Quebec dad, sued by daughter after grounding, loses his appeal

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martin dufresne

My letter to Irwin Block, the Montreal Gazette journalist who penned the article hyperlinked above by Unionist:


Mr. Block,  

I am glad that Judge Cadieux didn't buy the bridge blockers' line of argument.

But I was shocked that The Montreal Gazette could print a sentence such as "Leroux said outside the court he's been barred from visiting his 8-year-old daughter in the U.S. for the past six years because his estranged wife won a civil protection order after he failed to make child support payments."

Doesn't the grammar of this sentence, even as an attributed quote, tend to establish as fact a highly debatable assertion?

Getting slapped with a protection order simply because one isn't making child support payments? I don't think so.

I intuit that there must have been threats against the estranged wife - if not worse - that were taken into account by the judge who rendered that order of protection. 

Leroux doesn't have to volunteer that information, of course, but The Gazette should not give that much credibility to his biased account of the matter, even if the woman who won that order of protection isn't available or willing to complete the picture. 

It seems to me that a journalist who hasn't accessed the record of a judicial decision ought not to let himself be used to convey a partial, misleading version of it simply because - in this case - the woman who obtained a protection order may demur from antagonizing her abuser further by justifying the decision to the meda in an attempt to counter his self-serving accounting of the decision. I think such a criterion ought to be standard practice whenever people try to use the media to establish as fact their version of a contested issue where an evidence-based decision has been rendered. 

What do you think? Am I being overly sensitive here?  

Thanks for your attention to this matter.  

Martin Dufresne


Link doesn't work, Laura.

And Martin, while you're likely right about the journalist's quoting just one side of the story, I'm impressed (as always) at how you manage to "fill in" the other side of the story...


martin dufresne

Michelle wrote: "But the case that this thread about isn't a narrative from a father's rights group.  It's a news story

(but are you taking into account how, through what channels a court case makes it to the front page?)
, and both the father's lawyer AND the child's lawyer were given space for their comments in it."
Now yes, but it started on very unequal terms. I have traced one of the original articles and I find the father's lawyer very clear about her politics:
"The man's lawyer, Kim Beaudoin, said the issue is about restoring paternal authority and should have been dismissed by Justice Suzanne Tessier, who told the girl Friday she could make the trip."
(The Ottawa Citizen -June 18, 2008)
A current development is that the father's lawyer is demanding that the Quebec law on coparental authority be dumped, simply because it required for the father and the mother to come to an agreement on the issue!

"L'avocate du père, Me Beaudoin, interprète la décision en affirmant que dorénavant, « c'est l'enfant qui mène dans la maison ». « Je fais appel aux politiciens. Je veux une intervention de la part des législateurs qui devraient modifier la loi 159 sur l'autorité parentale. », a-t-elle lancé au Droit, hier. (Cyberpresse)

martin dufresne

The judgment is available here (in French).

I learned a lot reading it and suggest it is read before we go on speculating about who is being excessive here. The facts in the case are significantly different from what we have been hearing from the father's lawyer.

A few points. It was established that the father "showed the child the door" after a spat on May 14, 2008 (five weeks before the field trip). The father has since refused to speak to his daughter until she "acknowledges his authority". She is thus de facto in her mother's custody/guardianship, and not by her own choosing. The fact that the mother is now the custodial parent, has asked that this be acknowledged, and is not meeting with opposition to that claim from the father seems to have decided the issue for the trial court when it ruled that the father should not be entitled to block the mid-June field trip from afar, the child having been sufficiently punished by having been kept from participating in an early June school dance show when Dad refused to give her back her costume!

remind remind's picture

Thanks martin, sheds a bit more light onto the situation eh, and hasty jumps to conclusion are apparently way off base.


That's interesting.  I can't read it myself, unfortunately.  But if that's true, and Martin isn't leaving any other details out, then yes, that changes things completely.  It also changes things if the parents had joint custody (the article seemed to indicate otherwise) and the father was not consulting the mother on issues he should have been. 

It's like it's a completely different story than the one reported in the article in the opening post, and as it turns out, Martin, you are absolutely right.

Don't crow too much, hey? :D



You know, I'm getting really peeved about this.  The article says that the child was living with her father (not her mother) when the father imposed the punishment.  The article goes on to say that the child "now lives with the mother" - they made it sound like the child was living with the father when all this happened, and then as a result of the court action, the child now lives with the mother.

