On-going custody battle
Today a deserted and frustrated father wrote to me about his on-going attempts to follow his ex for thousands of miles, so as to be able to continue to play a role in his daughters’ life.
While the man was involved in custody hearings in a province in Central-Canada, his ex-common-law-wife had moved to a city in Western Canada.
Here is my response.
Hello Bill (not the real name),
As I read your account, the first thing that came to my mind is that you described a case of parental kidnapping. Of course, I have no way of knowing whether a visitation agreement was in place then (you stated that you were fighting for one) and whether the visitation order included a provision for prohibiting one or the other parent from moving away from the other, beyond a specified distance or travelling time.
I am getting a bit too old for all of this (I am 73), but it appears that you are quite right, you need to get in touch with people in your locality. There used to be about three organizations in Calgary that were active, but lately I have not heard much from or about them (MESA, Family of Men and ECMAS).
Here is the latest list I know that contains links to Alberta organizations, some of whom are located in Calgary.
Fathers For Life (ours, near Edmonton)
Family of Men Support Society (Calgary)
Men’s Educational Support Association (M.E.S.A.) (Calgary)
Movement for the Establishment of Real Gender Equality (M.E.R.G.E.) (Edmonton, but that organization focuses primarily on equitable “gender” rights for all seven “genders”)
Orphaned Grandparents Association Resource Centre (near Edmonton, as far as I know)
The Equitable Child Maintenance and Access Society (E.C.M.A.S.) (Edmonton chapter; the founder was the same as that for MERGE; there was once a separate Calgary chapter that formed a separate organization under the same name after a rift with the Edmonton chapter had developed)
A few observations on Fathers Rights or Parenting Rights organizations
There are close to 50,000 active case files that are being held by Alberta Maintenance Enforcement. Roughly one-third of those involves cases in the Calgary area, another third involves cases in the Edmonton area, and the remaining third involves the rest of the province.
I have been actively involved with fathers rights since about 1990, which led me in about 1994 to begin with the website Fathers for Life.
Right from the start I noticed that there was hardly ever more than about a dozen or a little more of truly active fathers rights activists in Alberta. The largest public demonstrations that were ever held (in one case a picketing action in front of Anne McLellan’s constituency office) mustered no more than about 60 picketers from a large variety of organizations of whom some only remotely ever worried about fathers rights.
It can be argued that personal agendas and lack of charisma of the leaders led to low membership numbers of various Fathers Rights or Parenting Rights organizations, but it would be wrong to put too much blame in that respect on the leaders of such organizations.
The problem is universal. It applies in all major Canadian cities and in all provinces across Canada. The apathy exists as well in all of North America and throughout all of the developed nations. Increasingly, the general apathy emerges in the developing nations.
It may be looked at as battle fatigue by people who wish to uphold family values in a culture that actively promotes an all-out war against the family; there is that and much more involved. The website of Fathers for Life extensively explores the concept of the war against the family and related concepts that apply.
The fact remains that not only active participants and victims of judicial persecution such as you are largely apathetic, but that the general public is apathetic as well. There is not a ground-swell of support for the family. The lack of public support means that politicians do not have to give pro-family sentiments a great deal of attention, which is the major reason why for every dollar of funding for programs and actions in support of the family there are about a thousand dollars of funding to sponsor programs and actions that aim at dismantling and systematically deconstructing the institution of the traditional nuclear family.
Given the lack of concern by politicians, a plethora of government agencies has a free hand to pursue its family-hostile aims. Those aims — let there be no mistake about it — strongly lean toward the extreme radical left. Their leanings are strongly Marxist. Marxism has throughout its existence been strongly anti-family. That is not too surprising, as the historical roots of Marxism (an age-old yearning toward Paradise on Earth, that is, a socialist Utopia) have always been strongly anti-family. Socialism, especially in totalitarian socialist regimes throughout history aimed at best at strong state-control of the family and at worst at the total abolition of the family.
Igor Shafarevich, a world-renowned mathematician and a contemporary of Alexander Solzhenitsyn expressed those ideas best, in his book The Socialist Phenomenon.
It would seem that socialist ideology has the ability to stamp widely separated or even historically unlinked socialist currents with indelible and stereotyped markings.
It seems to us quite legitimate to conclude that socialism does exist as a unified historical phenomenon. Its basic principles have been indicated above. They are:
- Abolition of private property.
- Abolition of the family.
- Abolition of religion.
- Equality, abolition of hierarchies in society.
The manifold embodiments of these principles are linked organically by a common spirit, by an identity of specific details and, frequently, by a clearly discernible overall thrust.
Our perspective on socialism takes into account only one of the dimensions in which this phenomenon unfolds. Socialism is not only an abstract ideological system but also the embodiment of that system in time and space. Therefore, having sketched in its outlines as an ideology, we now ought to be able to explain in what periods and within what civilization socialism arises, whether in the form of doctrine, popular movement or state structure. But here the answer turns out to be far less clear. While the ideology of socialism is sharply defined, the occurrence of socialism can hardly be linked to any definite time or civilization. If we consider the period in the history of mankind which followed the rise of the state as an institution, we find the manifestations of socialism, practically speaking, in all epochs and in all civilizations. It is possible, however, to identify epochs when socialist ideology manifests itself with particular intensity. This is usually at a turning point in history, a crisis such as the period of the Reformation or our own age. We could simply note that socialist states arise only in definite historical situations, or we could attempt to explain why it was that the socialist ideology appeared in virtually finished and complete form in Platos time. We shall return to these questions later. But in European history, we cannot point to a single period when socialist teachings were not extant in one form or another. It seems that socialism is a constant factor in human history, at least in the period following the rise of the state. Without attempting to evaluate it for the time being, we must recognize socialism as one of the most powerful and universal forces active in a field where history is played out.
The Socialist Phenomenon,  p. 200
All of that is a lot of information you did not ask for. However, I feel that the best service I can provide for you is to put your personal experiences regarding the futility of your attempts to enforce your paternal “rights” into the context of the history of the social evolution and the apparent current decline of civilization.