Procedural and research problems with Justice Canada

Justice Canada staff show bias against fathers and an unprofessional attitude. Examples:

Sonny Burmeister of Georgia presented the U.S. Commission on Child and Family Welfare with a report, Child Support Is Not The Issue, and Poverty Is Not The Problem. This report challenged the Commission with an interesting analysis that States with higher child support and welfare payments actually ranked lower among States in assessment of child well-being. The states and communities with higher rates of father involvement had much higher rates of child health and well-being. The same report to the US government has Lenore Weitzman admitting that her book and research was discredited and her conclusions untenable. The Supreme Court of Canada cited the Weitzman research in the Thibaudeau case to conclude that fathers standard of living often rises and mothers declines and thus that custodial mothers were disadvantaged (and men advantaged). The Finnie, Gilliberti report of Justice Canada shows that overall, standards of living declined for both parties and that, in the critical under $15,000 income level, the non-custodial parent standard of living was, in all cases, lower. Has Justice Canada mis-led the Supreme Court by accepting a discredited US study rather than its own Canadian data?

"Parenting Our Children: In the Best Interest of the Nation," Sept. 1996, majority report, U.S. Commission on Child and Family Welfare, reports recommend more of the same politicized, harsh, failed approaches to the US welfare system that failed in the past, in particular, jailing fathers who are unable to pay support and refusing welfare to families unless they forced the father from the home. However, a minority report suggests that fathers be included as parents in solutions to children's needs, and not just as financial contributors. It reports that in every state where support guidelines have been implemented, the amounts awarded on average to women are higher than the amounts the state pays for foster care and, the amounts paid to custodial dads are much less than half of that of foster care. The logic appears to be that if a child in a foster home needs one bed, a child in a single mother home needs two to three beds and a child in a single father home needs 1/4 bed. Ditto for dinner.

We recommend that the Federal government establish a commission on Child Poverty and Family Welfare, with equal funding for three sides:

  1. Government (Federal/Provincial /Municipal) involvement.
  2. The Feminist/Women's Lobby.
  3. The Co-parenting/Intact Family/Father Lobby.

The mandate should be to seek methods of reducing child poverty.

C-41 is being passed separate from the tax implications so that the federal government is guilty of exactly what judges have been accused of: setting child support without including the tax implications. If the tax bill does not pass, the child support will be substantially lowered in many cases, possibly even as an average. If the tax bill passes, C-41 will require of the support-paying parent in some cases, amounts greater than that left, after taxes and personal exemptions. This is a discriminatory burden which could attract the attention of section 15(1) of the Charter.

In the case of Thibaudeau v. Canada, McLachlin J. analyzes that custodial mothers have the "burden" of being the custodial parent because of their "immutable characteristics" rather than merit. L'Heureux-Dubé agrees with this, putting mothers' custody wins closer to "immutable characteristics than "merit". Cory and Iacobucci agreed with McLachlin's analysis. Therefore the Supreme Court appears to be saying that Family Court judges preferentially award women custody based on gender, rather than merit. This is prima facie evidence of systemic prejudice in the family court system which, in the view of non-custodial parents, imposes a burden of support payments and denies the benefit of income necessary to remain a parent to the children.
The Supreme Court appears to conclude that children's living standard is inseparably connected to the custodial parent's condition and that for women, this is disadvantage. Thus, children are disadvantaged by custodial mothers winning custody, not by "merit" but court bias in favour of women's "immutable characteristics." If "best interests of the child" and "merit" are co-incident, then Family Court judges are violating legislative requirements through blatant, illegal prejudice. It is the responsibility of Justice Canada to rectify this violation of the Charter and the dereliction of duty of the judges.

As in the Thibaudeau case, Justice Canada has biased the process in producing Bill C-41, to exclude consultation with NCPs and extended family groups until too late to affect decision-making.

In many cases it appears that fathers seek joint custody and this is refused by judges. Much evidence shows that children benefit from continued contact with both parents. In fact there is evidence that loss of a parent is a threat to the child's mental and physical health. Yet many Family Court judges threaten the continued contact of one parent with the child. This may occur as follows:

According to Justice Canada, threatening harm to a person's children is stalking. Therefore the conduct of Family Court judges in threatening parents with loss of parenting on actions not related to the child is a form of stalking. Judges who threaten parents should be charged and removed from the bench.

Report prepared by
Single Fathers' Network and FatherCraft Canada,
73 Eccles Street, Ottawa K1R 6S5
Tel: (613) 238-3208 Fax: (613)238-3491