It's true that I was wrong about this case, but I maintain that the reason I was wrong about it is because the article did not say that the child was living with the mother, or that the father kicked the child out weeks before this incident happened.  In fact, it stated the opposite, that the child was living with the father, and implied that the child moved in with the mother "now".

I was totally wrong about this, but it's because the news report fabricated a couple of crucial facts of the case!  Well, Martin, you're absolutely right about how the media has manipulated this story to demonize the mother in this case.  I'm appalled.  I'm also appalled that the child's lawyer didn't make the facts of the case more clear.

I'm thinking of writing to the CBC Ombudsman about this.  That is just plain sloppy and false reporting.

remind remind's picture

Perhaps the girl's lawyer did, but the media chose to ignore that as well?  And the parents had joint custody, as that has been stated from the beginning. I refuse to believe anything the media says, pretty much about everything, but especially in respect to women/girls, as it is quite obvious, and I have noted this before elsewhere here, that there is a very real movement afoot, that the media (and not just the news media) is also actioning, against women's rights and women in general. Buying into their version of anything should be cautioned against.

You have a right to be angry michelle.

Bookish Agrarian

Well I guess that the life lesson is that you really can't trust the mainstream media.  I didn't think I need to be taught that, but JHC I guess I really did. 

That's it from now on I am sticking to stories about alien abductions, Area 51 and which soap really does get my clothes the cleanest and how great the stock market will be for my future retirement needs.  At least I know most of that stuff is made up.

martin dufresne

Hey, of course, I left some other details out - the judgment runs for pages and I only glanced at it for a few minutes! But I didn't try to present a biased view. Try running it through an automated translation website before you write the CBC. You will get pathetic English, but most of the facts and analysis.

To get back to the bridge-blockers Gazette story, another sentence - the very last caught my eye:

"Dumas objected to introducing his previous convictions into the court record. He he is to make legal arguments on that issue and his sentence on May 5."

If we assume that there was good reason for Leroux to get slapped with a protection order and we have the other F4J spokesperson trying to keep his criminal record out of the picture, isn't it awesome that the Quebec fathers' rights movement cannot seem to find men without some kind of a criminal background to act as its spokespersons? Can we not envision that there may be very good reasons for some men to be kept from their children, not by vindictive mothers or traditional legisation as they are always railing, but by the courts?

"UK: Fathers rights campaigner jailed for abusing young child"


Michelle, before you go to the CBC ombudsman, you should know that even after reading the full text of the Court of Appeal and the original Superior Court (June 13, 2008) decisions, the facts are in dispute. What is clear is that she was living with her father until May 14, 2008. At that point, she left and went to live with her mother - according to her, because she was "shown the door" after a sharp exchange with her father's spouse - according to the father, because of penalties imposed on her. What is not clear from either account is exactly on which date the father decreed that the class trip was off, but it was clearly within a few days on either side of May 14.

I'm not sure what difference this unresolved detail makes. The father sounds ignorant to me (just because I personally don't adhere to the "ground 'em and punish 'em and they'll learn!!!" school for kids), and his court appeal seems purely selfish and vindictive when he says he doesn't want his daughter back until she accepts his "authority"! Seems to me a little something called unconditional love is lacking here, but I confess, it's not my family.

I'm trying to find someone not to blame in this situation, and I'm not there yet.


martin dufresne

Unionist: "What is not clear from either account is exactly on which date the father decreed that the class trip was off, but it was clearly within a few days on either side of May 14." Still, the question remains as to whether it was excessive for the mother to authorize the trip three weeks later, long after the daughter had moved in with her. The legal contest does rest on whether a non-caretaking parent can block such decisions by the caretaking parent.

Michelle: "I'm also appalled that the child's lawyer didn't make the facts of the case more clear." It seems to me that the party who goes to the media - or answers its questions, moving the litigated issue into that sphere - is usually the one with the weaker case. I also doubt whether the child's lawyer was mandated by her client to get into this arena by answering the father's charges. Women or children facing an angry man generally tend to avoid the limelight, hoping rather to simply get justice in the appropriate sphere, on evidentiary bases, and hope that the situation will wind down. Laura could provide more enlightened input about that. My letter to Irwin Block was to the effect of what protocol journalists should apply to these unequal playing field situations where one party gains by a certain amount of histrionics - if not outright mud-slinging - while the other just wants to stay out of the picture and see the harassment peter out.


Martin, I agree with you about the legal issue, but as you know (scroll up), my comment was only directed to Michelle's outrage about the "false" account of the CBC. I see no clear evidence that anything in that article was false, and since she couldn't read the French decisions, I just thought I'd clarify that point.

