Private Member's Bill Would Erode Women's Rights

By Cross, Pamela | Herizons, Fall 2009 | Go to article overview

Private Member's Bill Would Erode Women's Rights


Cross, Pamela, Herizons


In June, Conservative MP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskawin) introduced Bill C422, a private member's bill which, if passed, would significantly change the custody and access provisions of the Divorce Act. The proposed changes would remove the concepts of custody and access and replace them with a legal presumption in favour of equal parenting.

Canadian women's equality groups, including the National Association of Women and the Law and the Feminist Alliance for International Action, believe Bill C-422 would have a serious and negative impact on the safety and well-being of women and children post-separation. The bill does not reflect the realities of many Canadian families.

Children benefit from ongoing contact with both parents when it is based on a genuine interest in the child, but not when it is motivated by the desire to maintain power and control post-separation, as is often the case when the pre-separation relationship has involved woman abuse.

Bill C-422 does not acknowledge the seriousness of violence against women within the family. The critieria it proposes for the "best interests of the child test" focus on preventing "parental alienation" and only mention family violence as a secondary consideration - and then only if it is committed in the presence of the child.

BACKGROUND

Fathers' rights lobbyists began to call for a presumption of joint custody when Canada's child support guidelines were introduced in 1997. These guidelines streamlined the amount of child support to be paid to the custodial parent (usually to the mother) according to the incomes of the non-custodial parent (usually the father). The guidelines allow for a lower amount of child support to be paid if the children spend at least 40 per cent of their time with each parent.

In response to pressure from fathers' rights lobbyists, then minister of justice Alan Rock established a Special Joint Committee on Child Custody and Access, which included representatives from both the House of Commons and the Senate, where fathers' rights groups received considerable support. The committee held hearings that frequently featured open hostility towards representatives of women's organizations, and where violence against women and child sexual abuse were routinely dismissed as not being critical issues in custody law. Fathers' rights groups argued that family courts discriminated against fathers by systematically granting custody to mothers.

And yet, in 2006, 44 percent of custody cases that went to court resulted in orders for joint custody - more than double the rate in the mid-1990s and four times the rate in the late 1980s. In other words, even without legislation spelling out a mandatory shared-parenting regime, courts are making such determinations in nearly half the cases that come before them.

The Joint Committee's 1998 report, For the Sake of the Children, wentonto recommend a presumption in favour of shared parenting and outlined a test to determine the best interests of the child, which ignored violence within the family and focussed on parents' commitment to maximizing contact between the child and both parents. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Private Member's Bill Would Erode Women's Rights
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.