The nation’s capital, Ottawa, hosted an interesting conference in late February when members and delegates of the Canadian Council for Family Rights met to discuss their concerns and seek solutions for the post-divorce family. Family rights were very much on the agenda, yet what was interesting about this conference was the fact that proponents of new family responsibilities were those who have fallen victim to the many social experiments conducted in the name of the family in the last two decades.
The very names of the groups participating in this conference are indicative of the popular experiments being conducted by the social engineers at the expense of Canadian men, women and children. From the western provinces came Fathers Alberta, from Ontario, Fathers for Justice, the Council for Co-parenting, In search of Justice, and Mothers without Custody; from Quebec and the Maritimes came the Association of Divorced and Separated Men and Fathers for Equality in Divorce.
These groups find that the newly imposed definitions of the family leave a bitter taste: one of the rallying calls of alarm and anguish experienced is “marriages break down, parenthood lasts forever.” The struggle is bitter because 40 per cent of Canadian families are engaged in the internecine struggle of divorce, having learned that the glittering promises of “no-fault divorce” and “amicable separations” have been no more than seductive illusions concealing a monstrous abyss of impersonal forces which are ready to devour and destroy unsuspecting Canadians.
Canadians involved in the pro-life struggle have long been aware of the existence of such brutal forces, yet the frightful irony for many that they are rudely awakened to the existence of these forces of destruction, only after having eschewed the one sure haven that provided the individual with refuge from the malice of nature: the family.
Whether marriage breakdown is voluntary or involuntary, the results are inevitably the same. Parents, grandparents, children and, ultimately, society pay a very high price. Thus the new rallying cry, Marriage vows for many have become a mockery, we have destroyed the union of man and woman, but is it still possible to save the children, the future of our nation? There will be an answer to this question only after we have accurately assessed the damage already inflict4ed on the family.
In the post-divorce family, fathers have been systematically excluded. The absence of the father; whether voluntary or involuntary, is being increasingly reinforced by Canadian law and by judicial practice. Exclusion of fathers from the education of their children begins with the awarding of sole custody of the children to the mother in nine out of ten cases, according to Canadian statistics; this practice has been justified by most psychologists, family clinics, lawyers and judges in Canada. Thus in practice, since the Divorce Law was first amended by the Trudeau government in 1968, a newly-defined single-mother family has been endorsed socially and is able to compete with the natural family as the predominant social model.
The consequences of this eviction of the father have serious moral and social implications. The father’s most important role, after engendering children, is his moral role as teacher. When the father is no longer allowed by law to accomplish this role, the state will assume this role as teacher. When the issues as vital as sexuality and child abuse are being taught by the state in schools.
School boards in Toronto and Ottawa have set up sex clinics, whose purpose is to controvert the teaching authority of the family over sexuality and morals. Sexual education programmes and child abuse programmes are also being defined by the schools and once the state decides to impose its purposes on individuals there are very few forces to oppose it. Even the Church has failed in this area.
The moral disintegration of the family caused by the moral exclusion of fathers in further assured by the increasingly severe legal and social apparatus which has been set up in all Canadian provinces by the state to ensure that fathers support the newly created single-mother family. Court orders are made daily requiring fathers to pay up to 40 per cent of their income in the form of child-support.
Since 1985, governments have worked diligently to provide lawyers with all the apparatus necessary to enforce economic compliance: wages can be garnished, Income Tax files are opened and social security benefits may be seized. With absolutely no escape from this economic necessity, Canadian fathers are being reduced to legal pauperism while being effectively excluded from the moral lives of their children. It is this legal impoverishment that led to the formation of many of the fathers’ groups, which took part in the Canadian Council for Family Rights’ conference.
Another predicament, faced by the post-divorced, was underlined by a group from London, Ontario, known as Canadian Second Partners for Action. According to this group, there is no easy escape from the downside of divorce. The loss of a first marriage cannot be recouped and a new family through a second marriage does not necessarily provide a haven against the impersonal coercion of the state as the divorced father often assumes double responsibility; financial support for the first family and breadwinner in a new marriage. This predicament was particularly well described by Canadian author Glynnis Walker in her book, Second Wives Second Best.
In face of massive family breakdown, Canadians are beginning to awaken to the true nature and beauty of the family: engendering new life is an essential contribution to society. Sheltering children against the malice of the world, and teaching them the moral duties incumbent upon every individual within a healthy society can only be accomplished within the family. This vital role is distorted and vitiated by artificial definitions such as the single-mother family or the blended family.
As the atom, which is the fundamental unit of matter cannot be split without releasing a horrific quantity of energy, the family, which is the fundamental unit of society, cannot be split without releasing equivalently horrendous energy into society. It is to be hoped that the new awareness of family rights in Canada, will incite all Canadians to harness this energy for the good of this country.