On that point, the original Superior Court decision is [url=


remind remind's picture

IMV any parent that has showed a  child the door has no say!


remind wrote:

IMV any parent that has showed a  child the door has no say!

I absolutely agree with you. Just note that this account is disputed, however, as I pointed out by reference to the Court's findings. And when the father's lawyer was interviewed in June 2008, she gave the following account:


The girl's parents are divorced, and after she had an alleged row with her stepmother, her father barred her from going on a school trip to mark the class's graduation from elementary school, the newspaper reported.

"When he said, 'OK, it's final. You're not going,' she smacked the door, left and went to live with her mother," the father's lawyer, Kim Beaudoin, told CBC News.

[url=][color=red]C... June 19, 2008[/color][/url]

I think it's risky to make conclusions of fact without knowing all the facts. What is clear, however, is that this father has an agenda which goes beyond (and IMO against) love and care for his child. The very fact of the appeal makes that clear.


remind remind's picture

Ya again that is the father's lawyer making statements, moreover you do not deprive children of a graduation trip when they have already been punished for said transgression, and rather meanly too.


I understand that point and I happen to agree about the punishment, as I've already stated in very clear terms. But it makes no sense to speculate about what happened when you (and I) weren't there. If you can't read the original decisions, then take my word for what they say (from the Court of Appeal decision):

14. Entre-temps, soit le 14 mai 2008, une sérieuse dispute avec X éclate alors qu'elle est chez l’appelant. L’appelant plaide qu'elle découle de punitions imposées à sa fille, alors que cette dernière dit s’être fait montrer la porte après un échange acerbe avec la conjointe de son père.

It's not just the lawyer making statements - she was just summarizing the affidavit of the father (who said the child left), while the daughter's account differed (she said she was "shown the door"). How can you possibly determine whom to believe - or whether it really makes any difference?

Again, my point was to Michelle - there are no lies in the CBC article. But that is truly an insignificant side issue in this whole story.


Bookish Agrarian

I know this is waaaaayy off topic, but we have never given a punishment without a follow up opportunity to make amends.  So in this case a reasonable parent would do something like ban the internet use.  If that failed then perhaps take away a special treat.  However, we would always give our children the chance to 'earn' that special treat back by doing extra chores, helping out at a charity event, letting their mother know their father is a better parent (kidding)- something that has meaning to them as being 'extra' and doing something postive to overcome a transgression.  Sometimes they get to choose the 'extra' and sometimes we have to help them come up with something.  The key is to never do this when either side is mad.  To date we have never had to actually take something away.  And if I do say so myself our kids are pretty responsible and not particularly fearful of talking to us about things that go wrong.  Well except for the time they broke our $1000 power washer trying to launch baseballs into the air.  In that case they had to pay us each $20 from the money they earn helping out at the market.  That money obviously didn't make a big dent in the repair bill, but it was meaningful on their level.

What this father did, even on the face of it, was never giving his daughter a chance to grow and learn

martin dufresne

I hear you Unionist. Part of the issue boiled down to conflicting statements about what happened.


After some more research to look into Michelle's feeling that the child's lawyer hadn't made the facts of the case more clear (it's not as if I had a life of my own, folks)... actually the National Post quoted the child's lawyer clearly enough - and with supporting opinion by another Montreal lawyer on June 19 or 20, 2008 (sorry no hyperlink, it's off their site, I had to hunt up quotes on RW blogs):


« ... while the case is raising some eyebrows, a tangled behind-the-scenes custody battle must be taken into account, said Montreal family law lawyer, Miriam Grassby.

"It's a very different situation than a child who might appear to not be be happy with the parent's decision and simply saying 'I'm going to go court and I'm going to get what I want," she said. "And if in fact it's been portrayed that way, it's not putting in its complex context.

While the girl's father has full legal custody, pending a further court decision, the girl has been living with her mother, Ms. Fortin said. But while Ms. Beaudoin says the girl went to live with her mother when her father forbade her from going on the trip, Ms. Fortin contends that she was "kicked out" of her father's house over family tensions. »


However, the Ottawa Citizen took no such precautions. In its alarmist June 19 account - "Court ruling on parental discipline stuns, raises questions of right to raise children - journalist Dan Butler did not speak to the daughter's lawyer or echo her statements or case in court. Instead, he quoted a number of experts, first and foremost one of the most aggressive fathers' rights lawyers in Canada, Parental Alienation Syndrome promoter Gene Colman, but without identifying him as such.


