This is a 45-minute video of the always excellent Barbara Kay giving a speech to the Canadian Association for Equality. It’s well worth watching for all the reasons that Kay’s columns are worth reading. She knows her facts and has the largeness of spirit necessary to see past the anti-father bias that’s so common in public discourse, popular culture, the news media and or course, family courts. Kay sees clearly and isn’t afraid to call things by their right names.
Plus, she provides information not all of us know. For example, we do know that, in Canada, 90% of child custody goes to mothers. That’s been true for decades and it continues to be true despite all the social science showing it to be harmful to kids. But what we don’t all know is that, in 1997, a special committee was convened to advise the government on the issue of child welfare post-divorce or separation. The report, entitled “For the Sake of the Children,” zeroed in on a single theme: “the sole custody adversarial system as it pertains to the majority of custody and access disputes denies children and non-custodial parents basic human rights, putting children’s emotional and psychological health at risk.” The report went on to recommend establishing in law a presumption of equal parenting, where no issues of safety were raised, as best for children.
Such was and is the best understanding of how the family law system can most effectively promote children’s best interests. As I’ve mentioned before, and as Kay does, poll after poll show that Canadians overwhelmingly support equal parenting.
But successive governments, both Liberal and Conservative, do not. As we all know, continuing efforts to make a presumption of equal parenting the law of the land have utterly failed. That’s despite the fact that equal parenting is one of the planks in the platform of the Conservative Party.
Despite social science, despite the recommendations of the hand-picked committee, Canadian family courts go their merry way, handing custody to mothers and cutting fathers out of their children’s lives, to the detriment of all. And in every case it’s done while waving the banner of “the best interests of the child.”
The institutional disgrace that are the family courts of Canada continues in spite of everything. Barbara Kay still fights the good fight.