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Letter to the editor: Generations lost to 'fatherlessness'

David A. Giles, March 11, 2004, The StarPhoenix, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

T.L. Ells (Many fathers get short end of stick, SP March 3) is correct that fathers do not have to be listed on birth certificates. I am well aware of this, for I was "unacknowledged" on my daughter's birth registration.

Recently, the Supreme Court found that the right of a mother in British Columbia to "unacknowledge" a father on the birth registration is discriminatory under Section 15 of the Charter.

I have raised the issue of my "unacknowledgement" with the Court of Queen's Bench. In a letter dated Dec. 19, 2003, and during arguments and written submissions on Jan. 16, Graeme Mitchell, director of constitutional law for the provincial Justice Department, admitted the law in Saskatchewan that allows a mother to "unacknowledge" a father is unconstitutional. Mitchell asked the court not to render a judgment but instead to allow the legislature to repair the constitutional defect.

Ells is also quite correct to say "everyone assumes that mom has sole custody," for courts award sole custody to the mother in 90 per cent of cases.

The law says that, unless otherwise agreed to by the parties or ordered by the court, both parents are joint legal custodians with equal rights, powers and duties. That is, unless the parents have never lived together after the birth of their child. Then, only the parent with whom the child resides has custody, which is usually the mother.

This law has also been challenged in court as offending the Charter. To date, no decisions have been handed down in these challenges.

Our children deserve better than what is being offered to them. Only with Read More ..ople raising their voices, as Ells has done, will positive change be made for all of our children and grandchildren. We have lost two generations to fatherlessness; can we afford to lose a third?

David A. Giles
Saskatoon

Copyright 2004 The StarPhoenix (Saskatoon)