Check out Colman's name in the « Battered Moms Lose Custody » Hall of Shame website, by an article called : « Canadian Symposium on PAS teaching how to do custody change scam»  

I think this Ottawa Citizen story - and a similar broadside by Quebec journalist Yves Boisvert - is what really stoked the fire of patriarchalist reaction that gathered strength in FR and RW blogs and came to define mainstream media accounts of this continuing litigation.

The FR lobby is constantly pressing to have legislation changed to provide fathers with more authority and less obligations in post-separation situations. Such articles are, I think, part of that effort.

ETA: In retrospect, it seems to me that what happened is this: the girl asked the Court to take a decision in a coparental authority situation that was blocked because the father had cut off communication - with not only her but his coparent, the mother, and this way before the May 15 spat according to the decision. The Court ruled against the father's will in the field trip issue. Dad is now saying he is ready to go all the way to the Supreme Court. So it's really a contest between parental and judicial power, between private and public matters, with children's rights a criterion, as in the debate over spanking. No wonder the Right is so enthusiastically on his side!


"You know, it's easy to blame the lawyers in these types of cases. I always say that lawyers who practice in family law do not need to multiply proceedures and create all these problems they're accused of creating just to make as much money as possible.  Clients are willing to do that all on their own."

I agree. But what's behind all this?  Right now, the system is rigged so that people in my economic strata have obligations and entitlements that actually outstrip abilities to fully meet them.   The seeds of conflict are not sown in the lawyer's office, but in the legislature.  Legislatures dominated by, you guessed it, lawyers.  

When I went through my separation and divorce, my lawyer was like you.  And, he helped me deal with the anxiety I got every time my ex's lawyer poked and proded me.  Or so it seems to a person who isn't used to getting letters from lawyers.   And, I really don't know if my ex's lawyer was trying to provoke me into some bad response, or whether I was just paranoid.  Either way, that lawyer was just doing her best to represent my ex's interest, according to the laws, which she's supposed to do.  I have no animosity with either of them.

But, I sure as hell do with the system.

The system, particularly when there is a large disparity of income between the two spouses, is engineered to settle things by moving as much money around as possible, and to create as much personal anxiety as possible.  And that's because every time a largish sum is moved,  the banks get a slice (particularly when pension settlements have to be financed)  and, of course,  actuaries get to horn in on the deal.  (my lawyer's line item fee for figuring out my pension -- $25.00.  The Actuarial fee-- $525.00--- which has gone up substantially since) 

And, compared to others, my ex and I got through it all remarkably well.

Now, people are going back to court in droves because of things like spousal support, because it's determined as a fixed amount and not an easily adjusted percentage of income.


Individual lawyers don't have to goad people into costly disputes.  That dirty work is done for them at the legislative level.



martin dufresne

I have been researching divorce law reform for a few decades - based on a policy of looking closely at what antifeminists are doing - and I question the notion that legisation is driven by lawyers for personal interest. They are part of the picture, for sure, when it comes to spelling out the mechanics of coparenting, assets division and support obligations - when these are relevant issues. But the real pressure comes from pressure groups attempting to maintain entitlements for non-caretaking parents and from the occasional feminists and researchers who try to provide reality checks about the poverty and violence. They are the ones impacting on politicians all the time, fighting child support collection schemes, for instance, trying to get custody written out of the law (to gut child support). If you look at mandatory mediation, for instance, that has long been a Trojan horse for Father-Right folks in order to keep women away from lawyers and the courts, it was implemented by governments - more or less, between one jurisdiction or another - over and above the resistance of the lawyers' community.

martin dufresne

Toddsschneider, it would be nice if you changed that thread title, now that we have established how misleading it is. It could read, for example, "Quebec dad loses appeal to overturn Court decision lifting his daughter's grounding". This girl never sued her father and this is disinformation. 


I am more than willing to entertain the notion that my views are the product of bitterness, and they should be read through that screen.

However, we can say that legislators are reacting to this public pull or that, and I'd agree this happens.  But, the lobby that gets to tweek the legislation to the most profitable ends for them does that work at lunches, the summer barbeque circuit, and behind closed doors.

Has anyone ever sat down to craft family law legislation from a perspective of maintaining as much economic and emotional security-- not for the man, or the woman, or the children,  but for the family in crisis?

Not. On. Your. Nelly. 

