chance to care for a child, would this not help those women to liberate themselves from the binding child care and give them time to better themselves financially by becoming a full contributing member of the labor force, rather than to claim poverty? There are a large number of mothers, who want to be liberated from the traditional role of the primary child nurturer and share this task with fathers. They just need the proper direction and education from responsible legislators, and Government agencies to achieve this transition.

Invest In Fathers Not Child Support
Father involvement is an underutilized resource in the family in the same way that female involvement has been an underutilized resource in the workplace; this situation provides you with an opportunity to put emphasis on involving fathers in the family rather than to concentrate on collecting child support.​

You Can Not Hear What We Do Not Say
Ms. Wilson-Raybould we do have a crisis in Canada it is called The Boy Crisis; boys who are deprived from dads, this crisis extends to girls who are also dad deprived.

Dad depravation after divorce is a serious problem it entails negativity about fathers and feelings that a dad who is available purposely not making himself available, is incompetent and unreliable.

Dad depravation is affecting every aspect of our lives, from school achievement, to school dropouts, school shootings, employment, suicide, drugs, homelessness, bullying, victimization, violent crime, rape, poverty, trust and empathy.

Communication and understanding each other can and will resolve many of those issues.
On behalf of fathers and parents in general I plead with you to reconsider your omission and introduce the Equal Parenting concept into the Divorce Act to safeguard the future of Canadians, and maintain a healthy and prosperous society.

Thank you,
Yours very truly
Gus Sleiman
President, Men’s Educational Support Association (MESA)
(403) 228-6366