National Post

July 21, 2001

Ms. McLellan

Letters to the editor from Brian Jenkins and Gary Hudson

With all due respect to Minister McLellan, I believe she is mistaken about the nature of her consultation. Firstly, people attended only by invitation, and invitations were limited to certain groups. Secondly, in Toronto, the non-governmental consultant and the observer from the provincial government made it quite clear that that session was a straight federal Department of Justice forum. The discussion at the consultation process, as with the consultation booklet, flowed people through a narrowly defined and quite directed set of questions that had presumed answers and often one-sided and not necessarily valid statistics.

Brian Jenkins, Mississauga, Ont.

Re: The Minister is in Charge, July 20.

Justice Minister Anne McLellan's letter to the editor in response to the criticisms of Senator Anne Cools and MP Roger Gallaway is outrageous and deserves a rebuttal. Rather than deal with the complaint that the Minister herself should be attending the hearings regarding child custody, she dismisses their valid comments by saying Ms. Cools and Mr. Gallaway asserted that consultations were not necessary. They said no such thing, but rather that the consultations were rendered virtually meaningless since the Minister did not deign to attend any of the meetings to hear comments from real people.

The Minister chose, instead, to send some of her staff to these consultations. These staff members get their expense accounts approved by the Minister, their performance reviews are done by the Minister, and their very future in government is at the pleasure of the Minister. These staff members know the position of Ms. McLellan on every detail and nuance of divorce and custody matters. No matter how honest and conscientious they may try to be, their report will be coloured by her views. At the end of the consultation, they will give a report to the Minister that says there is no problem with the existing system that a little minor tinkering can't resolve. Canada deserves better.

Gary Hudson, Calgary

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