The banks wouldn't stand for it.  Nor the actuaries.  Or, I will still maintain, the lawyers.


martin dufresne

Our judicial paradigm is mostly that of autonomous individuals and their individual rights. Upon family breakdown, this reference is especially dominant, as there aren't family interests per se anymore - unless of course one validates the primary caretaker and her or his childrem as the surviving family whose interests ought to be protected. But any move in that direction is uniformly denounced as anti-men by the antifeminist lobby which, yes, tireless works the business lunch and behind closed-doors meetings circuit. I don't like lawyers anymore than you do, Tommy, I am just attentive to who pays the piper.



And I remain attentative to qui bono.

martin dufresne

Doesn't "cui bono" (who profits?) point mostly to the people litigating against equalization payments between ex-spouses and acknowledgement of who does the primary caretaking and should therefore be entitled to child support and unimpeded authority? The latter seems to have been the crux of the Gatineau court, with the trial judge deciding that - the child having been sufficiently punished by having her school dance sabotaged - the now fully-caretaking parent was entitled to pay for and accompany that field trip, and the father going ballistic.

martin dufresne

From the "Canadian Children's Rights Council" website, a 2004 National Post editorial about where Canada still stands on divorce reform and what were self-interested fathers' lobbying position in a nutshell:

Right decision, wrong reasons

National Post Lead Editorial, A17 December 23, 2004

Irwin Cotler, the Justice Minister, announced on Tuesday that the federal government will hold off on reforming child custody laws. We can't say that's too much of a disappointment. If enacted, the expected changes would mostly have served to tilt the anti-father bias of Canada's family courts even further in favour of women.

First proposed by Mr. Colters predecessor, Martin Cauchon, the now-dormant bill would have scrapped existing provisions compelling the courts to grant "maximum contact" to both parents and severed the last remaining connections between payment of child support and access by fathers to their kids. Worse, it would have given judges the power to withhold all access to fathers with past histories of violent behaviour while permitting wives to raise allegations of abuse at divorce proceedings even if they had made no previous complaints of violence -- a recipe for false accusations in bids to win total custody. (...)


martin dufresne wrote:

Toddsschneider, it would be nice if you changed that thread title, now that we have established how misleading it is. It could read, for example, "Quebec dad loses appeal to overturn Court decision lifting his daughter's grounding". This girl never sued her father and this is disinformation. 

It's not my "disinformation" to correct.  I borrowed the thread title from the news headline, but merely added commas for grammatical clarity.  I usually quote headlines verbatim, to show that it's not my own words, nor do I necessarily endorse the point of view given.  Take it up with the CBC if you must.

martin dufresne


To the CBC

 Re: Your story and comments

I am concerned that we are seeing yet another hate-fest on this website - against a young woman, her lawyer and the trial judge - and that this extraordinary outpouring of anger is based on a totally inaccurate title by the CBC.

This young woman did NOT « sue » her father, as you wrote : her lawyer - assigned to her long before this spat because of a pathetic communications breakdown between her parents - asked the Court to arbitrate a sorry situation where the father was refusing to speak with her anymore, had thrown her out more than a month before a crucial field trip, had already sabotaged her school dance show by refusing to turn her over her costume and was about to impede the caretaking parent's authority by forbidding the school to let her authorize the field trip.

Such situations are unfortunately common when a parent is at another's throat, and it was quite appropriate for the trial judge to assess whether the child had been sufficiently punished.

But the key point is that in no way did she sue her father by exercising her right to escape this toxic standoff.

I hope that an editor will consider this mess and change the story title immediately, with appropriate apologies to the people who have been smeared because of your lack of professionalism.

This issue deserves a careful examination of the problems surrounding the exercise - and sometimes abuse - of parental authority by non-custodial parents, and the CBC is definitely not helping by muddying the water with a provocative, erroneous title.

The facts of this matter can be verified in the original Quebec superior Court judgment in this case, here :


Martin Dufresne

Laura Colella

I'm sorry, Martin, but you are the one spreading disinformation now.  Your accusations against the CBC seem a little extreme to me.  The lawyer had represented the child in the Court proceeding between her parents. It is not contested that when her father decided she wouldn't be able to go on the school trip, she called her lawyer.  Her lawyer tried to settle the matter and when it failed, she filed a motion in court.  Thus, the child did sue her father.  Also, for some reason, you've decided to believe the child story that her father threw her out of the home. The father says that she left. That point is in dispute. Unless you have evidence that her father threw her out, lets not presume.  I am going to say this though: if her father threw her out of the home, why would he go out of his way, until the Court of Appeal, to have his decision, or his parental authority, recognized. 

