Thursday, January 14, 1999Regina man challenges custody law
A Regina man has complained to the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission that a provincial law discriminates against divorced parents who don't have custody of their children.
Randy Liberet, a divorced 39-year-old whose former wife won custody of the couple's three children in 1997, says a section of Saskatchewan's Children's Law Act violates human rights. The law states that, unless a court orders otherwise, parents without custody have no right to make or have input on decisions affecting their children.
"It's an anachronistic law that needs to be changed," Mr. Liberet said yesterday.
"Some guy on the street corner has as much decision-making authority as a non-custodial parent. You should have the right to make decisions that affect your kids' welfare, whether it's medical issues, or education or anything else."
Mr. Liberet's quest to have the statute changed began in December, when a Regina doctor refused to discuss the condition of his five-year-old daughter, Amber, who had a sore throat.
"The doctor said that my ex-wife was the only one he could give medical information to and that I had no legal rights," Mr. Liberet said.
"I felt hurt, I felt offended and I felt that my child's health could be compromised. Amber was under my care for eight days and I felt I should have the diagnosis and prognosis."
Mr. Liberet soon discovered that, under another Saskatchewan law, the doctor was in fact compelled to discuss Amber's condition. The doctor has since offered Mr. Liberet the information, according to Saskatchewan's College of Physicians of Surgeons, which also wrote Mr. Liberet an apology.
A Saskatchewan Justice Department spokesperson wouldn't comment about Mr. Liberet's complaint, but said all provincial legislation relating to custody and access matters is under review.
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