Wednesday, September 19, 2001

Kids want say in divorce, PM told

By Tanya Enberg

Clayton Giles spent most of his summer doing what many other 14-year-olds could only dream of - riding his bicycle.

Disgruntled by years of watching his parents going through their divorce, the Alberta teenager decided to take a message on the road - asking courts and politicians to recognize the voice of children in divorce proceedings.

The teenagerlearned quickly that he and his younger sister didn't have any say in the custody battler after his parents divorced in 1992. Gile's cross-border bicycle campaign, called Journey for Kids, officially closed yesterday with a meeting in Ottawa with Prime Minister Jean Chretien.

During his three-month journey, Giles collected signatures from supporters in Calgary, the U.S. and finally in Toronto.

"Kids are standing up and saying "I want to be listened to," he said from Toronto last week before his meeting with Chretien.

While children are kept silent, the courts listen to their "mothers, fathers, lawyers and judges...I am hoping the prime minister will be able to see this from a kid's point of view," he said.