I'm sorry to see how this all developped into a big conspiracy about the big bad lawyers.  The lawyers are all in the legislature, and they, for some unidentified reason, decided to make the family law system horribly difficult to deal with.  And now that they see in what mess it is, they are all laughing in their big offices.  Thats exactly what they wanted.  The changes they made to the system in order to accelerate it? To facilitate child custody decisions? Ha! Ha! In fact, its just a front to hide their true intentions which is in fact to sabotage the system so that their pals, the litigation lawyers, could make a lot of money off of people who have none. Ha! Ha! It worked perfectly!!

You may not like lawyers, Martin, but they sure come in handy when you need them don't they?  I'll reiterate my point that lawyers, as a group, aren't to be blamed for the system's failure - uncontrolled emotions are, whether it be one of the parties who wants to fight out of principle, or out of ignorance, or out of hatred or revenge.  People like the members of F4J are the worst thing to make its way into to courts system.  They claim, perched on bridges, that the system is against fathers because they can't see their children, all the while forgetting to mention the little details, like the drugs they like to do while their children are in the other room, or the restraining orders they have because they terrorized their "families" into submission.  One of the most valuable lessons I've learned while practicing family law is that people often omit little "details".  Dig a little deeper and all of a sudden, all these injustices appear so much clearer.

On another point, no, legislation is not crafted for the family.  You know why? Because by the time it makes its way to court, there is no "family". Legislation around custody issues is crafted to benefit the children.  Some of the worst cases I've had to deal with are cases where one of the parties was obessed over this idea that a court decision ultimatly had to benefit the "family".  And as unpopular as this comment may be, evertime it was a man who could not accept a separation and tried to manipulate his ex-partner into thinking about the "family" first, whereas all she wanted was to deal with the issue, so that the individuals could go on with their lives.  Claiming that legislation has to benefit the family is like saying that people can't separate because its not good for the family.  I would even say its pretty irresponsible.

remind remind's picture

Good letter Martin.

martin dufresne

Laura wrote: "if her father threw her out of the home, why would he go out of his way, until the Court of Appeal, to have his decision, or his parental authority, recognized?"

Maybe to win the contest and control the situation from afar even if she will not "acknowledge his authority"! Surely you know that a lot of divorced men do that.

"Her lawyer tried to settle the matter and when it failed, she filed a motion in court.  Thus, the child did sue her father."

This seems very androcentrist to me. I understand that to sue someone is to attempt to obtain something from that person; not from the Court as in this case. The child and her lawyer merely wanted the school to authorize a school trip vetted by the new custodial parent. It was the father who shoe-horned himself back into the picture by appealing Judge Tessier's decision empowering the school. So I don't think one can say he was sued.

Indeed I think that is the real scandal here for the conservatives railing on the CBC website - 1000 comments so far - that a father's power could be bypassed by a Court when he was trying to "break" his daughter. Not unlike the physical correction ("spanking") issue.

I agree with the rest of your excellent points.

martin dufresne

A posting to the CBC news website:


Why does this situation strike such a chord?
Because we see a father risking discredit, even if he - according to the record - discredited himself with unreasonable, uncompromising grandstanding.
Of course, the Father-Rightists are inundating this forum with their hackneyed  defense of any male abuser's privilege - we know they would turn back the clock against women's and children's rights in a moment if they could. Just read their calls for a return of physical abuse as an education "tool"...
But others among us are also moved at what seems like a scary, unstable situation: a child being vindicated by the justice system against paternal authority apparently gone haywire.
We imagine how, had she been there, the mother would have traditionally sacrificed herself, taken the brunt of this man's anger and sided with him against her child to spare him this self-humiliation. But he broke off contact with her months before his confrontation with the girl.
So today we understand that this man has painted himself into a corner. He is lost in an ego-driven hissy fit, resorting to publically intimating that his child is a pornographer.
His court-chastised lawyer speaks of challenging Quebec's parental authority legislation that robbed her client of a final victory as he tried to go on sabotaging his child's life until she came back to him, repenting. Two courts have proved him wrong and he wants to take this to the Supreme Court.
We are embarrassed. Like Noah in the Bible, the patriarch is drunk with his own feelings, stripped naked by a very traditional self-aggrandized fury, and we look for a mantle to drape over him.
Will children's rights survive the shame he tries to infect us with?


Cui Bono.

It seems to me, at almost every turn, the system is set up to ensure that there is every opportunity to siphon off as much economic resources as possible from the divorcing/separating couple-- and, ultimately, the children.  Pension entitlements can be figured out so entitlements are met without the necessity of financing.  Spousal support can be determined once and for all, without the constant need for litigation as incomes vary over time. 

