F.A.C.T.Information: The Canadian Judiciary
More great information is available through F.A.C.T. See our home page at www.fact.on.ca
We wanted to provide some information on various issues related to the judiciary, as well as our salute to the humourous nature of the profession through a collection of judge jokes. Some of the other bits are just scary, not too humourous.
In her final arguments charge to the jury in the Clara Harris trial in Texas (she killed her philandering husband by running him over numerous times with her Mercedes while her stepdaughter was in the front seat witnessing this) prosecutor Mia Magness, a young female assistant district attorney, told jurors:
...the solution was to get divorced. She should do like every other woman in [the western world] and take him to the cleaners. Get his house, car, kids -- make him wish he was dead.
Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin of the Supreme Court of Canada continues on with her commentary about the conversion of Canada from a democracy to an oligarty of judges. This is a matter of some debate in Canada, since apparently many of the media people have not bothered to listen to what the Court "transcending the Charter", the push of judge-made rights that negate "fundamental human rights" and how the Supreme Court has made itself supreme over Parliament.
We have transcribed Madame McLachlin's "remarks" in given at the 2005 Lord Cooke Lecture in Wellington, New Zealand on December 1, 2005. We received a paper copy of her speech, and this has been run through OCR, proofed and converted to text to allow a properly formated, space efficient format. Here you will find, in PDF format, her Unwritten Constitutional Principles: What is Going On?. If you wish to check our proof reading, you can get a copy of the original speech from McLachlin's office.
With the realisation that the federal Department of Justice, via the National Judicial Institute, "trains" Canadian judges to ignore common sense and community standards in Family Law, we felt it important that those in family court understand the nature of "judicial notice" -- the process by which judges "assume" things that are "obvious". Be scared at the things that they think are obvious.
To help you out, we have the paper completed by Judge R. James (Jim) Williams, formerly a family law judge in Nova Scotia and now,it appears, an employee of that very National Judicial Institute. This paper is about Judicial Notice and the way judges handle it in (PDF only) Grasping a Thorny Baton... A Trial Judge Looks at Judicial Notice and Courtsí Acquisition of Social Science from the Canadian Family Law Quarterly v. 14, p. 179-232, 1996. It is an important addition to your understanding of the seeming arbitrariness of family law that produces such uniformly bad results.
On November 20, 2003 FACT held a rally for National Child's Day at the family courts on University Avenue. A number of other groups held rallies in Toronto and several other locations across Canada. National Child's Day was established by the Government of Canada to to commemorate Canada's adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on November 20, 1989 and the Declaration of the Rights of the Child on November 20, 1959.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child states in Article 5 that:States Parties shall respect the responsibilities, rights and duties of parents or, where applicable, the members of the extended family or community ...
As part of this rally, FACT provided a paper handout that can be seen here in PDF format. The second page of the handout refers to an analysis of custody awards in Canada which is based on a FACT analysis of data called Spin versus Honesty in the Court, available here in PDF format. This analysis is based on Department of Justice data which clearly indicates that most of the "joint custody" awards in Canada are really not what they seem, but simply sole custody. The long and the short is that, despite all the evidence on the tremendous harm of sole custody in the vast majority of cases, the judiciary in Canada continue to sentence children to the most harmful post-divorce sentence.
Even more good news, Trociuk v. British Columbia (Attorney General) is another sensible and well-written decision. This one actually recognises fathers as people with some rights -- a new concept for the courts in Canada -- and the various Ministries of Justice.
It is always good to get good news. This time, the good news if from a totally unexpected source. The Supreme Court of Canada on April 17, 2003 delivered their decision in the case of Miglin v. Miglin, the case that Ontario sent forward with the message that divorce was never over (in the spousal support issue). Well, the decision was a good one based on honesty, compassion and, surprisingly, the legislation and the law. Our problems with the decision are not major, and we salute the Supreme Court of Canada for is work. You too can read this decision from the Supreme Court site in HTML format, text format, or WordPerfect 6.1 format. The decisions are available in French as well.
This case indicates just how far off the Ontario Court of Appeal, and the Ontario family law courts, have deviated from reality of the law in their "family law" decisions. Hopefully, these types of decisions will corral those judges in -- and tell the federal and provincial Departments of Justice some important truths.
With the McLachlin insanity quoted below, we really wondered just how biased the material given to judges was -- there people make a lot of their decisions from their "training", not by thinking. It is terrible. Here is a letter from former Chief Justice Antonio Lamer admitting that the material used is training judges on handling domestic violence was indeed biased, one-sided, feminist and out-of-date. You think that the National Judicial Institute has made any effort to make this material relevant or correct? Well, you will have to be a judge to see (http://www.nji.ca)-- community input on community standards is not welcome. However, we doubt that a word has been changed to deal with the problems.
As the time has gone forward, many Canadians realise just how much the judiciary has become a dictatorial branch of government with no accountability to the people of Canada. However, not many understand just how bad this has become. The Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada publicly spoke of the family law policies that they will be imposing on Canadians, bypassing all democratic institutions, to the Ontario Bar Association's Family Law Section on January 24, 2002. A copy of her speech is here in HTML format and in PDF format. It is interesting to read this speech, based on decades old and unreliable statistics, on structures and presumption diametrically opposed to the legislation passed by the Parliament of Canada proposes to implement a set of pre-ordained laws by Supreme Court. It is an indication of just how much the Supreme Court justices honour the concept of a "free and democratic society" as required in the Charter. It is time that the judiciary of Canada, with this tremendous power, becomes accountable for their actions. The judicial branch of government, as often seen in family law, is rapidly losing any pretense of a defender of citizen and ideals and simply becoming implementors of partisan policy under the banner of "pro-action". This is not right. Most Canadians think that elections for judges are the answer. Accountability of these appointed civil servants is required -- their "independence" does not exist.
If you think that this does not happen, do recall that all of the elected and accountable representatives and the drafters of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms did, on numerous occasions reject the inclusion of sexual orientation in the Charter. The specific will of those who were accountable was derided and ignored by the Supreme Court. Not debating who was right in context here, but do understand that the Supreme Court routinely over-rides the wishes of Canadians and Canada's elected representatives to impose their own biases on the country. This is not right.
Did you ever wonder about how judges ignore the truth in Family Law Courts? Ever wonder about why things are not checked, and why perjury -- especially by lawyers -- is ignored, or what type of a court could possibly condone such things. You will be told many times that it isn't. However, one man in Saint John, New Brunswick has just been charged with criminal libel for revealing simply what went on in court. We were not there to listen to Mr. Justice Guerette, but we had received a copy of the page of transcript from this case. What do you think of this means? If a "little lie" is the lynch pin of the judgement -- based on something "minor" and unimportant things like falsely alleged kidnapping or threatening -- are the children's best interests in stable relationships with both parents being protected? This should be a matter of concern to all Canadians.
Every wonder what judges have to say about family law? Here is a copy of Justice Mary Lou Benotto's speech Ethics in Family Law:Is Family Law Advocacy a Contradiction in Terms?, a paper presented to the Advocates' Society Conference in Nassau, Bahamas on December 2, 1995.