National Post

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Thursday, May 13, 1999


National Post


Re: Minister Blind to Family Law Mess, May 11.

After years of ignoring custody and access issues while dealing with support issues, another two years of waiting for the joint committee to be struck, hold hearings, make a report and wait for an official response, Anne McLellan, the Minister of Justice, now proposes three more years of consultations followed by an inevitable election, revamping of legislative priorities, legislative drafting, more committees, hearings . . . easily five more years -- we now contemplate eight or more years of continued government inaction over custody and access issues.

While that eight years may be the mere blink of an eye in the bowels of the justice bureaucracy, it is forever in a child's life.The minister would do better to focus on getting key recommendations into law and thereby set the example for other jurisdictions. Let's leave the fine tuning and jurisdictional juggling for later and do what we can now for the children who are hurting today.

George Haeh, Toronto.


There are many dedicated parents, lawyers and judges working for children's best interests without gender biased presumptions -- including the unsupported presumption that children function well moving between two households and their time should therefore be split fifty-fifty. Some children can function in that arrangement -- many cannot. Fifty-fifty time sharing is designed to serve parents' rights and convenience above the best interests of children. Add the grandparents' rights advocates to the mix and the child could be split four ways.

Dramatic reforms to the Divorce Act require careful consideration, consultation, drafting and, yes, federal/provincial co-operation. This is not a "feminist lobbying" issue -- it is age appropriate parenting, day-in and day-out.

Lynn Reierson, Halifax.

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