Substantial amounts of money could remain with the parties if, for example,  lawyers just showed up in court when they said they would, and stop using delays as negotiating, and personal enrichment tactics. 

"On another point, no, legislation is not crafted for the family.  You know why? Because by the time it makes its way to court, there is no "family". Legislation around custody issues is crafted to benefit the children."

Perhaps it is crafted to benifit the children, if we are talking about the children of the legal representatives of the parties.  That is where the money ultimately flows to.  And like it or not, the economic security of the children in the break up, no matter who is awarded custody, is seriously compromised through this system, in both the long and short terms.


"I'll reiterate my point that lawyers, as a group, aren't to be blamed for the system's failure - uncontrolled emotions are, whether it be one of the parties who wants to fight out of principle, or out of ignorance, or out of hatred or revenge."

That's easy to say when you've handled scores, perhaps hundreds of cases.  But for most people involved, aside from perhaps a visit to a real estate lawyer, this is their one contact point with the law and lawyers, with nasty important looking letters, and demands for this and that from strangers.  

I think back to my last meeting with my lawyer, how he congratulated me-- in fact told me how singularly rare I was-- in that I remained rational through the process. 

But it was only because I had a firm grip on what the system was trying to do to my kids, my ex, and myself.

Blaming the emotionality of the parties in this system for the expensive outcomes is akin to land mine manufactures blaming amputees for "uncontrolled feet."  The hazards are burried.  Intentionally.

I cannot believe people so educated could craft something so horrific by mistake, and benifit so much through "happy accident" simultaneously.

As for so called "Men's Rights" groups, it's my experience from the guys who have gone through divorce that once the issue is behind them, they would like to put as much distance from the process as possible.  I can believe, however, that there are those motivated primarily by mysogyny.  And perhaps I under estimate their number and resources.

But I'm hellishly curious to know, at the same time, who might be financing them.












martin dufresne

Look no further than the billions "saved" each year by men who default or otherwise hold back on child support responsibilities, alimony and family assets sharing. Misogyny need not even enter the picture. Robbing your ex and your kids makes business sense. Even to the point of giving some of that money to a lawyer instead. It is a telling contradiction that no one expresses more hatred for the law profession than do Father-Rightists; yet they are the ones litigating again and again whenever they think they have a chance of "sticking it to her!


Discrimination against women in employment (they earn only 70% of men's wages; they are inadequately or not at all accommodated for childbearing and childrearing; they are victims of harassment) and unavailability of accessible and affordable child care, decent jobs, skills training, etc. all compound the societal bias against women and children. Family law pretends to benefit "the child", but courts have no jurisdiction to make society fulfill its obligations.


martin dufresne

Yes. And the courts are increasingly ordered by conservative legislatures to reestablish patriarchal privilege through parental authority schemes empowering the non-caretaking parent - if he's male - (I predict there will be many more fracasses such as the present one), "alternatives" to justice and continuing privileges for intrafamily assaulters, rigmarole procedures to obtain abortion services (escalating in US states at the behest of anti-choice activists), "welfare fraud" prosecutions that make sure a women is locked in deep poverty if she tries to raise a family without a male head, etc. etc. The Handmaiden's Tale is already being spun for judicially-challenged women and their children.


"Look no further than the billions "saved" each year by men who default or otherwise hold back on child support responsibilities, alimony and family assets sharing. Misogyny need not even enter the picture."

I'm not so sure.  In Ontario, at least, people who earn a paycheque have little wiggle room.  Defaulters have their wages gauransheed, and many in fact volutarily do so for the convenience.   The annectdotes I hear from people that don't receive spousal support or child support seem to have ex's that are self employed, where it's more difficult to enforce court ordered supports.  Another happy accident that most lawyers are self employed, I suppose.

What I'm  getting at is that the "men's rights" activists that have happened upon us here, and we see elsewhere seem to strike me as a bunch of cranks and whack jobs that couldn't organize themselves out of a wet paper bag.

Where are they getting the help?



remind remind's picture

My best guess is religious organizations that want to univesally supress women.

martin dufresne

It is obvious that some lawyers are playing to this crowd, along with a whole lot of activists illegally dispensing take-no-prisoners bad legal advice. But I concur with Laura: the lawyers I have known have mostly been trying to steer angry and hurting parents away from costly and generally useless litigation and toward amicable settlements (indeed, these happen in the majority of separations).

The support FR extremists are getting comes from right-wing foundations such as the Children's Rights Council, government budgets such as the U.S. Fatherhood Initiative, antifeminist journalists (there are a lot of bitter divorced men and their partners in those newsrooms), but mostly, their impetus comes from individual divorced men - many of them convicted abusers (believe me, I have been researching them for 25 years, going to their meetings, etc. - Leroux and Dumas are no exceptions) - ready to battle their ex and the women's rights movement to the bitter end, even if it costs them their last penny or jail time. They are the ones paying the lawyers rather than child support and - wherever it still exists - alimony.

I see this as a conflict between the rule of law and men's rule, where women had to submit to whatever. And most pundits and liberal observers would rather side with the patriarchal status quo than with women and children.


Missing Quebec girl found safe in Vancouver

... The girl was identified as Ashley Gonis, who disappeared from Montreal in January 2007, according to media reports ...

She was listed as a missing child due to parental abduction on the website of Enfant-Retour Quebec, a non-profit organization whose mission is to assist families searching for their missing children ...

Frank Gonis made a public appeal last year for the safe return of his daughter after his divorced wife and Ashley vanished on Jan. 15, 2007, according to media reports. Quebec courts had granted sole custody of the girl to the father before she went missing.

martin dufresne

A bit of a non-sequitur. given that the Gatineau girl in the original post had been shown the door by her father after a quarrel, according to her account (that was not infirmed by the Tessier judgment). What is your rationale here, toddsschneider?

Maysie Maysie's picture

Just guessing, but I think it's in the realm of "mothers behave badly too".

Given that martin has outlined many systemic rules and realities about anti-woman policies in these (and other) matters, my sense is that todds doesn't get it.

The MSM loves the kinds of stories that todds posted. If only the MSM would publish the names of all fathers who default on support payments. Or every time fathers steal a child/children who are given into full custody of their mothers.

martin dufresne

As for Ashley Gonis, I am glad she is getting help, but it's not obvious that she will be returned in her father's care. A hearing will be held in B.C. to decide that. People who know anything about social work know that it too often happens that an abused child cannot be taken out of harm's way, for lack of sufficient evidence or simply of resources to examine her case. That is usually when a protective parent decides to run with her or him, at immense cost to both, mostly because of society's failure to challenge parentla (i.e. paternal) privilege and make child abuse a real priority.

martin dufresne

Meanwhile the harrassing of the Gatineau girl, her lawyer, her mother and the judges involved has reached 1,035 posts on the CBC website, thanks to their misleading titles and reprinting as fact Dad's allegations about the child posting "inapproriate pictures" on a chat site. As one lone sane commenter mentioned, Judge Tessier must have seen these pictures and did not see fit to validate this man's claim in her original judgment.

To obtain action from the CBC, I suggest that hate speech/personal attack posts be reported and commented using their simple "Click here" feature. A sample comment I sent in: "It is sad that the CBC can host such calls for violence against judicial personnel, especially on the basis of its own faulty information." Still no news from the Ombudsman and News team. Do chip in, please.

Snert Snert's picture

Never too early to start smearing that dad, eh? 

Where did you learn to be so passive-aggressive?  And as a full-grown adult, how come you haven't unlearned it yet?  You're chronologically older than I am, but dude, grow up.

remind remind's picture

Perhaps it is not him who needs to grow snert!

martin dufresne

Don't you want to understand why mothers (or sometimes, fathers) run with a child? I am not saying anything about Mr. Gonis, just trying to establish general context, over and above MSM sensationalism.

(Your personal attack is being reported.)


martin dufresne wrote:

 That is usually when a protective parent decides to run with her or him, at immense cost to both, mostly because of society's failure to challenge parentla (i.e. paternal) privilege and make child abuse a real priority.

Martin, this is one instance where a point like this can be made more strongly by given actual examples. When you connect it with the story about Ashley Gonis - about which you (and I) know [b]absolutely nothing[/b] - you weaken your thesis, but making it look like a generalization which can be tossed about without regard to facts. Then, of course, snert chirps in, and the debate shifts to who is smearing whom.

Give us an example of a protective parent absconding with her/his child when the courts have actually granted custody to the abuser. That will draw some blood. Insinuating that maybe perhaps possibly this happened in the Gonish case is just feeble.


martin dufresne

One unfortunate side effect of anti-defamation legisation is that when a protective parent decides to run with what she believes to be an abused child (sometimes with plenty of evidence), her reasons cannot be printed. OTOH, the abusive parent who stays home gets all the media attention he wants to smear the "kidnapper".

One element of the Father-Right agenda is having the State charge as kidnappers women who take their child(ren) with them to a DV shelter. 


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